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Methodological evaluation in regards to the use of space at Scatness, Research & Dissertation Skills K-J

Langford 16013044

Module Title Research and Dissertation Skills UV411001

Student No. 16013044
Assignment No. 3
Question in full Assessment 3 - Methodological evaluation

A comparison of the use of space within two

near contemporary, but widely separated
settlements. The Roman villa complex at
Bagendon, Gloucestershire and Scatness Broch,

Word count 3000

Date submitted 12 May 2017

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Kathryn Sclater
University of the Highlands and Islands | Orkney College
UHI | East Road | Kirkwall | Orkney | KW15 1LX
Tel: +44 (0)1856 569275
Methodological evaluation in regards to the use of space at Scatness, Research & Dissertation Skills K-J
Langford 16013044

Karl-James Langford 16013044

UNIVERSITY OF Highlands and Islands
M. Litt Archaeology of the Highlands and Islands
September 2016 intake module 3 assignment 3
Date of completion: 12 May 2017

Name of Student: Karl-James Langford

Number: 16013044
Methodological evaluation in regards to the use of space at Scatness, Research & Dissertation Skills K-J
Langford 16013044

Module of Assignment: Research and Dissertation Skills


Methodological evaluation in regards to the

use of space at Scatness
The dissertation title has been chosen as: A comparison of the use
of space within two near contemporary, but widely separated
settlements. The Roman villa complex at Bagendon, Gloucestershire
and Scatness Broch, Shetland, both very recent publications. The
methodological approach taken will include that of spatial syntax in
Hillier & Hanson (1984) with a comparison against Ingold (1993)
sense of landscape and taskscape.

The general research aims and objectives of the dissertation are to

identify the use of space within, and immediately within the
bounded hinterland of two on the surface diametrically separated
sites, also to identify any similarities across the timeframe of the
Roman world; within two British contexts of two separate
experiences within this period. The author will aim to visit the two
separate archives for the sites and to view a small cross section of
artefactual material for comparison purposes (also at a quantitative
level with datasets from the relevant publications). And to visit both
site localities then to view the landscape as it presents itself, to infer
from this the possible past topography; to use photographic
evidence from Bagendon and for the use of my own images from
Scatness. To organise site visits with my supervisor.

The overall journey examining the use of space within the broch at
Scatness; a complex multi-period structure of positive features
with a high preservation of walls still standing to full ground floor
Methodological evaluation in regards to the use of space at Scatness, Research & Dissertation Skills K-J
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height and then with the villa at Bagendon; an area of extensive

occupation with a multi-period backdrop of negative features,
would have been irrational to have attempted for this assignment.
So therein as an explanation of the logical reasons in consciously
arriving at a rationale for using the two main methodologies it was
more appropriate to look at just one small unit outside the broch at
Scatness: i.e. structures 12 and 8 (Dockrill 2015: 19). These 2
spaces and connecting doorway create a large coterminous
enclosure. Structure (building) 12 and 8 occupy a time period from
between; an approximate start date, 200bce to an approximate end
date of 0 bce which belong to a context referred to as phase 5: the
Middle Iron Age. Structure 12 is classed as an aisled roundhouse
some 10 metres in diameter (Dockrill 2015: 19). Structure 8 is an
annex with a doorway connecting its only exit onto structure 12.
Although structure 12 has a more regular form with several entrance
and exits indicated over a period of time, structure 8 although
irregular in form leads directly protruding from it and integrally
incorporated, and in that there is a direct relationship.

