We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Inscribed Landscapes

Marking and Making Place

David Bruno & Meredith Wilson (eds.)

Publication Year: 2002

Landscapes all over the world are inscribed with enduring physical marks. Socially constructed and engaged, landscape inscriptions (monuments, roads, gardens, rock-art) are foci of social experience and as such are symbolic expressions that mold and facilitate the transmission of ideas. Through inscription, landscapes become social arenas where the past is memorialized, where personal roots, ambitions, and attachments are laid, and where futures unfold. Inscribed Landscapes explores the role of inscription in the social construction of place, power, and identity. Bringing together twenty-one scholars across a range of fields--primarily archaeology, anthropology, and geography--it discusses how social codes and hegemonic practices have resulted in the production of particular senses of place, exploring the physical and metaphysical marking of place as a means of accessing social history. Two major conceptual themes link the chapters of this book: social participation and resistance. Participation involves interrelationships between people and place, the way inscribed environments and social experience intertwine; resistance relates to the rejection of modes of domination and their inscription in the landscape. The volume explores these themes in three parts: the first focuses on rock-art, the second on monuments, and the third describes how the physical and metaphysical articulate to inscribe places with meaning.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (61.8 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (63.1 KB)
pp. vii-viii

This book is an archaeological and social anthropological exploration of the role of place marking in place making. The approaches taken by the various authors are varied, although all are united in the view that landscapes are not simply “out there,” but constructed in social engagement. People physically inscribe spaces, such...

read more

One. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (101.5 KB)
pp. 1-9

This book explores various dimensions of inscription as place marking from an archaeological/ anthropological perspective. Our focus is the making of place through its physical and metaphysical marking: what Bradley (1997) aptly termed “signing the land.” Rock-art, monuments, and other social and personal expressions of place marking...


pdf iconDownload PDF (22.3 KB)

read more

Two. The Signature of Terror: Violence, Memory, and Landscape at Freeport

pdf iconDownload PDF (342.4 KB)
pp. 13

The notion of a “culture of terror,” developed by ethnographers of Latin America and given wider currency through the writing of Michael Taussig, resonates powerfully with conditions around the world’s richest mining operation, Freeport’s Grasberg mine in the Indonesian province of Papua or Irian Jaya.1 Taussig (1987)...

read more

Three. Ritual Response: Place Marking and the Colonial Frontier in Australia

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.5 KB)
pp. 27-41

Historical scholarship over the past two decades has seen a growing awareness of colonial processes and in particular the dramatic and often violent events of the colonial frontier. For Indigenous people, depopulation and dispossession are all-too-familiar themes of colonialism. In Australia, rewriting these violent themes...

read more

Four. Spaces of Resistance: Graffiti and Indigenous Place Markings in the Early European Contact Period of Northern Australia

pdf iconDownload PDF (430.7 KB)
pp. 42-60

The words graffito and graffiti originate from the Italian “graffiare” (to scribble), “graffito” and “graffio” (a scratch), and ultimately from the Greek “gráphein” (mark, draw, or write). “Graffiti” was first used in the English language in 1851, when Daniel Wilson1 discussed the Scandinavian runes in the Neolithic chambered...

read more

Five. Rock-Art as an Indicator of Changing Social Geographies in Central Australia

pdf iconDownload PDF (349.5 KB)
pp. 61-78

The rock-art of central Australia is characterized by a long-standing graphic tradition based on relatively simple forms of circles, arcs, lines, and track motifs. Over time there are some changes in the expression and in the combinations of these graphic forms, and new forms, including rare figurative motifs, appear in the very...

read more

Six. Wahi Pana: Legendary Places on Hawai‘i Island

pdf iconDownload PDF (878.8 KB)
pp. 79-92

The island of Hawai‘i has been the subject of much archaeological attention, particularly since the 1950s. One dominant theme has been changing relations between people and between people and place through the course of (pre)history, perhaps best examplified by Kirch’s evolutionary approach to the emergence of Hawaiian...

read more

Seven. Making Sense of Petroglyphs: The Sound of Rock-Art

pdf iconDownload PDF (272.0 KB)
pp. 93-103

The standard interpretative strategy in rockart studies is one that privileges the visual propensities over other forms of meaning production. In this chapter I examine how the production of petroglyphs impacts on another of the human senses, that of hearing. I propose that in certain contexts the meaning of petroglyphs may not...

read more

Eight. The Narrow Doors of the Desert: Ancient Egyptian Roads in the Theban Western Desert

pdf iconDownload PDF (277.6 KB)
pp. 104-121

Ancient itineraries in the Eastern Desert of Egypt have received much deserved attention, 1 but most of those in the Western Desert remain obscure (see Leclant 1950 and Vercoutter 1970 for exceptions). The differences between the Eastern and Western Deserts explain this incomplete image of ancient activity: the Eastern Desert is colorful, reasonably well watered, and...

read more

Nine. Rock-Art and Landscapes

pdf iconDownload PDF (121.2 KB)
pp. 122-136

It is not just artists or geographers that define, describe, and depict tracts of land—all of us create landscapes. Indeed, landscapes are more a function of the human mind than we realize, with each of us reacting to particular places or sets of places in ways defined by our individual and cultural experiences. In one sense, there is no such thing as a landscape but rather jumbles of components...


