The lumpy outdoors: Moving through landscapes and weather-worlds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Publication details

Title of host publicationEnvironment, Archaeology and Landscape
DateAccepted/In press - 2021
DatePublished (current) - 21 Oct 2021
Pages123-131
Number of pages9
PublisherArchaeopress
Place of PublicationOxford
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Electronic)9781803270852
ISBN (Print)9781803270845

Abstract

Taking the lead from Martin’s ‘Making one’s way in the world’ (2020), this chapter will focus on the sensuous feeling of moving through landscapes and weather-worlds and explore how the environment, the seasons and the weather afford different mobilities, constrain behaviour and lead to distinct ways of perceiving. By moving in the world, we are in constant contact with it, touching its contours and feeling its shape; so much so that there is no separation between us and it. But landscapes are not blank slates on which people can move wherever they please, and mobility does not exist in an abstract world. They require different modes of movement depending on their nature; they afford distinct protection and dangers, provide dissimilar ways of perceiving the land, and create separate kinaesthetic experiences. The views from a mountain as you climb it give you a different perception of the environment to that provided by, say, walking through woodland, which is again unlike paddling along a watercourse. Indeed, travel by water provides quite separate experiences and perceptions to moving on land. This type of movement has its own patterns and rhythms; ebbs and flows influenced by the water itself, providing the people moving on it with a distinct identity. Landscape and traffic, landform and travelling, interact, and there is a correspondence between terrain and different, idiosyncratic ways of moving.
Furthermore, these movements do not happen with a neutral sky above and around them – it is sometimes scorching and sometimes freezing, there is fog and mist and rain and storms. And these affect the way one moves, so that mobility is closely linked to weather and the seasons. Events happen under scudding skies. You can’t escape weather – it is everywhere always, and it brings variance to routes and paths. Flooded roads or snowed-in mountain passes make a very considerable difference to people’s mobility. Weather is transformative, shifting the light and temperature. It changes every surface altering the texture, absorbing and reflecting light in distinctive ways. Landscapes, weather and seasonal changes have run through all human existence, influencing and changing it. They lie at the very heart of human lives. The land and the weather shape the walk; they determine the gait and the pace, whether to step carefully or stride confidently, whether to crawl or climb, as we make our way through a lumpy, textured weather-world.

    Research areas

  • movement; walking; landscape; weather

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