How Ingold (1993) perceives the infinite detail of a structure, its

setting within the landscape, the true animate meaning of
everything, its interaction is of deep interest to the author. Tim
Ingold sees the environment having a voice, and the landscape
having a response in a multi layered dynamic where everything
interacts within his taskscape. Within the wider setting of the
dissertation the very form of both at Bagendon and Scatness can
take on another meaning when using Ingolds (1993) methodology.
For even looking at structure 8 and 12 meaning can be found at
subtle levels such as how an individual would respond to their first
movements as entering structure 12; through the doorway from the
outside coming from the east to the west. Would the subject have
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stepped sideways into structure 8, could they have then moved

from the light to the dark, all of these actions would have reacted to
what covered the floor and maybe the sounds that could be heard
within; was their interaction to be contemplated with animals and so

The author is not a great exponent of Hillier and Hanson (1984)

although with this stated, the dissertation needed to have
experienced a level of balance with Ingold (1993). Hillier & Hanson
(1984) work does have merit, no-matter what way Bagendon or
Scatness is considered, space to many archaeologists is a concept
that does exist, one methodology challenged by Ingold (1993).
Ingold (1993) cannot be the only methodology that archaeology
bases its interpretation upon. Although Hillier and Hanson work has
its critics (Leach 1978; Batty 1985) it does have nevertheless its
supporters (Foster 1989; Jiang & Claramunt 2002). Archaeology has
to hold itself against scientific scrutiny and to obtain a logical and
analytical approach towards its work, this is offered through Hillier &
Hanson Spacial syntax (Bafna 2003). Against scientific scutiny,
Ingold (1993) would not hold up as a methodology, as it relies for
example upon perceptual engagement in the world (Ingold 1993).
Scatness offers upstanding architecture that can be tested against
Hillier & Hanson (1984) methodological. Spatial awareness and its
interpretation, building orientation, the different routes each space
can be traversed and so much more can be interpreted using such
techniques as gamma analysis (Hillier & Hanson 1984) and access
analyses (Foster 1989).

Figure illustrating Scatness Broch complex
12 illustrating structure 8 and 12 as in
Methodological evaluation in regards to the use of space at Scatness, Research & Dissertation Skills K-J
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Overview of the two main methodologies

used and similar methodologies that will be
referred to in the dissertation

Although as outlined both Scatness and Bagendon are complex

multi-period sites, and will be examined in full using both
methodologies, it has for this assignment been made rudimentary.
The simplified story of one single phase, one small area of the
Scatness broch complex allows for a straight forward compare and
contrast exercise between Hillier & Hanson (1984) and Ingold

Foster (1989); a clear advocate of Hillier & Hansons approach, would

argue that the use of space wherever it maybe, but particularly
within a building setting broadcasted a mirror of human social
relationships. Foster (1989) through her access analytical technique,
offered through her paper a model of benefaction, a structural
formula that was both created by its occupier and also controlled by
it, or so her paper presented. Hillier & Hanson (1989) would have it
that the architecture at Scatness should not be discussed at the
level of appearance but more towards the level of space. The
essence of shape and form and not Ingolds (1993) fluid landscape,
have a direct relationship to personal experience, and in-that it
would control the movement of the individual. It would be this very
same architecture that invades human experience, and human
preoccupation with it (Hiller and Hanson 1989).

Hillier and Hanson (1984) could argue that structure 8 and 12 can
be construed as having a direct relationship with each other.
Structure 12 would essentially be in the ascendancy over structure
Methodological evaluation in regards to the use of space at Scatness, Research & Dissertation Skills K-J
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8, for in that the architecture seems in a more regular form.

Although we could enter Foster (1989) interpretation within the
context of access analysis to interpret structure 8 and 12, it is after
all Hillier and Hanson (1984) methodology we are testing here.
However it is worth considering that Foster (1989:41) may comment
that there is presented an interconnection between structure 8 and
12. With an access analysis (Foster 1989) map structure 12 would
certainly be a defined space, and therefore structure 8 a
transitional space. Hillier and Hanson (1984) with regards to their
gamma analysis would argue that structure 12 has a non-
distribution and was asymmetrical with 8 and more-over the main
entrance into the complex.

Ingold (1993) landmark work was launched against a backdrop of

post processual archaeology (Kohl 1993) that at times was rambling,
meaningless and without any scientific basis. Although Tim Ingold
work may not be directly challenged by scientific examination, it is
on the other hand accessible and more comprehensive to many
archaeologists who wish to understand the context of the past
(Insoll 2011).

