S28
Seeing the wood and the trees: towards a critical multiscalar archaeology

Convenors:
Tudor Skinner (Durham)
Dan Lawrence (Durham University)
Peter Girdwood
Location:
Wills 3.32
Start time:
19 December, 2010 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The vast datasets at hand to the archaeologist invite the application of multiscalar analyses, yet this is often not subject to sufficient scrutiny. We wish to interrogate the translation and combination of datasets, contextualisation within master-narratives and sampling strategies among others.

Long abstract:

Recent technological advances have enabled the manipulation and analysis of potentially vast datasets, notably with recent GIS applications in landscape archaeology. These draw upon sources that can span media and, crucially, scale. Scalar issues are not simply reducible to spatial issues, and include the integration of data acquired at different times and through different methodologies. The implications of translating and combining datasets at differing scales of analysis have, with a few exceptions, been undertheorised (passim Lock and Molyneaux 2006; Mathieu and Scott 2004). This session will tackle several themes key to the development of a critical multiscalar archaeology. The translation and incorporation of diverse lines of data at differing spatial and chronological scales and the evidential constraints and opportunities to be found in these practices. The creation of master-narratives and the manner in which these have been used to draw together ostensibly subsidiary data. The validity of sampling strategies in modelling wider bodies of evidence. These by no means cover the range of issues at play here and we invite speakers and participants to widen the debate and highlight the arguably urgent need to tackle this lacuna head on.