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TitleMonica Janowski, Tim Ingold - Imagining Landscapes
TagsPerception Reality Imagination Hypothesis Karl Popper
File Size2.9 MB
Total Pages184
Table of Contents
                            Cover
Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Notes on Contributors
Preface and Acknowledgements
1 Introduction
2 Seeing Ruins: Imagined and Visible Landscapes in North-East Scotland
3 Scottish Blackhouses: Archaeological Imaginings
4 OrkneyLab: An Archipelago Experiment in Futures
5 Imagining Aridity: Human–Environment Interactions in the Acacus Mountains, South-West Libya
6 Meaningful Resources and Resource-full Meanings: Spatial and Political Imaginaries in Southern Belize
7 Imagining and Consuming the Coast: Anthropology, Archaeology, ‘Heritage’ and ‘Conservation’ on the Gower in South Wales
8 Imagining the Forces of Life and the Cosmos in the Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

ImagInIng Landscapes

Page 92

Chapter 5

Imagining Aridity: Human–Environment
Interactions in the Acacus Mountains,

South-West Libya
Stefano Biagetti and Jasper Morgan Chalcraft

Introduction

In this chapter we discuss two key topics related to understanding the human
condition in extremely arid lands, namely the interaction of people and
environment, and the relevance of the study of the present for the comprehension
of the past. We consider the case of the Kel Tadrart Tuareg, a small pastoral
lineage currently dwelling in the Acacus Mountains, a massif situated in south-
western Libya (Figure 5.1). The ethnoarchaeological investigations at the core of
the chapter are part of a broader project: the study of the past of a large region,
with emphasis on the late phases (e.g., from 10,000 years before present onwards)
of prehistoric occupation and on subsequent historical phases. The project has
highlighted the major role that animal husbandry has played within the societies
that have dwelt in the area since the adoption of domesticates some 7,000 years
ago. The Italian Libyan Archaeological Mission in the Acacus and Messak has
been working in south-west Libya since 1955, adopting an interdisciplinary
perspective which focuses upon the investigation of the cultural trajectories and the
palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Pleistocene and Holocene of the area.
Under the direction of Mori (1955–1996) and Liverani (1997–2003), copious data
have been collected about the prehistory and the history of the region, contributing
to a broad understanding of the development of human occupation in the presently
drier Sahara. Furthermore, the study of the rock art panels (mainly ‘Neolithic’,
that is 7,000–3,500 years ago) was important in leading to the inclusion of Tadrart
Acacus in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1985.

Under the current direction of Savino di Lernia (since 2004), the project now
also encompasses the study of the present: the current inhabitants of the area.
From its inception, archaeological research has focused upon human–environment

have occurred over the last 10,000 years. With these human adaptations to climatic
oscillations extending from the Holocene to the present, and combined with a
long tradition of research in the southwest Fezzan, the central Sahara represents a
particularly interesting place for the study of the ecological and social landscapes

Page 93

Imagining Landscapes78

of contiguous human groups (Brooks et al. 2005). It is from the vantage point
of this great temporal depth, and with a remarkable archaeological record, that
we approach an understanding of the current relationships that the few remaining
herdsmen have with ‘their’ landscape (Figure 5.2), the mountains and pastures of
the Tadrart Acacus and the surrounding area.

This entire area falls under the prescriptive understandings of western
climatology and geography, as well as established stereotypes regarding the world’s
largest desert. One of these is aridity, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as
an ‘arid state or quality, parched or withered condition, lack of moisture, dryness,
barrenness’. However, we will argue that aridity might be in the mind (see di Lernia
2006a: 6), and we want to see how useful this concept actually is: what bearing
does it have on current subsistence strategies, on perceptions of the environment
that Kel Tadrart call home, on the techniques and ideas that might have driven and
developed previous societies living in the area? For us, investigating the validity of

Figure 5.1 The area licensed to The Italian Libyan Archaeological Mission in
the Acacus and Messak (central Sahara)
Source: Image courtesy of the archive of The Italian Libyan Archaeological Mission in the
Acacus and Messak (central Sahara).