pdf iconDownload PDF (22.5 KB)

read more

Ten. A Sense of Time: Cultural Markers in the Mesolithic of Southern England?

pdf iconDownload PDF (557.5 KB)
pp. 139

In the introductory chapters of Altering the Earth, Richard Bradley (1993) explored the possible links between “Neolithic” monuments, hunter-gatherers, and the natural world. He argued forcefully that the occurrence of “early Neolithic” monuments in areas already occupied by stable hunter-gatherers is no coincidence and that...

read more

Eleven. A Place of Special Meaning: Interpreting Pre-Historic Monuments in the Landscape

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 154-175

The earliest monuments of western Europe are characterized by their use of locally available materials such as timber, stone, and earth to create structures that by their very composition have a certain resonance with their surroundings. In some instances, there appears to have been an attempt to mimic, reference, or reproduce local landforms in the built monument (Scarre...

read more

Twelve. Monuments in the Pre-Historic Landscape of the Maltese Islands: Ritual and Domestic Transformations

pdf iconDownload PDF (417.8 KB)
pp. 176-186

The Maltese Islands (Figure 12.1), located to the south of Sicily in the central Mediterranean, provide a fine and relatively well-preserved example of pre-Historic landscape inscription. The islands are rich in monumental architecture, including temples, megaliths, mortuary complexes, terraces, enclosures, and domestic structures. But these have not remained constant over time: major...

read more

Thirteen. Imperial Inscriptions in the Aztec Landscape

pdf iconDownload PDF (424.7 KB)
pp. 187-199

In this chapter I explore the hegemonic nature of place marking in the Aztec state.1 When Spaniards arrived in the Valley of Mexico in 1519, they found a highland basin occupied by about one million people (Figure 13.1). At its political and demographic center, the Mexica city of Tenochtitlan and its satellite Tlatelolco, sharing an island in the lake filling the Valley bottom, together...

read more

Fourteen. Negotiating the Village: Community Landscapes in the Late Pre-Historic American Southwest

pdf iconDownload PDF (565.1 KB)
pp. 200-216

The ancestral pueblo peoples, or Anasazi, of the American Southwest are noted for their exquisite masonry and adobe structures, silent edifices that were left to fall apart after their inhabitants migrated elsewhere. These early apartment complexes, built into cliff-side alcoves or commanding mesa-top locations, now provide mystery and elegy to packs of migrating tourists. Early...


pdf iconDownload PDF (22.5 KB)

read more

Fifteen. Anchoring Mobile Subjectivities: Home, Identity, and Belonging among Italian Australian Migrants

pdf iconDownload PDF (106.2 KB)
pp. 219-229

Immigrants are defined by their mobility. They are always and forever distinguishable from those born in the host country. On a day-to-day basis they negotiate ways around experiences and memories of homeland and experiences and realities in the host country. Making a home, establishing a sense of belonging for themselves and their families while...

read more

Sixteen. Inscriptions as Initial Conditions: Federation Square (Melbourne, Australia) and the Silencing of the Mark

pdf iconDownload PDF (284.8 KB)
pp. 230-239

On 1 January 1901 the Australian colonies federated and a new nation was born. In 1997, in the lead-up to celebrating the centenary of this event, the conservative Liberal- National coalition government of Victoria awarded a London-based architectural firm, Lab, the commission to design and build Federation Square, a new civic complex located at the hub of the state’s...

read more

Seventeen. Sarawak on Stage: The Sarawak Cultural Village and the Colonization of Cultural Space in the Making of State Identity

pdf iconDownload PDF (109.7 KB)
pp. 240-252

Burkhart and Medlik (1981:v) defined “tourism” as “the temporary, short-term movement of people to destinations outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during the stay at these destinations. Much of this movement is international in character and much of it is a leisure activity.” In...

read more

Eighteen. The Edge of the Sacred, the Edge of Death: Sensual Inscriptions

pdf iconDownload PDF (134.3 KB)
pp. 253-269

In 1991, the traditional Aboriginal owners of the Lakefield and Cliff Island National Parks of eastern Cape York Peninsula in the state of Queensland, Australia, filed an application through the Cape York Land Council to have their Indigenous rights to the lands and waters of the national parks legally recognized under a new Queensland statute, the Aboriginal Land Act of 1991. The challenge...

read more

Nineteen. The Work of Inscription in Foi Poetry

pdf iconDownload PDF (113.4 KB)
pp. 270-283

A volume dedicated to reading the material traces of people left on the Earth might be an odd venue in which to write about a people such as the Foi of Papua New Guinea, who possess no decorative art techniques. Virtually everything they manufacture is made of decomposable bush material that erodes and degrades once its user discards it or is no longer able to continue...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (83.0 KB)
pp. 285-288

Dr. Michael Adler is associate professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. His long-term research focuses on village formation and landscape use in the American Southwest, and he has undertaken fieldwork in southwestern Colorado and New Mexico. He specializes in the archaeology of ancestral pueblo peoples, or...


pdf iconDownload PDF (110.3 KB)
pp. 289-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780824862992
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824824723

Publication Year: 2002