Table of Contents


Farm, fold, shieling: environments, animal management and the transhumant systems in the North Atlantic region (Session Closed)

Oscar Aldred

University of Cambridge – session lead

Elin Ósk Hreiðarsdóttir 

Fornleifastofnun Íslands/Institute of Archaeology, Iceland

Gylfi Helgasson 

Fornleifastofnun Íslands/Institute of Archaeology, Iceland

Egill Erlendsson 

Háskóli Íslands/University of Iceland

Árni Daníel Júlíusson 

Háskóli Íslands/University of Iceland

The management strategies associated with domesticated farm animals in the past (e.g. sheep, cows, goats, pigs, horses) has taken different forms; from on the farm management, to the seasonal, year-on-year movement between pasture areas, to the daily-rote from farm to shieling, or the temporary emplacement of animals across the summer months within or out of the farm. But the extent to which these forms were dependant on particular environments has yet to be widely discussed. In exploring the landscape environment with different elements such as farm, fold and shieling locations, or through the lenses of movement to and from the pasture areas, or in terms of changes in practices of maintenance and their temporalities, this session will examine the generation and maintenance of transhumance systems across the North Atlantic region. From field survey and excavated archaeology, to scientific approaches, and to historical and archaeo-ethnographic studies, we hope this will be an inter-disciplinary session, involving specialists from across North-west Europe, Scandinavia and UK. In doing so, and from a comparative basis, we hope that a broad discussion will occur on the relationship between environment and other elements that will lead to several topic points that will explore differences and similarities in the systems of animal management, and the intersections of ‘environmental’ and what ‘human-induced’ aspects in the past from prehistory to the early modern periods.


Surveying through changing landscapes

Miguel Almeida

Thierry Aubry

José Antonio López-Sáez

Following the discovery of the Côa Valley rock art engravings, a successful surveying and excavation program was implemented since 1996 to produce a relevant archaeological context for this art, interpreted as Palaeolithic, leading to the discovery of such crucial sites as Cardina and Fariseu.

Nonetheless, the obvious relation with Siega Verde and the early discovery of the Olga Grande sites, located in the margin of the interfluvial plateau quickly raised the question of the Pleistocene human occupation of the vast territory between the Côa and Águeda valleys.

An exploratory theoretical model based on the palaeolithic groups’ dependency on water, protein, vegetables, wood, lithic resources, safety, visibility, and accessibility served as a base for the first test of a systematic surveying project in the CAT (Côa-Águeda Territory). Although struggling with a very scarce knowledge of the territory’s palaeogeographic and palaeoenvironmental evolution, due to (1) a lack of multidisciplinary research and (2) the accelerated artificialization of the landscape and hydrological network, derived from human activity and climate change, this survey produced numerous new prehistoric sites, paving the way for the test excavation of several plateau sites as a complement for the previously known archaeological record from the valley.

The first excavated site, Picões dos Grilos 4, revealed unexpected results: while the surface survey had produced a prolific series of lithic objects, including in quartzite and silex, indicating the presence of an upper Palaeolithic site, the excavation exposed, 1 meter below the surface, an apparently discrete archaeological layer exclusively composed of quartz cores and implements technologically consistent with other regional known Middle Palaeolithic sites.

These results encourage us to change the focus of the next field research from classic surface surveys to the direct search for suitable buried Pleistocene archaeological deposits, thus increasing the urgency of a through reconstitution of the region’s evolution since MIS-5, including:

  • A Paleoenvironmental reconstitution allowing us to understand the structure of the human occupation requisites described above; and
  • A Paleogeographic reconstitution aiming to identify the geographical distribution of these criteria through an evolving territory.


Ecology and archaeology of forest land use legacies: charcoal analysis as analytical tools of human-induced changes

Mauro Buonincontri

Università di Siena

Claudia Speciale

Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social – Centres de Recerca de Catalunya

Bàrbara Mas 

Universitat de Barcelona

The important role of social factors in shaping surface, structure, and composition of forests, through economic activities, policies, and demographic changes, is well-known by ecological research and topic of debate for the future governance of forest areas subject to the current mix of strong anthropogenic and climatic pressures. However, the socio-economic factors that led to changes in forest land use over time are rarely explored, especially for pre-industrial ages. The favourite tool of (palaeo)ecology is unequivocally the biostratigraphic pollen analysis, high-resolution research allowing the phytosociological reading of the land cover over long diachrony, exploring the role of climate or anthropogenic impact in the recorded changes, from marine, lacustrine or peat cores. Nevertheless, the deterministic approach and the formulating simplistic causal relationships in pollen studies have been pointed out, due to time and spatial scales where the local complexities of human-induced changes are inevitably smoothed.