Tim Ingold work offers meaning to the landscape it is not restricted

in its scope or its relationship with time shifts. Being contained
within boundaries as Hillier & Hanson work would need to be for the
models to mathematically function, Ingold (1993) has no such
boundaries. Both with Bagendon and Scatness the main foci; the
structures are not the only area of study within the dissertation. The
landscape of contrast amongst other areas between land and nature
offered as a backdrop a dwelling perspective which is codified within
Ingold (1993) taskscape. Like Hillier & Hanson (1984) Ingold uses a
multi-disciplinary approach (i.e. social-cultural anthropology,
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ethnography, geography, and archaeology amongst other

disciplines) to his landscape and taskscape, afterall Tim Ingold is
an anthropologist primarily.

Ingold argues that dwelling activities landscape should not be seen

as a controlling element of human or animal interacting, in essence
there are no barriers, the landscape has temporality. The taskscape
is a rhythmic interrelations of patterned resonance this defines the
boundary also between the landscape dynamic, in essence Ingold
(1993) work is completely fundamentally opposed to Hillier &
Hanson Space syntax (1984).

Ingold (2000) would argue that structure 12 and 8 have a deep

sense of temporality, and that nothing over a long period of time
would seem in anyway ordered, regular and fixed within terms of
Hillier and Hansons (1984) sense of space. The interaction and
hence meaning of these two structures is inhibited by the lack of
complete understanding of the sites original model, i.e. did it have
walls of a certain height, what was the roof constructed from, did it
have windows, were their actual doors, what covered the floor and
so on. We are even more restricted with Ingolds methodology in
light of the dissertation question; particularly in regards to
Bagendon where only negative features are available for critical
review. Ingold would also argue however, as juxtaposed with the
restriction of the site that we should interpret what is presented in
the archaeology and that should include the artefactual evidence,
this in turn would build up some kind of taskcape interpretation.
Ingold is generally seen to look at the fabric of a multi layered
landscape and that there is no such concept as space Ingold (1993),
this is also developed as an abstraction by academics such as
Harries-Jones (1995) and Weir (2008).
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There are other methodologies that may be useful as comparisons

and developments on Hillier & Hanson (1984) and Ingold (1993).
Llobera (2015) examines the topography of the mind, and uses GIS
to this end. The GIS technique examines the undulating landscape
and postulates what the human (animal) eye may see over that very
same landscape inferring environmental and other factors over
time. Configurational relationships have been the focus for the
methodology for analyses of architectural space as proposed by
Turner etal (2001). A viewshed (also known as isovist) within this
methodology is a spatial environmental area that is directly visible
from any set point within a space. Visibility graphs are then created
to gauge manifestations properties of actual spatial perception.
Finally amongst other palpable methodologies Tilley (1994) offered
us a phenomenological examination for landscape. This
methodology melded anthropology with social theory. The end result
for this phenomenological approach was to see in 1994 a new
interpretation of the sense of space, cultural relativism.

A rationale for your chosen approach

Archaeology can be too less functional and basic with its approach
to how a structure would operate in reality in the past, moreover it
is easy for archaeologists to infer that the past is very much a
vehicle from the current academic understanding in how the lapse
of time should operate. Methodology of two seemingly different
approaches, allows for a responsible debate to how the past may
have reasoned within the use of space or not so as the case maybe.

Ingold (2000) has continued to support his original paper from 1993
(The temporality of the landscape), a valid point in relation to how
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landscape and taskscape operates can be an expressed perception

of what your surrounds are initially about, but argues that all
societies can overcome these perceptions and that our current
notion of these perceptions may and are probably more likely to be
incorrect. This Ingold (2000:9) approach would be a stark contrast to
Hiller & Hanson (1984).

Hillier & Hanson (1984) along with Foster (1989) fixes the
archaeological dynamic for contained bounded context; for Space
syntax and gamma analysis (Hillier & Hanson 1984). For Hillier &
Hanson (1984) methodology to work there has to be tangibility of
archaeology, actual structural evidence, as opposed to Ingold (1993)
projected dynamic of past temporality of place.

