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Publication Date:
April 2014

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Spatial analysis and social spaces

Interdisciplinary approaches to the interpretation of prehistoric and historic built environments

Ed. by Paliou, Eleftheria / Lieberwirth, Undine / Polla, Silvia

Series:Topoi – Berlin Studies of the Ancient World/Topoi – Berliner Studien der Alten Welt 18

    Open Access

    Aims and Scope

    In recent years a range of formal methods of spatial analysis have been developed for the study of human engagement, experience and socialisation within the built environment. Many, although not all, of these emanate from the fields of architectural and urban studies, and draw upon social theories of space that lay emphasis on the role of visibility, movement, and accessibility in the built environment. These approaches are now gaining in popularity among researchers of prehistoric and historic built spaces and are given increasingly more weight in the interpretation of past urban environments.

    This volume brings together contributions from a number of specialists in archaeology, social theory, architecture, and urban planning, who explore the theoretical and methodological frameworks associated with the application of established and novel spatial analysis methods in past built environments. The focus is mainly on more recent computer-based approaches, and techniques such as access analysis, visibility graph analysis, isovist analysis, agent-based models of pedestrian movement, and 3D visibility approaches. A number of common themes arise from this interdisciplinary approach: How can spatial analysis facilitate a better understanding of human engagement, experience and socialization in prehistoric and historic spaces? Can methodologies developed for the investigation of contemporary environments be successfully applied in archaeological contexts? What are the limitations of these approaches?

    The volume examines the relationship between space and social life from many different perspectives, and provides many illuminating examples on the use of computer-based spatial analysis methods in the study of past environments. It will be of interest for archaeologists, social theorists, architects, urban planners and computer scientists.

    Supplementary Information

    Eleftheria Paliou, Undine Lieberwirth and Silvia Polla,Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
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