Instead, discerning the relative importance of climatic factors and the role of human action in the transformation of forest landscapes is essential to identify what, who and when produced those environmental changes that shaped the structure, organisation, management, and economy of forest land use. A more ‘consilience’ approach with anthropological sciences is continually demanded, involving historians, archaeologists and palaeoecologists working together with instrumental, documentary, archaeological and palaeoenvironmental documentation, in order to integrate social and environmental factors and produce a holistic narratives.

A tool between palaeoecology and archaeology is charcoal analysis (anthracology), defined as the study of wood fuel remains derived from archaeological sites. Charcoal is of high interest due to its widespread use and provides insights into the use of wood by people in all archaeological situations. Anthracological assemblages therefore represent the material residues of human-forest interactions and, being of essentially anthropogenic production and dispersal, investigate the complexity of palaeoecological and cultural signals in the archaeological remains of a community. If the forest is an integrated space in community life, it is inside the community spaces that traces of this integration are preserved. Anthracology provides a unique set of analytical tools disentangling the various phases of the complex relationships between vegetation, climatic conditions and forest management and land use in the past.

This session aims to collect contributions of charcoal analysis conducted in archaeological sites or off-site areas with associated and determined human frequentation. Case studies may focus 1. on the reconstruction and composition of past forest land cover and its changes over time; 2. on the ecological, growth and habitat conditions of the collected fuelwood; 3. on the use and function of fuelwood; 4. on cultivation practices, forms, and management. Data discussion is recommended including forest land use in pre-industrial times with the perspective of ecology and silviculture and the depth of socio-cultural analysis of sources from archaeological settlements. The main objective is to argument about charcoal analysis as a consilience-driven approach for integrating socioeconomic and palaeoecological data to explore forest land use legacies.


All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace - Challenges and opportunities in the application of machine learning in landscape archaeology

Anthony Corns

The Discovery Programme, Ireland

Susan Curran

The Discovery Programme, Ireland

Giacomo Fontana

UCL Institute of Archaeology, UK

Žiga Kokalj

ZRC-SAZU: Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Slovenia

Jürgen Landauer

Independent Researcher, Germany

Simon Maddison

University College London UK

Axel G. Posluschny 

Keltenwelt am Glauberg, Germany

Agnes Schneider

Leiden University, Netherlands

Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS)/Lidar together with other remote sensing data has the ability to document and reveal the remains of archaeological features in the landscape, such as ancient settlements, roads, or structures. Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence (AI), is dedicated to the creation of algorithms and statistical models that enable computer systems to acquire knowledge from data and subsequently make predictions or decisions based on this trained knowledge. Machine learning models (MLM) can be a valuable tool in landscape archaeology by assisting in the analysis and interpretation of archaeological landscape data and help detect and identify archaeological sites and features. Through the analysis of remote sensing data, subtle earthwork features can be detected and classified in topographic data and subsurface archaeology features can be identified through the automatic identification of crop marks in aerial imagery.

In the development of efficient and successful machine learning models and tools for the analysis of landscape archaeology data, both the software designers and users are required to make many considerations as they progress through the MLM processing and analysis pipeline. Areas of focus include:

  • Data Quality – Topographic data often comes from a variety of sources with varying degrees of accuracy. How can we ensure that both high-quality and consistent data is used to accurately train and implement models?
  • Data Processing – What are the best approaches to preprocessing and visualising lidar in the training and development of MLMs and deep learning methods? Which approaches are the most successful and what considerations are required in their application?
  • MLM Development – Should we use the same kind MLM and deep learning methods for all kinds of landscapes or de we need to adjust our approach depending upon the overall landscape form and what kind of sites we are searching for?
  • Reusing MLM – What are the issues in the transfer application of MLM developed in different regions, do domain adaptions issues occur and what strategies can be employed to overcome this?
  • MLM Evaluation – What is the level of false positives are being observed by current MLM tools and what are some of the reasons they are appearing in the results? How, detections still require human verification. What are strategies for designing an efficient workflow for this, especially when dealing with large numbers of detections and how can additional geospatial information support this?
  • Software – What software tools are being, and should be developed which will enable landscape archaeologists to access MLM in their landscape research? How should software tools be integrated within current workflows and what should be the standard outputs?
  • Open Software & Data – How do we make MLM software tools open for further development by experienced users whilst ensuring novice users are not confused? How can we make the analysis/classification of (archaeological) remote sensing data using semi-automated workflows FAIR and sustainable?

