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Don't Bin Your Boots!

Don't Bin Your Boots! AbstractIn his recent book, Ideas of Landscape, Matthew Johnson has advocated a fresh agenda for the history and archaeology of landscape (here abbreviated to LAH), mostly on the basis of a critique of conventional disciplinary approaches. He argues that LAH is over-empirical, over-anecdotal, and too concerned with 'reconstruction'; since the 'taphonomic retreat', its claims to efficacy have been damaged, and it does not adequately deal with people of the past. Famously legitimising itself through 'muddy boots', LAH is 'ineffable', just like Wordsworth's response to landscape; the critique applied to the Romanticism and empiricism of the early nineteenth century is applicable to LAH as practised today. In a review of Johnson's critique, this article agrees on the need for fresh thinking. However, in LAH, empiricism is a function of scientific curiosity and procedure – also nascent in Wordsworth's era – rather than Romance or ineffability. W.G.Hoskins (whose Romanticism is an important feature of Johnson's critique) has been influential, but he was not a key figure in the development of landscape archaeology. It is unnecessary and unjustifiable to denigrate conventional LAH in order to advocate new ideas; empiricism, anecdotalism, reconstruction and so on have their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and will surely be needed in future attempts to expand or modify our agendas. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Landscapes Taylor & Francis

Don't Bin Your Boots!

Landscapes , Volume 8 (1): 15 – Apr 1, 2007
15 pages

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References (39)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2007 Maney
ISSN
2040-8153
eISSN
1466-2035
DOI
10.1179/lan.2007.8.1.85
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractIn his recent book, Ideas of Landscape, Matthew Johnson has advocated a fresh agenda for the history and archaeology of landscape (here abbreviated to LAH), mostly on the basis of a critique of conventional disciplinary approaches. He argues that LAH is over-empirical, over-anecdotal, and too concerned with 'reconstruction'; since the 'taphonomic retreat', its claims to efficacy have been damaged, and it does not adequately deal with people of the past. Famously legitimising itself through 'muddy boots', LAH is 'ineffable', just like Wordsworth's response to landscape; the critique applied to the Romanticism and empiricism of the early nineteenth century is applicable to LAH as practised today. In a review of Johnson's critique, this article agrees on the need for fresh thinking. However, in LAH, empiricism is a function of scientific curiosity and procedure – also nascent in Wordsworth's era – rather than Romance or ineffability. W.G.Hoskins (whose Romanticism is an important feature of Johnson's critique) has been influential, but he was not a key figure in the development of landscape archaeology. It is unnecessary and unjustifiable to denigrate conventional LAH in order to advocate new ideas; empiricism, anecdotalism, reconstruction and so on have their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and will surely be needed in future attempts to expand or modify our agendas.

Journal

LandscapesTaylor & Francis

Published: Apr 1, 2007

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