Title of the session

APPROACHES TO STUDYING AFRICAN LANDSCAPES

Session Organizer(s)

Tanambelo Rasolondrainy,
Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, USA, and
Centre de Documentation et de Recherche sur l’Art et la Tradition Orale de Madagascar, Université de Toliara, Madagascar.
Email: tvr5310@psu.edu


Dylan Davis,
Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, USA
dsd40@psu.edu

Delivery format

Podium

Nature of a session

Open for Contributions

Session abstract

Since the 1980s, African archaeologists have shifted from site-based studies to focus more on a landscape-based investigation. Over the past several decades, researchers have conducted important landscape-scale archaeological research, which in turn has advanced theoretical conversations and general understandings surrounding land-use, landscape perceptions (Fleisher 2013), socio-political networks (Kusimba et al. 2013), mobility and migration (Ashley 2016), and so on.

The use of geospatial technologies is rapidly growing in African archaeology (Klehm and Gokee 2020), and Africanist archaeologists have been at the forefront of innovative theoretical approaches to interpreting the material and immaterial components of landscapes, seascapes, and waterscapes. 

This session will gather Africanist Archaeologists who use disparate approaches to study the tangible and intangible aspects of African landscapes, seascapes, and waterscapes. We invite papers discussing the interaction of people with their environments in different parts of the continent. We particularly encourage papers that showcase the application of techniques, tools, and datasets in geospatial analysis – ranging from remote sensing technologies (e.g., aerial photographs, satellites, and LiDAR data) to spatial statistics, GIS, and computer automation (e.g., artificial intelligence and machine learning) – as well as the use of oral history and traditional ecological knowledge to interpret landscape/seascape/waterscape patterns. In particular, this session aims to highlight theoretical advances that such methods can provide, especially those targeted at topics such as social responses to climatic and environmental change, the effects of colonization, ancient urbanism, land use, intergroup warfare, and so on. Uses of such methods for improving site inventories and cultural resource management are also welcome.

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