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Landscapes of Movement

Landscapes of Movement: Trails, Paths, and Roads in Anthropological Perspective

James E. Snead
Clark L. Erickson
J. Andrew Darling
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Landscapes of Movement
    Book Description:

    Landscapes of Movement originates from the premise that trails, paths, and roads are the physical manifestation of human movement through the landscape and are central to an understanding of that movement. The study of these features connects with many intellectual domains, engaging history, geography, environmental studies, and, in particular, anthropology and archaeology. These diverse fields together provide not only a better understanding of infrastructure but also of social, political, and economic organization, cultural expressions of patterned movement, and the ways in which trails, paths, and roads reflect a culture's traditional knowledge, worldview, memory, and identity. The contributors to Landscapes of Movement document these routes across different times and cultures, from those made by hunter-gatherers in the Great Basin of North America to causeways in the Bolivian Amazon to Bronze Age towns in the Near East, examined through aerial and satellite photography, surface survey, historic records, and archaeological excavation. The essays consider many factors in the development and use of trails, paths, and roads, including labor, technology, terrain characteristics, landscape features, access, and ownership. Diverse scales of movement are also addressed, ranging from paths between home and fields to roads used for long-distance journeying. Overall, the book makes the case for the centrality of paths, trails, and roads as an organizing element of human lives throughout history.

    eISBN: 978-1-934536-53-7
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Figures
    (pp. VII-X)
  4. Tables
    (pp. XI-XII)
  5. Foreword Penn Museum International Research Conferences
    (pp. XIII-XIV)

    For more than a century, a core mission of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has been to foster research that leads to new understandings about human culture. For much of the 20th century, this research took the form of worldwide expeditions that brought back both raw data and artifacts whose analysis continues to shed light on early complex societies of the New and Old worlds. The civilizations of pharonic Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, Greece, Rome, Mexico, Peru, and Native Americans are represented in galleries that display only the most remarkable of Penn Museum’s vast holdings of artifacts....

  6. Preface
    (pp. XV-XVIII)
  7. 1 Making Human Space: The Archaeology of Trails, Paths, and Roads
    (pp. 1-19)

    Trails, paths, and roads are essential structures of the human landscape. They weave together the disparate elements of daily lives, bridging distance and obstacles to connect us to each other. James Weiner’s description of the paths made by the Foi people of New Guinea captures the complex relationships between space, place, and movement that these features articulate (1991). Trails, paths, roads, ways, tracks, trackways, and related phenomena represent landscapes of movement, a context for “getting there” that evolves through action and design, incorporating everything from the traces of daily strolls to the mailbox to continent-spanning superhighways. In the process their...

  8. 2 Kukhepya: Searching for Hopi Trails
    (pp. 20-41)

    Kukhepya is a Hopi word that means to go along looking for footprints. In applying this concept to archaeology, footprints should be understood both literally as the tracks created by people traveling across the land and metaphorically as itaakuku, “our footprints,” the ruins, potsherds, petroglyphs, shrines, and other archaeological sites that Hopi ancestors intentionally left behind during their long migration to the Hopi Mesas (Kuwanwisiwma and Ferguson 2004). For the Hopi people, itaakuku provide enduring proof that their ancestors occupied an area in accordance with religious instructions they had received from Màasaw, the deity who instructed them on how to...

  9. 3 Trails of Tradition: Movement, Meaning, and Place
    (pp. 42-60)

    The view from windows overlooking collegiate quadrangles almost anywhere incorporates a common perspective, including that of a representative landscape of movement. Open space between the buildings, filled by grass, trees, or plantings, is bounded by sidewalks, some of which cross open ground in crisp diagonals. Between classes students march along these preordained routes toward their next destination. And yet some of these strollers make their own way across the grass, a shared act of subversion that over time blazes clear trails through the greenery. These strips of dirt are as much part of the fabric of the quadrangle as are...

  10. 4 O’odham Trails and the Archaeology of Space
    (pp. 61-83)

    Edward Soja defines historicism “as an overdeveloped historical contextualization of social life and social theory that actively submerges and peripheralizes the geographical or spatial imagination” (1989:15). This chapter is a contribution to Soja’s cause, an engagement in archaeological “spatial theater” (Solnit 2000). I consider two concepts, landscape and space, in a discussion of trails archaeology and the identification of social spaces in the past. Infrastructure also plays a part as a subset of the built environment, which involves the interplay of ideas and facilities, in this instance trail systems, that allow a society to function.

    Definitions of landscape and space...

  11. 5 Reconstructing Southern Paiute–Chemehuevi Trails in the Mojave Desert of Southern Nevada and California: Ethnographic Perspectives from the 1930s
    (pp. 84-105)

    People are perhaps by nature wanderers and explorers. How else to find natural resources, establish good places to live and work, meet, greet, and trade with neighbors, and ultimately claim and hold places? Viewing a new landscape from an elevated vantage point allows one to observe potential routes of travel for these purposes: natural land contours, mountain passes, stream courses and other drainages, game trails, and ecotones. Although rarely defined by straight lines, these potential pathways into an area at a minimum provide a linear orientation to a landscape and perhaps further reduce it to a scale more manageable for...

