About this Project

This project seeks to diagnose and treat the archaeological ailment of “landscape blindness”—archaeology’s inability to visualize and understand certain massive, multi-scalar, and multi-temporal human manipulations of the environment. Since the advent of their discipline, archaeologists have caught glimpses of anthropogenic interventions on extensive and otherwise seemingly undisturbed landscapes. Yet recent technological and methodological advances have revealed the previously unimagined scale and complexity of human impacts on those landscapes: entire cities hidden beneath jungle canopies in the Americas and Southeast Asia, ubiquitous networks of sophisticated water management features that facilitated agriculture in Arabia, meticulously curated gardens in the “pristine” Amazonian rainforest. Bringing together a core team of three archaeologists and a dozen scholars, scientists, architects, and artists, this project investigates the causes of archaeological landscape blindness and offers potential antidotes. More importantly, it also incites discussions about the theoretical implications of these previously unseen landscapes and about the new forms of disciplinary collaborations that they demand. Combining field research with collaborative dialogue, the researchers aim not only to capture and analyze hitherto unseen complex anthropogenic assemblages, but to question what the objects of archaeology are and suggest possibilities regarding what they can be.

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