Multimodalität in der Archäologie – Überlegungen zum Einbezug von Kommunikationstheorien in die Archäologie anhand von drei Fallbeispielen

Autoren: Tobias Schade, Jörn Staecker, Matthias Toplak
[erschienen in: IMAGE 28 (Ausgabe Juli 2018)]

The multimodal perception of one’s environment is the formative element for the holistic experience of reality of every human being. One of the main problems within archaeology is the fact that this central aspect of human existence can be grasped only in small fragments. Our picture of past realities as derived from archaeological findings and features is a perspective that is entirely dependent on hard facts. The massively emotionalized multimodality of the perception of reality is often excluded or not part of the archaeological interpretation. This paper illustrates the limits of a multimodal perspective within Medieval archaeology as well as its potential, because a closer examination shows that there are a number of possible approaches. Using three case studies – the dualism between grave and funeral ceremony, the multimodal information content of Gotlandic grave monuments, and the symbol of the ›ship‹ as means as well as medium of communication – the present paper discusses the issue of multimodality within archaeology, bringing the importance of ›perception‹ into sharper focus. In this way, a multimodal perspective permits new – or different – perspectives on graves and funeral rituals which incorporate various factors of perception and exceed the conventional analysis based on data. In the case of grave monuments, a complex linkage can be demonstrated between several factors, such as observation, perception, knowledge, location as well as multimodal factors which can only partially be reconstructed. The analysis of the early medieval ship as symbol reveals that material culture could indicate the potential for communication in the past as well as in modern times, with key factors being the perspective and its associated multimodal factors.