This session will explore these and many other aspects of the development and application of MLM in the research and analysis of archaeological landscapes.


Community in the mining landscape: analysing human-environment interactions through a multidisciplinary approach

Luisa Dallai

University of Siena

Giovanna Bianchi

University of Siena

The diachronic study of the relationships between anthropic activities and the environment is undoubtedly one of the broadest field for interdisciplinary research. This is where natural sciences and human sciences meet, and where questions, goals and operating methods are leveraged against one another. 

Among the human activities having a major impact on environment, stand the exploitation of underground resources, along with the operational steps of the production processes, including metallurgical ones; all these activities produce “ecofacts” that help us identify the distinctive features of historical mining landscape, whose cultural value is acknowledged by the European Landscape Convention. Furthermore, the study of mining landscapes is connected to the study of ancient settlements patterns, social and demographic structures, lifestyle and pathologies of the human community, historical and technological topics.

The combination of complex issues related to the protection of environment and historical heritage, which are typical of mining landscapes, has often turned these areas into “open air labs” in Europe and abroad, where cutting-edge projects and new technological protocols have been performed. Indeed, it is through a global historical approach that the relationship between mining resources and communities can be stressed. 

Building on these premises, the session aims at comparing different approaches to the study of mining landscape, taking into consideration technical aspects linked to mining and production cycles, as well as the ways in which communities took advantage of underground resources, managing their exploitation and trade.

This implies the analysis of:

  • mining works (above and below ground), and dumps; 
  • management of raw materials, such as water and wood; 
  • road networks, supporting the production landscape; 
  • trade networks, connecting production areas to consumption centres;
  • demographic composition of the community linked to the mining context, stress markers, pathologies, pollution of human remains.

The session is open to proposals that explore the topic in a diachronic perspective, by means of different sources and methods of analysis: archaeological prospection, geochemical survey, GIS analysis, landscape ecology, bioarchaeology.


The noble landscape and its residence: The powerful intersection of art, architecture and environment

Krista De Jonge

KU Leuven

Cato Leuraers 

KU Leuven &

Sanne Maekelberg 

KU Leuven

The nobility’s constructed landscape encompassed meticulously designed gardens, agricultural lands, hunting forests, as well as the residence and its satellite structures such as stables, home farms and mills. In some cases, the designed environment is all that remains of this system. Landscape, in this context, is perceived as a deliberately shaped system of spaces, a testament to and an embodiment of human concerns (Jackson, 1984; Hunt, 2016). The creation of this system implies a significant connection between the exterior and interior of these residences. Notably, noble patrons sought expansive vistas over their carefully curated surroundings, facilitated by the characteristic large windows of early modern palace architecture. The presence of landscape within the noble residence extended beyond the views from inside to outside. Landscape elements were often prominent features in paintings, and at times, even the central subject matter. These landscape paintings frequently showcased the patron’s own possessions. An iconic example of such artwork can be found in Giusto Utens’ lunettes, depicting seventeen de Medici villas and their surroundings at the end of the sixteenth century. 

This session aims to explore the intricate interplay between the portrayal of landscapes within early modern noble residences and the tangible environments surrounding them. We invite proposals that study the relationship between the landscape and its stylized representation. This includes depictions of villas and estates, the perception of these landscapes, the interplay between the landscape and the residence, representational facets of the residence in connection to the landscape, potential relationships between the decorative themes within the residence and the surrounding landscape, as well as analyses of landscapes with lost residences using preserved imagery. These connections and relationships can shed a new light on existing landscapes, or even identify ‘lost’ landscapes. This sesssion’s theme lies at the crossroads of different disciplines: landscape archaeology, art history, landscape history and architectural history.A transdisciplinary landscape approach will notably improve our understanding of the relationship between noble patrons, their residences and the surrounding landscapes. We invite research papers addressing, but not limited to the following topics: 

  • The relation between representations of the landscape and the tangible environment. 
  • The connections established between the exterior and the interior of noble residences and their surrounding landscape. 
  • Analysis of how noble residences and their surroundings were visually represented in landscape paintings and the role of these representations in shaping the viewer’s perception of the landscape. 
  • Exploration of how noble patrons used the visual representations of their landscapes, as well as the landscapes themselves, as a means to project power and cultural ideals. 
  • Analysis of existing landscapes with lost residences using preserved imagery

By bringing together different case studies from all over the world, we hope to develop these research questions further. We welcome scholars from different disciplines to submit, to reach an interdisciplinary discussion on early modern landscape and its representations.


