This pilot study was designed to explore direct sensory ways of perceiving landscape, and to digitally record those explorations. The investigators felt the best type of landscape for this purpose would be a fairly unspoilt prehistoric one, and they selected as their primary study area the Carn Menyn ridge in the Preseli Hills of South-West Wales, reputed source of the Stonehenge bluestones, and environs.
The two sensory modes chosen were vision, and, especially, sound, as investigator Wozencroft is Senior Tutor in sound and moving image in the Visual Communication programme at the RCA as well as founder and editor of the music publishers, Touch. It was the aim to try to observe and listen to this prehistoric landscape as if with Stone Age eyes and ears. In the process, it was hoped that some of these perceptions would have archaeological interest.
The aesthetic and educational object of the study has been to assemble a unique archive of sounds and sights that can act as a resource for creative development – as a tool for audio-visual practitioners, especially students – and to stand as an example of how a locale can be examined in detailed sensory ways before any artifice, any ‘artistic licence’, is applied. Digital media particularly lend themselves to this staged approach.
While the Preseli region has been far and away the primary focus of this project, a sideways look has also been taken toward the Avebury complex in Wiltshire. This is also a fairly well-preserved prehistoric landscape, but of a quite different kind. It is very much a secondary focus of the project, though, as so much research has been, and is being conducted at Avebury by archaeologists and other researchers, and it has been beyond the very limited means of this study to add significantly to that body of research.
This website shows some selected examples of the explorations undertaken on the pilot study, though a more extensive collection of textual/visual/acoustic records is held in the final, main Landscape & Perception archive at the RCA and with a limited number of individuals, including the investigators.