World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Phenomenology (archaeology)

Article Id: WHEBN0025121502
Reproduction Date:

Title: Phenomenology (archaeology)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Archaeology, Palaeoarchaeology, Battlefield archaeology, Documentality, Music archaeology
Collection: Archaeological Theory, Phenomenological Methodology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Phenomenology (archaeology)

In archaeology, phenomenology applies to the use of sensory experiences to view and interpret an archaeological site or cultural landscape. It first came to widespread attention among archaeologists with the publication of Christopher Tilley's A Phenomenology of Landscape (1994), in which he suggested it to be a useful technique that can be used to discover more about historical peoples and how they interact with the landscapes in which they live. He argued that, simply by looking at two-dimensional depictions of a landscape, such as on a map, archaeologists fail to understand how peoples living in hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies actually relate to those areas. He believed, therefore, that investigators should enter the very landscape that they are studying, and use their senses of sight, smell, and hearing to learn more about how historical peoples would have interpreted it.

Phenomenology "has provoked considerable discussion within the discipline",[1] receiving considerable criticism from the archaeological community who deem it to be "unscientific" and "subjective".[2] In contrast to this, it has also been supported by a great number of archaeologists and nowadays is often used in fieldwork alongside other, more traditional methods. It has been used particularly in understanding prehistoric sites, such as the Neolithic Tavoliere Plain in Italy,[3] and the Bronze Age landscape on Bodmin Moor, England.[4]


  1. ^ Brück (2005:45)
  2. ^ Hamilton & Whitehouse (2006:31-32)
  3. ^ Hamilton & Whitehouse (2006)
  4. ^ Tilley (1996)
  • Brück, Joanna. 2005. Experiencing the past? The development of a phenomenological archaeology in British prehistory in Archaeological Dialogues #12 (1) 45–72
  • Hamilton, Sue; Whitehouse, Ruth. 2006. Phenomenology in Practice: Towards a methodology for a ‘subjective’ approach in European Journal of Archaeology Vol. 9, 31-71.
  • Tilley, Christopher. 1994. A Phenomenology of Landscape: Places, Paths and Monuments. Oxford: Berg.
  • Tilley, Christopher. 1996. The Power of Rocks: Landscape and Topography on Bodmin Moor in World Archaeology #28, 161-176.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.