Figure and ground

“At the scene of crime anything might be relevant” – the classic archaeological question of a place or site is what to focus upon – what should be studied, listed, recorded, preserved? And what, in contrast, is irrelevant, to be discarded and forgotten?

Binchester-overview-surface

Excavations at Binchester UK (Vinovium)

What is significant? What is inconsequential? What is signal, what background noise?

The task is to identify symptomatic details, substantive evidence, and to frame these that a coherent picture or narrative may be made.

Figure/ground relationships form a tropic field at the heart of the archaeological imagination.

Figure/ground relationships are a key matter also in graphic design – what stands out as figure or subject against/in relation to background/setting?

daguerreotype-detail

Daguerreotype – 1850s

A particular interest of mine is in landscape and archaeography – the figure in the land, setting, focus and blur, detail and resolution, perspective, arrangement, framing.

Archaeography – documenting the past in the present A convergence of archaeology, photography and documentation.

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