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Amos Rapoport The Meaning Of The Built Environment Pdf Download _HOT_

The social dimensions of life in prehistoric lakeside settlements in the Circum-Alpine region have in the last decade or so moved steadily towards the centre of inquiry. Explanatory models based on climate change and economic factors alone were found to be insufficient in explaining the short-lived and structurally transitory appearance of the settlements girdling the lake shores (Baum, 2016; Bleicher, 2009, 243; Hofmann, 2013; Hofmann et al., 2016). Central to these inquiries are usually questions related to (1) possible processes of social stratification along the lines of hierarchical versus egalitarian, (2) the influence of social and economic aspects on the patterning of the built environment itself, such as the search for spatio-temporal cycles as well as local, economical specialisation which may have influenced settlement building and use patterns and lastly (3) questions aimed to validate hypotheses as to why people settled on the lake shores in the first place.

amos rapoport the meaning of the built environment pdf download

Taking these criticisms on board, it becomes clear that future approaches to social dynamics in lakeside settlements using space and the built environment as a starting point need to be able to tackle these issues while integrating all the positive aspects developed to date. Thus, we are looking for integrative as opposed to restrictive approaches allowing us to open rather than close perspectives and modes of inquiryFootnote 8 and furthermore, accept gaps, absences and unknowns as integral and potentially significant nodes along our explorative paths.

With these modifications in mind, we can endeavour to collect available information on elements that are relevant for the understanding of space and its social meaning in the Circum-Alpine Neolithic. In doing so, we use not only classical archaeological information such as excavated elements of buildings (or any built environment in general) but make use of a wealth of knowledge from disciplines like archaeobotany, dendrochronology (dendrotypology), zoology, palynology and of course the social sciences, trying to become aware of scales and processes as well as of networks, settings and the activities therein.

In the surroundings of the settlements, we know of an area where fields, fruit-orchards, coppices, leaf-hay groves with pollarded trees, hedges and fallows existed. We might call these surroundings the proximal or inner territory. All the named various elements therein (from the house to the orchards) have their individual time scale. Orchards, fields and coppices are installed, have a time of productivity, a phase of decline and lastly after abandonment a phase of succession back to the pre-installation state. However, as fallows and orchards etc. are a constant part of the agricultural system and since orchards and coppices can be maintained for generations, the totality of the managed proximal territory can be considered a fixed feature, lasting for around ten generations. Much in contrast to this, houses and in fact quarters and settlements were normally moved or reorganised several times in the course of a human life. The built environment may therefore be called a semi-fixed feature. Without a means of knowing for sure, we suppose that moving a settlement within the proximal territory most probably had no effect on the economically used spaces. Relocating the living space and building houses is already a considerable additional workload. Clearing beech forest for arable land, however, is an extreme workload because it is not enough to cut down the trees. The trunks of many tons weight and at least part of the roots must be removed as well (both of which will not burn), which is an enormous effort with wood and stone tools and it is questionable whether it was possible at all to manage both tasks at the same time in addition to agricultural tasks. Moreover, beech was not used as construction timber so there were even more trees to cut down. Lastly, it was not even necessary, if the new settlement site was close enough to the old fields, which is exactly what the data suggest.

This article aimed to show how an integrative approach, bringing together data and theories from the social and natural sciences, including but also reaching beyond the built environment, can shape a deeper understanding of possible dynamics governing the daily lives of people on the lakeshores in the Circum-Alpine Neolithic. We also wanted to draw attention to things lost when the built environment is understood as a stand-alone container from which social structure is deducted and how it can be problematic to see instability as evidence for something lacking. Focusing on networks and activity systems has undoubtedly a rather long tradition and may to some even smack of retrogressive pondering. Instead, it is meant here as a step forward, tailoring instead of reinventing existing theories and models to allow an integral picture to emerge in line with a renewed focus on the entanglement of matter, practices and processes in space and time. Certain aspects of this approach need further refining, such as a more in-depth, concrete and relational allocation and discussion of semi-/fixed properties, considerations of emic concepts of distance, nearness and a productive integration of the idea of virtual and referential settings. 350c69d7ab


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