Inhabiting the Ness of Brodgar

Most of my summer was spent walking around and within the Neolithic houses at the Ness of Brodgar. I carried a GPS everyday for the full 6 week season to map my movements and engagements with the buildings. The walls are so well preserved that they once again orchestrate journeys around the site and we inhabit those spaces for a brief time every year. Most buildings are marked by my lack of visits. In contrast, Structure 1 stands out as a dense cluster of activity in the western part of the site. My tracks give some sense of the attention and energy these structures demand in the present. This performance is experienced by thousands of visitors, with three official tours a day, watched from a scaffold viewing tower, followed worldwide online, supported by a site shop and manicured by up to about 70 archaeologists (professional, student & volunteer) at time.

Structure 1: orchestrating the unpicking of earth floor lenses and occupation derived deposits.

Survey station ORCA900: a new locale.

Structure 12: presence in absence (for me anyway).

Artist Rik Hammond also carried a GPS when he visited the site, explorations which started as part of his residency last year. I hope to combine some of our tracks and other data from the site to make new ‘post-processed’ collaborative maps.


This entry was posted in Art and Archaeology, Contemporary Archaeology, GPS Drawings, Mapping and Walking, Performance and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Inhabiting the Ness of Brodgar

  1. mary says:

    These are beautiful, Dan. What kind of GPS did you use and how did you download the data to a beautiful drawing?

    • dhjl says:

      Thanks Mary, I use the most basic Garmin handheld GPS (Etrex10) and download my tracks daily. I convert the GPX files into shp files and import them into a GIS (e.g. Quantum). Then you can control the line weights and colours and print to PDF from there.
      I like your maps – has made me think of new ways to show spatial data and landscape experiences, good food for thought for my proposed Map Orkney Month.

  2. mre1959 says:

    Excellent. The time depth really transforms this.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s