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Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Cool Travel Guide to: getting the most out of archaeological sites (part 2)

Here are some more ideas as to how to make the most of your ambles about archaeological sites:
4. Use your imagination. I mean, really use it. Don’t just look at those old stones and see a building, but try to visualize the form and function of the place, the shape and feel of the neighbourhood, the structure and organization of the city. Sure, seeing a brothel in one of Pompeii’s main streets is surprising and the latrines at Ephesus are funny, but just begin to imagine the people that frequented these places, how they interacted with each other, and the society and time in which they lived.
5. Hone in on the detail. It doesn't matter if you don't care about the big picture. All the more reason to take a close look at the flamboyant patterns on the pillars, the intricate carvings on the stones, the fine detail of that script above the castle entrance, the elaborate structure and so on. Simply appreciate the architectural design, the aesthetic value, and the craftsmanship that went into creating the work.
6. Try to find new ways of seeing the site. Forget about replicating the postcard shot. Instead, lie on the ground, look through a window, stand on your head if you must. Find fresh ways of seeing the place and your experience and perspective will (quite literally) be unique.

7. Take your time. Enjoy the picturesque surroundings. So you don’t have time to read a book, you don’t like museums, and your imagination’s not your strong point, then fine. Simply kick back and take in the scene. Enjoy the leafy setting, shady trees, fresh mountain air, sea breeze... or don’t. You’re hot? You’re sticky? It’s a desert setting and it’s sweltering. Then think about how people who lived here 2000 years ago must have suffered before air-conditioning. Or, as I first suggested, just enjoy the stunning setting.

8. Do go prepared: take a bottle of water, snacks, sunscreen, hat, insect repellent... trivial as they may seem, they'll go a long way to improving your experience.


Prêt à Voyager said...

When I was studying in Paris I had a class that met every Wednesday at the Louvre (a rough life, I know). One of the things my professor made us do was to put our fingers of one hand together to form a circle/goggle and hold it up to our eye. Yes, you feel a bit stupid doing it, but it forces you to look at details - like brush strokes, the thickness of paint, the colors used to achieve a desired effect. You are able to look behind the whole picture and see more of the nuance this way.


Lara Dunston said...

Oh, we had to do that too in our film classes - helps to find new ways to frame shots - thanks for reminding me - great idea!