Computational Approaches in Landscape Archaeology: Exploring Human-Environment Dynamics and Settlement Patterns from Prehistory to Recent Times

Mikel Díaz-Rodríguez

University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) / CISPAC

Cristian Lorenzo-Salgueiro

University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

Miguel Carrero-Pazos

University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) / CISPAC

The session “Computational Approaches in Landscape Archaeology” stands at the intersection of natural and human sciences, providing a unique lens for comprehending the profound connections between our past societies and their environments. In this session, we aim to shed light on the transformative potential of computational methodologies in deciphering the intricate tapestry of human-environment relations and settlement patterns throughout history and prehistory.


The unfolding story of human history is increasingly being revealed through the lens of computational tools and techniques. By harnessing the power of data analysis, geospatial modelling, and machine learning, archaeologists and researchers are redefining how we perceive and interpret the past. This session aims to bring together scholars and experts from diverse backgrounds to showcase the latest advancements and insights derived from applying computational approaches to landscape archaeology.

Session Topics:

This session will explore the dynamic interplay between human ancestors and the landscapes they inhabited, employing computational methods to decode this relationship. Contributions to this theme may delve into topics such as:

  • Geospatial Analysis: The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) to scrutinize ancient landscapes, reveal concealed archaeological features and track environmental transformations over time.
  • Agent-Based Modelling (ABM): Simulating past human behaviours within evolving environments, providing invaluable insights into settlement dynamics, resource management, and how societies responded to environmental fluxes.
  • Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition: Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to recognize patterns in archaeological and environmental data, potentially reshaping our comprehension of human-environment connections.
  • Predictive Modelling: Employing computational models to predict potential archaeological sites and settlement locations based on a fusion of environmental factors and archaeological records.
  • Digital Reconstructions: Crafting immersive digital reconstructions of ancient landscapes and settlements, enabling new perspectives and in-depth analyses.
  • Network Analysis: Investigating the intricate web of ancient settlements and their relationships with the surrounding environment. Such analyses uncover trade routes, communication networks, and patterns of resource exchange.


This session will serve as a dynamic and collaborative platform for archaeologists, environmental scientists, computational experts, and researchers to exchange ideas, present innovative research findings, and establish partnerships. Papers should comprise the current standards of open science in Archaeology. Together, we aim to advance our understanding of human-environment dynamics and settlement patterns, bringing forth new perspectives and deeper insights into landscape archaeology. We eagerly invite contributions from scholars using computational methods to enhance our collective knowledge on the methods and techniques that can be applied to explore the past landscapes and their relationship with human societies.


What are you doing here?

Marta Francés-Negro

University of Alcalá

Izaro Quevedo-Semperena

Universidad de Valladolid

The importance of raw materials in Prehistory was studied early in Archaeological Science. Understanding how communities of the past related to their immediate environment through raw materials studies allows us to infer important characteristics from past human populations: technology, mobility, territory, behaviour, or social complexity. Due to all these implications, its study has been developed from a multiproxy point of view: understanding raw materials source, manufacture processes or technology, permit to be addressed the implications for the livelihoods of the populations.

This session aims to address the different techniques and methods that allow us to know the raw materials and their sources of supply for the manufacture of tools, utensils, potteries, and other key elements in the development of past societies. These can be applied to different prehistoric chronologies, with a varied geographical scope. This session is opened to a diversity of issues about characterizations and interpretation of raw material in prehistoric tools and objects, from analytical techniques (thin section, SEM, XRF, FTIR, Raman, magnetism, micro-CT, isotopic…) which give measurable data and allow to approach the study of the past, through experimental process to comparative recreations. Applications of such methods to different inorganic materials in Prehistoric times are welcomed. Works emphasising integration of results obtained on distinctive features of past societies will be prioritised.

