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The Fabulous Tales of the Common People, Part 1: Representing Hadrian’s Wall

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Abstract

Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most instantly recognizable ancient monuments in the UK. This paper explores the historical and contemporary visualization practices which have created this iconic image. Moving between the disciplines of archaeology, cultural geography, and heritage and tourism studies, the paper draws upon a variety of data sources such as paintings, photographs, models, and reconstructions to consider how the Wall is visually represented within contemporary public discourse. The paper focuses on digital photography and considers the ways in which images create and sustain particular readings of the Wall’s function and signifi cance. These contemporary representational practices demonstrate strong continuities, and earlier images are used to provide historical context. Emphasis is placed on the monument’s landscape setting in visual representations and the importance of this environmental context for readings of the Wall’s cultural and political signifi cance. The present paper deals primarily with representations of the Wall, but it is argued that these representational practices are also fundamentally embodied. The physical encounters of visitors and archaeologists will be considered in greater detail in the second part of this study (Witcher, forthcoming).

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... The research is informed by analysis of user-generated online materials (e.g. images from photo-sharing websites) and the results of a photoquestionnaire (see Witcher 2010). This analysis identified five themes: a) the distinction between photograph and content, or picture and place b) the merging of archaeology and landscape, or Culture and Nature c) colonial interpretations, for example, Roman versus Barbarian d) function versus meaning, or admiration versus inspiration e) and the use of empathy/sympathy. ...
... This analysis identified five themes: a) the distinction between photograph and content, or picture and place b) the merging of archaeology and landscape, or Culture and Nature c) colonial interpretations, for example, Roman versus Barbarian d) function versus meaning, or admiration versus inspiration e) and the use of empathy/sympathy. Witcher (2010) focused on the first two themes in relation to representations of Hadrian"s Wall; the current paper turns to the third, fourth and fifth themes with a focus on encounter. This division is purely arbitrary; there is a powerful recursive relationship between representation and encounter. ...
... Unsurprisingly, this diversification of ownership has been accompanied by a proliferation of popular media and user-generated online materials. Yet the resources reviewed for this study (see Witcher 2010) suggest that the public discourse of Hadrian"s Wall remains relatively narrow and traditional in focus: a military frontier, Roman versus Barbarian, a wild and remote landscape. There is comparatively little material which captures the potential richness of the monument in terms of contemporary social concerns. ...
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In 2003, the Hadrian's Wall National Trail was opened, providing a 135 km (84 mile) public footpath along the length of the Roman frontier from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway. Each year, thousands of visitors walk the Trail from end-to-end and many more make day trips to visit specific locations within the wider World Heritage Site. In the second of two related papers (see Witcher, 2010), consideration turns from professional and popular visual representations of Hadrian's Wall to the ways in which visitors physically experience the monument and its landscape. The paper explores how embodied and sensory encounters produce and reproduce understandings which are charged with cultural and political meaning. Specifically, the elision of visitors and Roman soldiers through a process of embodied empathy/sympathy is outlined. It is argued that the way in which Western society assumes familiarity with an ancestral Roman Empire actively reduces the interrogative potential of encounters with the monument and limits visitors' ability to reflect on the significance of the Wall. The paper goes on to consider alternative modes of visual and physical engagement, drawing inspiration from virtual communities including geocachers who have used Information Technology such as Global Positioning Systems and Web 2.0 functionality to develop innovative modes of representation and encounter.
... Hingley (2012Hingley ( , 2015 has repeatedly called for recognition of the multivocality of Hadrian's Wall, and recent scholarship has embraced the potential of the Hadrian's Wall landscape for looking critically at cross-cultural interaction (see e.g. Nesbitt & Tolia-Kelly 2009;Witcher 2010;Hingley et al. 2012). The Lower Moesian Limes have similar potential to inspire the view of Dobrogea as a unique 'Third Space' (sensu Bhabha 2004), a place of "constant dialogue and remaking" (Naum 2010: 106). ...