Two methodologies have been used in the dissertation to test out

the interpretation of two sites with different datasets, with levels of
both artefactual and physical evidence. The two methodologies
may or may not have similarities in how they project past
environments, but at this stage, this is still to be tested.

How this research might advance or

challenge existing methodologies

There are those who would however challenge the Hillier & Hanson
(1984) approach. Are Hillier & Hanson (1984) visions of a simplified
plan of sites, a snap shot in-time? Inconsistencies with spatial
syntax even at a simple level have been revealed by Ratti (2004).
Comparison is made with Manhattan Urban analysis Robson (1969)
and has exposed spatial syntax having inherent problems in
allowing the individual to make a choice, which would according to
Methodological evaluation in regards to the use of space at Scatness, Research & Dissertation Skills K-J
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Ingold (1993) to be a straight forward issue of the individual making

a free choice.

At Scatness the situation of surviving architectural contexts allows in

many cases for Hillier and Hanson (1984) methodology to be tested.
Although Ratti (2004) does issue a word of caution for this approach.
Spatial syntax can be seen to be too rigid, Ratti (2004) suggests
that building height, and the multiple levels if they still existed at
Scatness and the existing complex mathematical problems inherent
would undoubtedly not only test this methodology having serious
flaws; but the topological approach that Hillier and Hanson (1984)
relies upon in regards to Scatness wider setting would seriously be

There is a major upside to the Hillier & Hanson (1984) methodology.

In Van Dyke (1999) Spatial syntax analysis was used in application
to understand Chacoan Great house at Guadalupe Ruin. With limited
resources Spatial syntax analysis was used to quantify the
relationship among architectural spaces a model that could be used
for other Chacoan Great houses across a restricted topographical
area. Spatial syntax analyses supported that Chacoan great houses
varied considerably across time and space (Van Dyke 1999).

Archaeologists who are critics of Tim Ingold seem to be far and few
between, probably because his theories come to explain the fabric
of the archaeological data from a number of diverse disciplines.
Those writers that are critical of Ingold (1993) in-particularly Murray
(2004), can cite that the building archaeological research data
associated with time and temporality may not always be
meaningful (Murray 2004:4). Before Ingold (1993) landmark work,
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one writer wrote of caution in regards to interpreting the landscape,

time, and its active relationship i.e. taskscape.
It would be generally agreed that the reverse of a grasp on
reality is the tendency to fantasy or Utopia. But perhaps there
exist more ways than one to defy reality. May it not be that to
be unscientific is to defy, for no good logical or empirical
reason, established hypotheses and laws; while to be
unhistorical is to be the opposite to ignore or twist ones
view of particular events, persons, predicaments, in the name
of laws, theories, principles derived from other fields, logical,
ethical, metaphysical, scientific, which the nature of the
medium renders inapplicable? For what else is it that is done
by those theorists who are called fanatical because their faith
in a given pattern is not overcome by their sense of reality?
Berlin (1980:141-

Every methodology can be challenged and more over improved or

added too, which will undoubtedly be one of the underwritten aims
of the dissertation. It may also be possible to postulate that there
may be common ground behind the methodologies of Ingold (1993)
and Hillier and Hanson (1984).

Since 1984 and 1993, the two main methodologies can be said to be
fairly established within the archaeological landscape, after all a
number of writers from a number of fields (archaeology,
anthropology, geography, mathematics, phycology and so on) have
cited these works and this is a testament to their longevity and
academic standing. The most recent academic papers to have cited
and at times quoted Hillier and Hanson (1984) are Munro & Grierson
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(2017), Shen & Karimi (2017) and Xiao (2017) and similarly for
Ingold (1993) are Clarke (2017), Gardner (2017) and Thomas (2017).


Bafna, S., 2003. Space syntax: A brief introduction to its logic and
analytical techniques. Environment and Behavior, 35(1), pp.17-29.

Batty, M., 1985. Review of Hillier & Hanson (1984). Sociology, 19,

Clarke, B., 2017. The secret taskscape: implications for the study of
Cold War activities. Forms of Dwelling: 20 years of Taskscapes in
archaeology, p.236.