Some examples of topics:

  • Raw material characterization.
  • Raw material source identification.
  • Chaîne operatoire of manufacture process materials.
  • Experimental recreation of previous points.

Participation is open to all authors who want to present work on characterization of materials in prehistoric objects. It is intended that works on any prehistoric material (lithics, pottery, metals, glass, beads, colourants, fibres, etc.) and chronologies (Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age) can participate so interaction between authors may be encouraged.

A debate among specialists will be expected where they could present novel approaches in object characterization and that they could integrate new perspectives (techniques, materials and/or chronologies). The techniques and results presented can help researchers to reflect on their own materials, integrating them to deepen the possibilities of studying their materials.


Mobility, settlements and Archaeology: How ancient movements have shaped the Landscape?

David Garcia-Casas

Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio (CSIC) 

Thibault Saintenoy 

Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio (CSIC)

Movement is a mechanism through which which humans interact, explore and assign an order to the space around them (Ingold and Vergunst, 2008). Therefore, investigate mobility networks is essential to understand social dynamics. This session focuses on the potential outcomes of studying the integration of mobility and settlement patterns to understand the frameworks of Ancient Landscapes. In this sense, the session aims to explore ways to integrate movement and settlements patterns in order to get a better understanding of landscapes in Archaeology. We would like to examine the theoretical and methodological implications of an integrated study of movement, pathways and settlement dynamics. In order to do it, it is also imperative to uncover the temporality of the communication networks in relation to territory as well as their role within the social framework. In addition, when analysing communication networks, it is also imperative to uncover the temporality of the communication networks in relation to territory as well as their role within the social framework. the questions to discuss are: When a communication network between different points started? When the material marks were created and when abandoned? It is possible to identify changes in the movement direction and intensity over time? It is possible to observe the interaction of path networks and settlements patterns at different temporal and spatial scales? These variations can explain the changes in the settlement dispersions over the different historical periods?   What methodologies we need to ascertain it and what theoretical approaches we need to explain? What is the contribution of state-of-the-art digital technology?

We welcome papers addressing these questions bringing together different research approaches, integrating a variety of mobility analyses in different chronologies and regions. The session outcomes will be, first of all, an overview of current approaches to mobility in the archaeological study of territorial past dynamics; secondly the session aims to connect methods and theoretical approaches to mobility in archaeology developed for different chronological periods. In this sense the discussion will be useful for researches in different areas with different historical objectives but sharing common methodological issues. Finally, in all these ways, this session contributes to advances in the understanding of territorial formations through the study of human movement. 


Archaeology of the Uplands: searching for models and methodology in high altitude human-shaped landscapes

Enrico Giorgi

Università di Bologna

Cristiano Putzolu

Università di Bologna

Federico Zoni

Università degli studi di Bergamo

Upland archaeology is a field that has gained increasing attention in recent years due to its potential to uncover unique insights into the lives of communities, living in mountain landscapes and environment. Anyway, there are certain models that scholars tend to repeat uncritically: Is there greater resilience in the uplands that makes the mountains more suitable for times of crisis? Why so often in Italian mountains Middle Ages sites insist over bronze age occupations? Is it possible to trace the network of late prehistoric ephemeral pathways? Is it true that the importance of the uplands is decreasing over the classical age and the early middle ages? Can we really talk about cultural backwardness for mountain regions in the middle ages?

Starting from a common geographical framework, the proposed session will focus on the peculiarities of mountain landscapes compared to lowland ones. The aim is to bring together researchers to explore the multifaceted aspects of upland archaeology. We invite diachronic contributions, from late prehistoric times, through the classical age, to the Middle Ages, that delve into the various aspects of archaeological research in upland regions, spanning from methodology and technology to interpretations and implications.

Session Objectives:

  • Methodological approach: This section will focus on methodologies and technologies that have enhanced our ability to investigate upland archaeological sites. Presentations on cutting-edge remote sensing techniques, GIS applications, and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged.
  • Cultural Significance: Explore the cultural and historical significance of upland regions. How do upland communities adapt to their environments, and what can we learn about their cultural practices and traditions from the archaeological record?
  • Environmental Context: Investigate the impact of climate change and natural processes on upland landscapes. How have these factors shaped the archaeological record in these areas, and what insights can we gain into past environmental adaptations?
  • Community Engagement: Discuss community involvement and stakeholder collaboration in upland archaeology projects. How can we effectively engage with local communities, and what are the ethical considerations in conducting research in these regions?
  • Interpretation and Synthesis: Share case studies and findings from upland archaeological projects, emphasizing interpretations, and synthesizing data to develop comprehensive narratives about the past.

