7.0 Conclusions

This paper has examined the problems of conveying landscape archaeology to a wider audience. The primary difficulty when using the kinds of images which have traditionally accompanied theoretical or interpretative texts is to communicate any sense of a living landscape, one which is engaging and can be experienced. More specifically, the restraints of the two-dimensional, printed page have severely limited the range of visual imagery used. In an attempt to get beyond this problem, several techniques have been applied to the presentation of data from a survey of South Uist in the hope of presenting a better sense of the landscapes that were being studied. I would argue that the QTVR images can fulfil two main functions: they can help to illustrate interpretations and arguments much more effectively than via the media of the printed page, and they can allow readers to engage with and interpret the evidence for themselves.

However, this sort of imagery is not without its drawbacks. Landscapes are experienced through all of the senses and QTVR images can only be visual in nature. Furthermore, people experience landscapes over time, and QTVR images rely on photographs which are fixed and passive. However, until additional forms of media presentation become more widely available, the panoramas presented in this paper may provide an effective way of presenting archaeological landscapes to wider audiences. Although I would not contend that these panoramas offer a definitive solution to a difficult problem, in combination with the line drawings also presented here, they can help to provide a wider sense of the landscapes of South Uist over more traditional representations such as photographs.

In the future, landscape studies may even incorporate several different media forms in an attempt to present multisensual and temporal landscapes. The panoramas included here are only a beginning, but they provide a means of engaging with today's landscape - the archaeologist's landscape - they cannot represent past landscapes, although it is of course possible to remove modern features and recreate past environmental features such as sea levels and tree cover. Rapid advances in computer technology are offering archaeologists an increasing range of exciting possibilities for presenting the landscapes of the past to coming generations.


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Last updated: Tue Aug 8 2000