Landscape and Society in Orkney during the First Millennium BC

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


This thesis explores the creation of embodied space and place in the landscapes of Orkney during the first millennium BC. This aims to address the persistent obsession with architectural evidence in Atlantic Scotland which has dominated research into the period, and has come at the expense of considerations of later prehistoric landscapes, particularly those of Orkney. Current approaches to the archaeology of past landscapes tend to be situated in one of two schools; one rooted in a ‘muddy boots’ approach to landscape archaeology which centres on the empirical collection and analysis of data; and a second more theoretically driven approach, which draws heavily on phenomenology to consider the ways in which people would have dwelt within past worlds. There has been little dialogue between practitioners of the respective approaches, and each camp has been heavily critiqued by scholars from the other. However there exists much shared ground between the two schools and it is proposed that within a theoretically driven research framework both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the landscape can be integrated more fully to illuminate the nature of the relationships between individuals and groups, and between people and the world during the later prehistoric period in Orkney and Atlantic Scotland. Such combination of techniques and approaches to the landscape also provides scope to consider the ways in which archaeologists collect, interpret and present data and study embodied archaeological landscapes.
Date of Award14 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The Open University
SupervisorJane Downes (Supervisor) & Richard Jones (Supervisor)

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