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Visibility and tholos tombs in the Messenian landscape : a comparative case study of the Pylian hinterlands and the Soulima Valley

Svenson, Ola LU (2013) In LUMA-GIS Thesis GISM01 20122
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
This master thesis aims to investigate the visual characteristics of Late Bronze Age tholos tombs in the region of Messenia, Greece by comparing tholos tombs from two study areas: the Pylian hinterlands and the Soulima Valley. The study utilises cost surfaces and viewsheds created in a GIS-environment as heuristic devices to do so.
With the common assumption that the tholos tombs were erected as visual socio-economic statements, which therefore were placed in visually prominent places, as a starting point the study attempts to analyse the visual attributes of the tholos tombs’ spatial locations as they may have been perceived in relation to contemporary settlements and the wider surrounding landscape. Were they all placed in visually... (More)
This master thesis aims to investigate the visual characteristics of Late Bronze Age tholos tombs in the region of Messenia, Greece by comparing tholos tombs from two study areas: the Pylian hinterlands and the Soulima Valley. The study utilises cost surfaces and viewsheds created in a GIS-environment as heuristic devices to do so.
With the common assumption that the tholos tombs were erected as visual socio-economic statements, which therefore were placed in visually prominent places, as a starting point the study attempts to analyse the visual attributes of the tholos tombs’ spatial locations as they may have been perceived in relation to contemporary settlements and the wider surrounding landscape. Were they all placed in visually prominent places? Is it possible to discern any spatial or temporal patterns? What does the tholos tombs’ visual characteristics tell us about how they were perceived by the Messenians?
The results from the study show that the tholos tombs cannot be considered to be a homogenous group of constructions. While there are few real temporal or spatial patterns within the two study areas, it is clear that the tholos tombs in the Pylian hinterlands were located in places that could be described as ‘hidden’ compared to the rest of the landscape, while tholos tombs in the Soulima Valley vary from being hidden to extremely prominent.
It is argued that it is necessary to develop more advanced and theoretically aware methodological frameworks in order to properly place the tholos tombs in relation to other monuments, settlements and human movement/action in the landscape if we want to further our understanding of the tholos tombs. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Svenson, Ola LU
supervisor
organization
course
GISM01 20122
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Messenia, Aegean Bronze Age, tholos tomb, Mycenaean, perception, viewshed, prominence, visibility, Archaeology, GIS, affordance
publication/series
LUMA-GIS Thesis
report number
22
language
English
id
3635725
date added to LUP
2013-04-22 15:35:48
date last changed
2013-04-22 15:35:48
@misc{3635725,
  abstract     = {This master thesis aims to investigate the visual characteristics of Late Bronze Age tholos tombs in the region of Messenia, Greece by comparing tholos tombs from two study areas: the Pylian hinterlands and the Soulima Valley. The study utilises cost surfaces and viewsheds created in a GIS-environment as heuristic devices to do so.
With the common assumption that the tholos tombs were erected as visual socio-economic statements, which therefore were placed in visually prominent places, as a starting point the study attempts to analyse the visual attributes of the tholos tombs’ spatial locations as they may have been perceived in relation to contemporary settlements and the wider surrounding landscape. Were they all placed in visually prominent places? Is it possible to discern any spatial or temporal patterns? What does the tholos tombs’ visual characteristics tell us about how they were perceived by the Messenians?
The results from the study show that the tholos tombs cannot be considered to be a homogenous group of constructions. While there are few real temporal or spatial patterns within the two study areas, it is clear that the tholos tombs in the Pylian hinterlands were located in places that could be described as ‘hidden’ compared to the rest of the landscape, while tholos tombs in the Soulima Valley vary from being hidden to extremely prominent.
It is argued that it is necessary to develop more advanced and theoretically aware methodological frameworks in order to properly place the tholos tombs in relation to other monuments, settlements and human movement/action in the landscape if we want to further our understanding of the tholos tombs.},
  author       = {Svenson, Ola},
  keyword      = {Messenia,Aegean Bronze Age,tholos tomb,Mycenaean,perception,viewshed,prominence,visibility,Archaeology,GIS,affordance},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {LUMA-GIS Thesis},
  title        = {Visibility and tholos tombs in the Messenian landscape : a comparative case study of the Pylian hinterlands and the Soulima Valley},
  year         = {2013},
}