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Imagining Landscapes168

monks, of mediaeval Europe 13–14
mountains 14, 15, 16, 21, 78, 91, 103, 105,

107, 146, 150
mountains as animate beings 150, 158,

160
prayer on mountains 146

movement 7–9, 13, 15–16, 20, 22, 32, 147,
157, 160

mulun (Kelabit term for ‘to live’) 147, 156
musical composition 11

naga (SE Asian spirit water serpent) 148
narrative 9, 33, 74, 98, 121
National Museum of Scotland 42
National Trust 135

for Scotland 41–2, 45
ne’ar (Kelabit term for ‘to see’) 149
Ness 40–55
Ness Archaeological Landscape Survey

46–8, 54

O’Connor, Kaori 14
Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko 121
oral history 21, 23
origin story 63–4, 148, 151
Orkney Islands 9–10, 14, 15, 22, 59–74

Pa’ Dalih (Sarawak, Malaysia) 143–6, 154,
156, 159

painting 1, 4–5, 10, 12
palaeo-channels, of river 154
pastoralism 81–2, 91
Penan 152, 156, 158, 160
perception 1–7, 12–14, 16, 19, 46, 78, 80,

92, 98, 108, 115, 124, 133, 136,
138, 148–9

‘persistent places’ 129–30, 136
phenomenology 35, 99

of imagination 20
picture 1–2, 5, 8, 16, 19, 20, 22–3, 54, 130,

145
pigs 148
pilgrimage 20, 146
place 2, 19, 21, 22, 26, 60, 62–4, 69, 72–3,

77, 80, 82, 89, 102–03, 107, 121,
125–6, 130, 133, 135–6

Poller, Tessa 7–8
poong (Kelabit term for animal) 145

Popper, Karl 5
power, cosmological 147–71
practice, material 16, 24, 49, 59, 62, 69, 72,

98–9, 146
anthropological/ethnographic practice

12
archaeological practice 24, 26, 35, 40,

45–7, 51, 54–5, 59
drawing practice 31

prayer 146

Rapaport, Herman 16
representation 1, 3–5, 7–8, 10, 14–16, 20,

29, 33, 97–8, 115, 136
rice 105, 148 (see also farming)

rice beer 148, 154
rice and cosmological power 154, 160
rice and human kinship 148
rice meal and feasting 150, 154, 155–6,

160
rock art 12, 73, 77, 80, 92

Sahara 77, 79–82, 84, 86, 90–92
Sahlins, Marshall 137
sakti (Balinese term for power) 147
Sarawak Museum 144n2
scale 20, 23, 25, 28, 47, 64, 71, 123, 154
Schama, Simon 1–3, 16
science, modern 157, 159
Scotland 6, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 33, 53, 59,

60, 66, 122, 126
Scottish Highlands and Islands 39, 43
seaweed 121, 123, 127, 129–30, 132,

136–8
Second World War 42, 47, 50, 144n2, 146
settlement 6, 23, 45, 49–53, 89–92, 100,

103, 107–09, 127, 143, 145
shamans 148
Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine 157
shellfish 121–3, 125, 127, 130–31, 133,

136–7
Skye, Isle of 53
Special Operations Executive 144
spirits and the spirit world 103–04,

105n13, 108, 146–50, 156, 159
symbiosis 72
stone 6, 9, 15, 25–34, 36, 39, 48, 51, 53,

59, 59–61, 63–5, 149–60

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Index 169

megaliths 143, 145, 151
‘stone rain’ (udan batu) (hail) 150
thunderstone 152

Sweden 33

Tadrart Acacus 77, 78, 82–5, 90–92
terroir 14, 128
thatch 13, 45, 53, 110
thunder and lightning 150, 152
Tilley, Christopher 33, 35–6
touch 11–12
transformation 14, 121, 150
Tuareg, Tel-Adrart 12–13, 77–92
turf 28, 35, 39, 53
Turner, Nancy 127–8

Uexküll, Jakob von 10
ulun (Kelabit term for human way of life),

see life

Vergunst, Jo 6–8
vision

of future/other reality 5, 9, 11, 13, 15,
28, 62–3, 72, 98, 122, 138

as sight 2, 4, 6, 11, 12, 149

wadi Teshuinat 84, 89, 90–91
walking 16, 22–3, 26, 35–6, 47, 51, 62–3,

67, 72–4, 103, 136, 149
water 9, 13, 14–15, 31, 63, 65–6, 71,

80–84, 86, 88, 90, 92, 108, 112,
125, 137, 148–50

Watts, Laura 9
Willerslev, Rane 11–12
World Heritage Site 59
Wylie, John 35

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