UCL News


Material gains

24 November 2005

Professor Chris Tilley (UCL Anthropology) has been awarded the William A Douglass Book Prize of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) for his book 'The Materiality of Stone: Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology'.

Professor Tilley

The award honours the best book published annually in Europeanist anthropology, as determined by a panel of senior scholars.

Professor Tilley is interested in archaeology, material culture and social identity, and has written a number of books on archaeological theory, exploring the relations between hermeneutic, structuralist and post-structuralist perspectives, and material culture. This book is the first in a projected trilogy on landscape phenomenology and Professor Tilley is currently working on the second volume, concerned with the relationship of art to landscape, which will involve both ethnographic and archaeological studies.

The book investigates the sensuous material qualities of stone, particularly at three sites: prehistoric menhirs in Brittany, Maltese Neolithic temples, as well as Bronze Age rock carvings, and cairns in Sweden. Professor Tilley explains how tactile sensations, sonorous qualities, colour, and visual impressions can all be shown to play a vital part in our understanding of the power and significance of prehistoric monuments in relation to their landscapes, and how 'internal' spaces are interpreted in relation to artefacts, substances, and related places that were deeply meaningful to the people who inhabited them.

To find out more, use the links at the top of this article.

Image: Professor Tilley