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... The recent AHRC-funded 'Tales of the Frontier' Project (http:// www.dur.ac.uk/roman.centre/hadrianswall/), drawing on academic and popular sources from the time of Bede until the present, has helped to fill the gap by exploring the continued significance and reception of Hadrian's Wall (some selected publications from this project include : Hingley 2010a: Hingley , 2010bNesbitt and Tolia-Kelly 2009;Witcher 2010aWitcher , 2010bWitcher et al. 2010). In his recent book on Hadrian's Wall, Hingley (2012) compares the approaches of imaginative antiquaries and artists (Hingley 2012: 203-29) to those of scientific archaeologists (Hingley 2012: 231-53). ...
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There are billions of photographs on the Internet, comprising the largest and most diverse photo collection ever assembled. How can computer vision researchers exploit this imagery? This paper explores this question from the standpoint of 3D scene modeling and visualization. We present structure-from-motion and image-based rendering algorithms that operate on hundreds of images downloaded as a result of keyword-based image search queries like “Notre Dame” or “Trevi Fountain.” This approach, which we call Photo Tourism, has enabled reconstructions of numerous well-known world sites. This paper presents these algorithms and results as a first step towards 3D modeling of the world’s well-photographed sites, cities, and landscapes from Internet imagery, and discusses key open problems and challenges for the research community.
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Previous research has often used photographs as a tool for examining preference for landscape and in clarifying an understanding of what is aesthetically pleasing. Implicit in their use is the assumption that they will be regarded by the participants asrepresentingthe places shown. The present study demonstrates that there is a theoretical and empirical distinction between evaluations of pictures and evaluations of the places they represent, and thus future research needs to distinguish between evaluating thecontentof the photograph and theplacesrepresented in them. Using a sorting task, 41 participants sorted 20 photographs of local places, which they knew, in a free sort and a directed sort. The directed short instructed the participants to think about the places in the photographs, and to sort the items according to their knowledge of those place. Analysis of the first sort showed that items were grouped according to the content of the photograph, focusing on land form and the presence of water. The second sort showed that the items were grouped according to memories and sense experiences other than just the visual information presented in the photographs. The results showed that the participants conceptualise photographs differently according to whether they are asked to evaluate the photograph or the place represented by the photograph. Landscape evaluation research therefore needs to be clear aboutwhatis being evaluated, picture or place.
Article
Photographs are a powerful and plentiful medium for tourism destination promotion. They cast the natural and cultural resources of a destination in the best light and even prescribe the proper host–tourist interactions through their depictions. It could be said that their representational power functionally transforms a place into a destination—a commodity. This paper describes representations as the mechanism of tourism discourses and by doing so joins the discussion on destination image and imagery in tourism theory. In addition, this paper builds a bridge between research paradigms by addressing empirical and interpretive interests. Photographic representations appearing in promotional tourist brochures and guidebooks are collected from 21 destinations and analyzed. A typology of photographic representations is developed using content analysis and an examination of their social effects in tourism is performed using critical analysis. This typology of photographic representations reveals a highly consistent means of depicting tourism destinations, casting doubt on the theoretical multidimensionality of destination image.
Article
While considerable attention has been devoted to representation of destinations and hosts, less mention has been given to the ways tourists replicate and reinforce media depictions. Guided by postcolonial theory, this study analyzes photographs taken by participants in a study abroad program to determine whether they reveal the completion of a hermeneutic circle embedded with colonialist discourse, whose other component consists of representations of racial and cultural Others in Western tourism-related media. Five binaries of depiction are identified: traditional/modern, subject/object, master/servant, center/periphery, and devious-lazy/moral-industrious. The analyzed photographs are argued to complete a circle of representation that is inscribed with sociocultural ideologies of Western power and dominance.RésuméRefermer le cercle herméneutique?: Rencontres photographiques avec l’Autre. Quoique beaucoup d’attention a été consacrée à la représentation des destinations et des hôtes, on a moins parlé des façons dont les touristes reproduisent en renforcent les représentations des médias. Guidée par la théorie postcoloniale, cette étude analyse des photographies faites par les participants d’un programme d’études à l’étranger pour déterminer si elles révèlent le complètement d’un cercle herméneutique enchâssé dans le discours colonialiste, dont l’autre composant consiste en des représentations des Autres raciaux et culturels dans les médias occidentaux liés au tourisme. On identifie cinq binômes de la représentation: traditionnel/moderne, sujet/objet, maıˆtre/serviteur, centre périphérie et sournois-paresseux/moral-assidu. On soutient que les photographies analysées referment un cercle de représentation qui est inscrit aux idéologies socioculturelles du pouvoir et de la domination occidentaux.
