In recent years, archaeology has embraced phenomenological techniques and approaches to begin moving towards a lived experience of the past and embracing personalised perspectives. These avenues of archaeological investigation have been particularly popular within digital technologies, where computing methods provide a medium to create highly realistic images, graphics and video.
Recent debate, however, has seen criticism of these methods as being overly ocularcentric. In the eyes of scholars who argue that the senses are inextricably linked with one another and that all sensory experience and perception is socially, culturally and personally specific, these approaches can be problematic in the way they present narratives of the past. Although immersive virtual experiences seek to bring us closer to creating realism in these narratives, discussions of how far this is possible are on-going, focussing on the issues surrounding the cultural and personal subjectivities of archaeologists.
This discussion group aims to bring together the theoretical approaches to a multisensory experience of the past as well as discussing new digital methods which are moving beyond the visual. The two papers selected aim to provide a starting point for discussion about different approaches to the multisensory experience of the past.
Papers to read:
Eve, S. (2012). Augmenting Phenomenology: Using Augmented Reality to Aid Archaeological Phenomenology in the Landscape. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 19(4), 582–600. doi:10.1007/s10816-012-9142-7
Wheatley, D. (2014) Connecting landscapes with built environments: visibility analysis, scale and the senses. In Paliou, E., Lieberwirth, U. and Polla, S (eds.) Spatial analysis and social spaces: Interdisciplinary approaches to the interpretation of historic and prehistoric built environments. Topoi. Berlin Studies of the Ancient World, Berlin: De Gruyter.