Foster, S. (1989) Analysis of spatial patterns in buildings (access

analysis) as an insight into social structure: examples from the
Scottish Atlantic Iron Age. Antiquity, 63 (238). pp. 40-50. ISSN 0003-

Gardner, T., Westra, A., Wood, A. and Vogelaar, C., 2017. Stone and
social circles: taskscape and landscape survey at Yadlee Stone
Circle. Forms of Dwelling: 20 years of Taskscapes in archaeology,

Harries-Jones, Peter. A Recursive Vision: Ecological Understanding

and Gregory Bateson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995.

Hillier B. and Hanson J. (1984), The Social Logic of Space,

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hillier, B., Hanson, J. and Peponis, J., 1984. What do we mean by

building function?. E & FN Spon Ltd.

Hillier, B., Hanson, J. and Graham, H., 1987. Ideas are in things: an
application of the space syntax method to discovering house
genotypes. Environment and Planning B: planning and design, 14(4),

Hillier, B. and Hanson, J., 1989. The social logic of space. Cambridge
university press.

Hillier, B., 2007. Space is the machine: a configurational theory of

architecture. Space Syntax.
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Ingold, T., 1992. Culture and the perception of the

environment. Bush base: forest farm. Culture, environment and
development, pp.39-56.

Ingold, T., 1993. The temporality of the landscape. World

archaeology, 25(2),pp.152-174.

Ingold, T., 2000. The perception of the environment: essays on

livelihood, dwelling and skill. Psychology Press.

Insoll, T., 2011. The Oxford handbook of the archaeology of ritual

and religion. Oxford University Press.

Jiang, B. and Claramunt, C., 2002. Integration of space syntax into

GIS: new perspectives for urban morphology. Transactions in GIS,
6(3), pp.295-309.

Kohl, P.L., 1993. Limits to a post-processual archaeology (or, The

dangers of a new scholasticism). Archaeological Theory: who sets
the agenda, pp.13-19.

Leach, E. 1978. Does space syntax really constitute the social?, in

D. Green, C. Haselgrove &C. Spriggs (ed.), Social organisation and
settlement: contributions from anthropology: 385401. Oxford: British
Archaeological Reports. International Series 471.

Llobera, M., 1996. Exploring the topography of mind: GIS, social

space and archaeology. Antiquity, 70(269), pp.612-622.

Munro, K. and Grierson, D., 2017. Linking space and nature

syntaxes: the influence of a natural view through observed
behaviour at Arcosanti, Arizona, USA. In Handbook of Theory and
Practice of Sustainable Development in Higher Education (pp. 137-
158). Springer International Publishing.

Murray, T. ed., 2004. Time and archaeology. Routledge.

Ratti, C., 2004. Space syntax: some inconsistencies. Environment

and Planning B: Planning and Design, 31(4), pp.487-499.

Robson, B.T., 1969. Urban analysis: a study of city structure with

special reference to Sunderland (No. 1). CUP Archive.
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Shen, Y. and Karimi, K., 2017. The economic value of streets: mix-
scale spatio-functional interaction and housing price patterns.
Applied Geography, 79, pp.187-202.

Thomas, J., 2017. Concluding remarks: landscape, taskscape, life.

Forms of Dwelling: 20 years of Taskscapes in archaeology

Tilley, C., 1994. A phenomenology of landscape: places, paths, and

monuments (p. 10). Oxford: Berg.

Turner, A., Doxa, M., O'sullivan, D. and Penn, A., 2001. From isovists
to visibility graphs: a methodology for the analysis of architectural
space. Environment and Planning B: Planning and design, 28(1),

Weir, J., 2008. Connectivity.

Van Dyke, R.M., 1999. Space syntax analysis at the Chacoan outlier
of Guadalupe. American Antiquity, pp.461-473.

Xiao, Y., 2017. Space Syntax Methodology Review. In Urban

Morphology and Housing Market (pp. 41-61). Springer Singapore.