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Soil Micromorphology in a New Context - the Science-Art Project "Ground-breaking: experience past landscapes in grains and pixels"

Adderley WP & Young M (2009) Soil Micromorphology in a New Context - the Science-Art Project "Ground-breaking: experience past landscapes in grains and pixels", Frankfurter Geowissenschaftliche Arbeiten, Serie D Physische Geographie, 30, pp. 7-13.

This paper examines the use of geoarchaeological information gained through soil micromorphology in a new context, that of a science-art project. The project is called “Ground-breaking: Experience Past Landscapes in Grains and Pixels” and was commissioned from the authors by the UK research councils as part of a programme to foster communication of scientific issues to wider audiences. The work focuses upon the Sahel region of Africa and uses micromorphology samples from a field site in North East Nigeria subject to past extremes of environmental change over several millennia. The project itself is in the form of a gallery installation where members of the public are invited to engage with science issues and practice. The installation uses advanced visual image and sonic processing techniques to render in a novel form the information gained through image analysis of soil thin-sections. These image analysis data are used to inform the synthesis of sound, thereby forming a direct linkage between the soil micrograph displayed and sounds heard in the installation. The work invites the audience to reflect on the nature of these past communities and extremes of the environment they face. In this paper, the soil thin-section micromorphology images and other materials used; the construction of the installation and the success of the project are considered.

Soil Micromorphology; Art-Science; Africa; Public Understanding of Science; Image analysis; Sound; Data inspection

Subject headings
Soil science in archaeology.; Geology Africa; Landscape changes; Human settlements

AuthorsAdderley W Paul, Young Michael
Publication date2009
PublisherFachbereich Geowissenschaften/Geographie, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt
ISSN 0173-1807

Frankfurter Geowissenschaftliche Arbeiten, Serie d Physische Geographie: Volume 30 (2009)

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