  12. 6 From Path to Myth: Journeys and the Naturalization of Territorial Identity along the Missouri River
    (pp. 106-132)

    Narratives of travel, ranging from origin and migration traditions to personal accounts such as that told by Mandan warrior Crow’s Heart to anthropologist Martha Beckwith in the 1930s, provide a unique opportunity to explore the many dimensions of landscape movement from an indigenous perspective. In this chapter we combine the information contained in native maps and sketches with narratives of origin, migration, war, and ritual to examine the role of journeys in the formation of territorial identities among the historic Siouan-speaking Hidatsa and Mandan of North Dakota (Figure 6.1). The central tenet of the chapter is that movement across the...

  13. 7 A Road by Any Other Name: Trails, Paths, and Roads in Maya Language and Thought
    (pp. 133-157)

    Across a vast tropical rainforest, the Maya built masonry roads of a quality unsurpassed in the preindustrial world. Many Maya causeways are monumental in scale, measuring 3 m to 50 m wide, and some 1 m to 3 m tall. These massive constructions, the longest of which runs 100 km between the Yucatecan sites of Coba and Yaxuna, required an enormous outlay of labor for their initial construction and an ongoing program of cleaning and refurbishing. Until recently, though, the prehispanic roads of the Maya were poorly recorded and rarely excavated. Using satellite imagery and targeted pedestrian surveys, archaeologists today...

  14. 8 When the Construction of Meaning Preceded the Meaning of Construction: From Footpaths to Monumental Entrances in Ancient Costa Rica
    (pp. 158-179)

    The Arenal Research Project in northwestern Costa Rica has documented human occupation and human movement in the landscape over the past ten thousand years (Sheets and McKee 1994). Apparently, human movement across the landscape in times of low population density, such as the PaleoIndian, Archaic, and early sedentary periods, was oriented to specific tasks at particular times. That movement was therefore sufficiently randomized to have left no permanent record that we have detected.

    However, a different form of movement began around 500 BC in the Arenal area, as people began burying their dead in cemeteries separated from their villages. Simultaneously...

  15. 9 Emergent Landscapes of Movement in Early Bronze Age Northern Mesopotamia
    (pp. 180-203)

    One of the positive effects of the landscape approach to the human past has been the dismantling of the notion, often implicitly held, that settlements were islands in the midst of a sea of uninhabited or unused space. This notion has been subconsciously reinforced by settlement pattern maps wherein sites are depicted as black dots on a vacant white surface. The advent of sedentism did not bring to an end movement through the broader landscape beyond the settlement, but rather concentrated it in ways that have made it easier for archaeologists to detect. At the most mundane level, agriculturalists and...

  16. 10 Agency, Causeways, Canals, and the Landscapes of Everyday Life in the Bolivian Amazon
    (pp. 204-231)

    Built environment provides an excellent medium for addressing issues of space, place, landscape, agency, flow, circulation, and interaction of human agents within physical structures laden with cultural, social, political, economic, and symbolic meaning (e.g., Atkin and Rykwert 2005; Lawrence and Low 1990; Low and Lawrence 2003; Moore 2005). The concept of built environment addresses issues of aesthetics, design, planning, function, and meaning of architecture. Traditionally, built environment meant formal buildings, monuments, and cities, although in more recent years, vernacular architecture and landscape are included. Because built environment is often highly patterned and physical, a form of material culture or human...

  17. 11 Precolumbian Causeways and Canals as Landesque Capital
    (pp. 232-252)

    The study of past and contemporary trails, paths, and roads is relevant to political economy, history, sociology, urban planning, folklore, development, and anthropology. These features are material expressions of both patterned human movement through everyday repetitive activities and the physical structures that channel human activities through their division of space into place, territory, boundary, access, and orientation (Barrett 1999a, 1999b; Chadwick 2002; Snead 2002; Tilley 1993, 2004). Trails, paths, and roads are simultaneously expressions of agency, practice, and structure (Erickson, Chapter 10, this volume; Ingold 1993). Landscape is a useful concept for understanding the role of these features in everyday...

  18. 12 Routes through the Landscape: A Comparative Approach
    (pp. 253-270)

    Landscapes are cultural artifacts, involving movement both real and imagined. Human groups build landscapes by everyday use and ceremonial activities, and this volume examines routes of movement in various New World cases from North America (Southwest, Mojave, and Missouri River basin), Central America (lowland Maya and two from Costa Rica), and South America (two from lowland Bolivia), and in one Old World case (northern Mesopotamia). We focus on the routes established by repeated movement and improved by markings and various facilities. The chapters provide diverse and rich operational models for investigating movement that include logistical movement for subsistence, social networks,...

  19. Appendix 1 Coding of the Cases of Paths, Trails, and Roads Discussed in the Conference “Landscapes of Movement: Trails, Paths, and Roads in Anthropological Perspective”
    (pp. 271-274)
  20. Appendix 2 Comparative Variables for Trails, Paths, and Roads
    (pp. 275-310)
  21. References Cited
    (pp. 311-362)
  22. Contributors
    (pp. 363-364)