Fieldnotes: Short Articles and Field Reports

Evaluation of Cultural Landscapes in the context of Mediterranean archaeology
April 15, 2011 | by Gaetano Di Pasquale

Detecting Cultural Landscapes in Mediterranean Archaeology (DeCLaMA)

Summer School

Making a journey through any region around the Mediterranean is to travel through the history of the West, recounted by the monuments and archaeology of the places traversed.  Too often, however, we fail to note that the  context which links these remnants of the past is the countryside itself.  Countryside meaning primarily the rural background, which itself is the transformation of the natural environment of an area by the actions of the human communities which over the ages have succeeded one another there.  it is thus formed by the same history which shapes architectonic and archaeological heritage.  With one significant difference: the rural environment is an expression of material culture, and of actions directed towards the production of foodstuffs and other resources.  In consequence it conveys a very different perspective from that of a temple, a castle, or an abbey.  Today traces of the evolution of agrarian and forest areas are very often visible in the landscape: this may be in the form of flora, monumental trees, varieties of fruit, terracing, charcoal kilns, land boundaries, and other evidence  It is a matter of the unique inheritance of our cultural history which is seldom recognized, and therefore at great risk of atrophy.

Out of these concerns was conceived the idea of organizing a school dedicated to the study and evaluation of rural landscapes in the context of Mediterranean archaeology.  The proposed course will demonstrate techniques of evaluating and safeguarding these components of landscape, with a program of study comprising theoretical and practical modules led by specialist instructors from the worlds of research or estate management.  It no longer makes sense to interpret an archaeological site without reference to its territorial context; a site is always functionally connected with its surroundings, and in most cases will be much more effectively explained through interpretations taking into account the surrounding landscape.

The intention is to unite archaeology and landscape, too often separated into distinct disciplines, in a unique project of economic and social development through an innovative exercise in the economic development of landscape. A new understanding of the use of Cultural Landscape will be promoted by a multidisciplinary approach in the course, through the perspectives of botanists, archaeologists, geographers, managers and landscape architects.  The school will run for the first time from 26. June to 9. July 2011, in the prestigious surroundings of the Marsiliana estate of Prince Corsini, an area particularly important in terms of agricultural/forestry landscape.  From 2002 it has been the site of an archaeological research into the Etruscan settlement of the area, led by the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at the University of Siena, under technical direction of Superintendent of Cultural Heritage in Tuscany and in collaboration with the Town Council of Manciano and the Marsiliana Estate of Prince Corsini.  The estate is located in southern Tuscany, not far from the coast, from monte Argentario and the National Park of the Maremma.

The course will accommodate a maximum of 30 participants (closing date for application: 10 June).  Activities will be co-ordinated by Gaetano Di Pasquale of the University Federico II of Napoli and by Andrea Zifferero and Stefano Campana of the University of Siena.  The aim is to develop a systematic strategy for the  recognition and economic development of the total Cultural Landscape of the area.

Theoretical tuition will cover:

  1. Theory of Cultural Landscape;
  2. Historical documents and archaeobotanical materials;
  3. Historical and archaeological cartography and GIS,
  4. Data analysis and GIS mapping;
  5. The Cultural Landscape of Marsiliana d'Albegna;
  6. New understanding of landscape resources;
  7. Management of Landscape resources.

Lectures will be complemented by fieldwork directed toward the identification and classification of both ecofacts and artefacts.

The final day will include a workshop on the theme of: Landscape and its economic development.


Contacts for info and registration:

Associazione ETRURIA NOVA 

Vicolo S. Agostino, 12 - 53024, Montalcino (SI)

tel. +39 (0) 577 600917  mobile +39 349 3613406