Virtual avebury revisited

Authors: Bowden, M., Gillings, M. and Pollard, J.

Journal: Archaeological Dialogues

Volume: 7

Issue: 1

Pages: 84-93

ISSN: 1380-2038

DOI: 10.1017/s138020380000163x


In their article 'Romancing the stones: towards a virtual and elemental Avebury' (Archaeological dialogues 1998, 5.2, 143-64), Joshua Pollard and Mark Gillings argued that traditional cartography no longer suffices to understand sites like Avebury. In the absence of excavation, new technological possibilities like Virtual Reality and GIS were according to them more than electronic gadgets but genuine alternatives to the usual maps and plans. Mark Bowden takes issues with what he perceives to be exaggerated criticisms of traditional archaeological survey techniques. In particular, he suggests that, far from being 'sterile' as Pollard and Gillings state, conventional survey plans are imbued with meaning, and are essential tools of analysis and interpretation. Users of archaeological earthwork plans must study them carefully and be critically aware to get the greatest benefit from them. Innovative new approaches must be pursued vigorously, but well-tested traditional techniques which still have value should not be abandoned lightly, Bowden argues. Pollard and Gillings reply to this challenging criticism.

Source: Scopus