Article
In 2003, the Hadrian's Wall National Trail was opened, providing a 135 km (84 mile) public footpath along the length of the Roman frontier from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway. Each year, thousands of visitors walk the Trail from end-to-end and many more make day trips to visit specific locations within the wider World Heritage Site. In the second of two related papers (see Witcher, 2010), consideration turns from professional and popular visual representations of Hadrian's Wall to the ways in which visitors physically experience the monument and its landscape. The paper explores how embodied and sensory encounters produce and reproduce understandings which are charged with cultural and political meaning. Specifically, the elision of visitors and Roman soldiers through a process of embodied empathy/sympathy is outlined. It is argued that the way in which Western society assumes familiarity with an ancestral Roman Empire actively reduces the interrogative potential of encounters with the monument and limits visitors' ability to reflect on the significance of the Wall. The paper goes on to consider alternative modes of visual and physical engagement, drawing inspiration from virtual communities including geocachers who have used Information Technology such as Global Positioning Systems and Web 2.0 functionality to develop innovative modes of representation and encounter.
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Vydáno u příležitosti "Exhibition Antiquity & Photography: Early Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites" at the Getty Villa, Malibu, winter and spring 2006--rub tit. s.
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Hailed as a landmark in its field since its first publication in 1984, Denis E. Cosgrove’s Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape has been influential well beyond geography. It has continued to spark lively debate among historians, geographers, art historians, social theorists, landscape architects, and others interested in the social and cultural politics of landscape.
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Geographers have shown the centrality of representations of landscape to understanding social geographies. This article suggests that so far more attention has been paid to the representations than the practices that create these representations. Using the example of popular photography, this article suggests that such a focus on representations misses some important processes and reproduces some social ideologies. First, perhaps surprisingly, focusing on the practices of photography serves to reinstate the corporeality of experience often claimed to be lost in visual theory. Secondly, this embodied experience serves to highlight the mediation of visual worlds through technologies and epistemologies. Thirdly, it is suggested studying practices displaces some of the ways geography has posited an `authentic' popular experience against its commodified forms. These ideas are pursued with reference to popular and principally tourist photography. In total it is suggested that such an approach focuses attention on the times and spaces of tourist experience in novel ways. The article insists on the subtle forms of time involved in touristic practices-through the idea of future perfect experience. It also suggests the spatialization of time through the juxtaposition of tourist spaces through pictorial technology. In order to reconcile these developments, the article further suggests that we need to look at not the visual perception of sights but their embodied, technological proprioception; and, to escape the authentic/commodified trap, we must think through a displaced idea of experience not through presence. Finally, it is suggested that this may be important in thinking through appropriate research strategies for mediated experience.
Hadrian's Wall in 1801. Observations on the Roman Wall (1959) Models of Hadrian's Wall and its Component Parts
  • J Skinner
Skinner, J. (1978) Hadrian's Wall in 1801. Observations on the Roman Wall. Bath: Kingsmead Press. Smith, D.M. (1959) Models of Hadrian's Wall and its Component Parts. Archaeologia Aeliana 4 37: 339-41.
Vallum Romanum. Or the History and Antiquities of the Roman Wall, Commonly Called The Picts Wall
  • J Warburton
Warburton, J. (1753) Vallum Romanum. Or the History and Antiquities of the Roman Wall, Commonly Called The Picts Wall, in Cumberland and Northumberland, Built by Hadrian and Severus.