Economic Archaeology & History 4

25-04-2019 van 14:30 tot 17:30
Ghent University
Door wie
Dr. Dimitri Van Limbergen, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy – Department of Archaeology
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Specialist Course - Economic Archaeology & History. Comparative approaches for determining economic performance in archaeological and historical research from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

After the Easter break, the sessions of the Economic Archaeology & History seminar series will take place on a Thursday, instead of on a Wednesday. So the next session will be held on Thursday April 25th, again from 2.30 to 5.30 pm.

For this fourth session, Martin Sterry will introduce us to the fascinating world of Ancient landscapes and satellite remote sensing – the view from North Africa

Martin has kindly shared the following abstract with us:

The preservation of ancient North African landscapes offers unparalleled detail with respect to surface features and traces thereof. House-plans, irrigation systems and field divisions can all be readily surveyed and identified across vast distances ad a range of topographically-diverse regions. In recent years, satellite remote sensing has accelerated the speed and scale of data collection, enabling the documentation of an entire valley in just a few hours. In contrast, such a task would have taken more than a week just a few decades ago. Therefore, a key desideratum of landscape archaeology should now be within reach: comparative survey (i.e. using surveys side-by-side to clarify regional variability in aspects such as settlement organisation, economy or demography). However, a number of challenges remain. Just as has been recognised in the ongoing debates within Mediterranean field survey scholarship, the issues extend beyond the methodological into the theoretical and conceptual. In this seminar, I will discuss both the tantalising possibilities and the potential pitfalls presented by the use of remote sensing for the study of ancient landscapes. Ultimately, I aim to highlight the diverse regional landscape histories of North Africa and the ways in which these might challenge our current notions of ancient agricultural practices and demographics.

Martin Sterry’s lecture will again be followed (after a 10-min break) by a presentation by UGent/University of Verona PhD candidate Michele Abballe, who will present his work on Geoarchaeology and palaeoDEMs modelling to investigate an alluvial landscape: the Ravenna hinterland (Italy) in the last two millennia.

Michele has kindly shared the following abstract with us:

In this paper I will present my ongoing PhD project, which aims to reconstruct the evolution of the alluvial plain around Ravenna in the last two millennia, through the creation of palaeoDEMs. The study will be carried out using the tools of geoarchaeology, with a multidisciplinary approach including different data coming from geography, geology and archaeology. The integration of several kinds of data is extremely necessary to investigate the area, a lowland formerly part of the Po Plain, which underwent severe alluvial phenomena and continuous geomorphological changes until recent times. This reconstruction will help to better understand the relationships between man and environment in such a fragile landscape, taking into account its evolution in the longue durée. The presentation will also include a short focus on the limits encountered and future research strategies to hopefully overcome them.

As usual, the session will open with coffee & biscuits around 2.30 pm. The lecture by Martin Sterry starts around 2.45 pm. Michele’s talk will be followed by a general discussion.

Please join us for this fourth session of our specialist course on Thursday April 25th at 2.30 pm in the Lecture Room Henri Pirenne (Department of Archaeology, Ufo building – 1st floor), Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35, 9000 Ghent).

For practical reasons, we ask non-UGent attendees to RSVP to prior to the start of the seminar.

For more information on this front line activity of the Doctoral Schools Program of Arts, Humanities and Law at Ghent University, including the full line-up of invited speakers, please visit:

We hope to see you there!