Who Should Attend:

This session is open to researchers, practitioners, and PhD students interested in upland archaeology, as well as those from related disciplines, such as anthropology, geography, and environmental science.

Benefits to the Field:

By exploring the unique challenges and opportunities associated with upland archaeology, this session aims to advance our understanding of human-environment interactions in elevated landscapes. It will also foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and methodological innovation in the field.


Challenging landscapes and hunter-gatherers’ subsistence and mobility

Mae Goder-Goldberger 

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Michal Birkenfeld

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Laura Sánchez-Romero

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona / University of California

Prehistoric hunter-gatherers inhabited regions with challenging landscapes across the globe, from high-altitude mountains to deserts. Many of the sites found in these regions are small and ephemeral, and usually associated with specific landmarks that most likely created a more favorable ecological niche within the landscape, whether springs, caves, rock shelters, or passes across mountains.

Prehistoric research traditionally focuses on the environmental, climatic and ecosystemic changes, and their influence on the subsistence and mobility of hunter-gatherers. While the landscapes, considered constant and stable over time, receive less attention. Attempts to explain the presence of sites in extreme and challenging settings often rely on refugium models, suggesting population contraction and isolation during times of climatic deterioration. These models are, however, somewhat limited, and seldom consider issues such as human choice. Thus, clearly, more research is needed in these contexts.

To incorporate the landscape into prehistoric research, it is necessary to unravel the links between the sites, their location and the mobility dynamics of human groups, as well as the availability of resources. Only then can we begin to evaluate the role of challenging landscapes in human subsistence. Today, with the abundance of digital tools, such as remote sensing and advanced GIS techniques, we can discuss issues relating to the use of space within sites and in relation to their location. To do this, it is necessary to incorporate data from different proxies, both geological and environmental, as well as cultural material from the archaeological sites.

In this session, we invite researchers to join us for an open discussion on extreme and challenging landscapes and their relationship to the presence of prehistoric groups. Some of the topics we would like to address include: 1) correlating regional geomorphology with settlement patterns and 2) atypical site locations in proximity to specific resources 3) landscape evolution and human responses. Our objective is to discuss the outlined topics with an emphasis on the methodological issues and advantages of using digital geographical tools to address such topics. A focus is placed on studies of Pleistocene and early Holocene sites that encompass different disciplines and allow us to know and deepen our knowledge of the on-site activities in relation to challenging landscape localities.


Exploring the interaction between humans and their environment: The Roman Road network and associated structures through Landscape Archaeology

Miriam González Nieto

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia /  Universidad de Córdoba

José Luis Domínguez Jiménez

Universidad de Córdoba.

Since ancient times, humans have approached the environment with the aim of occupying it, using it and, especially, moving through it. The environment has been both the impediment that hindered communication and the “medium” through which people travelled. During the Roman era, the primary relationship between the landscape and its inhabitants was facilitated by the developed road network and the roadside establishments that emerged in its vicinity. Vicus, mansiones, mutationes, castella, turris or villae are some of the examples that make interaction with the territory visible through the roads. Over the past few decades, the development of Landscape Archaeology, in conjunction with the implementation and evolution of remote sensing techniques, has enabled researchers to go beyond the old study of road networks and tackle the challenge of understanding how the Romans occupied, managed, and traversed a territory. Following this line, the objectives that we hope to achieve are closely linked to the application of remote sensing techniques and the results that they can offer to researchers in the knowledge of roads and their environment. The aim is also to create a forum in which the various GIS applications for the dynamics of mobility and visibility over a territory can be shared. Furthermore, our goal is to integrate methodology with the results of historical knowledge, allowing us to approach the Roman logistics within a territory and the construction of both public and private infrastructure in rural settings. In general, we seek to generate debate among researchers on the tracing of roads as axes of wealth

and their relationship with the Roman economy, particularly in rural areas.

These objectives will help us to achieve the main potential of this session, which lies in bringing together scientists from different academic branches and with different research backgrounds, allowing for a multidisciplinary exchange of ideas in which the various approaches to Landscape Archaeology are given voice. In this way we hope to generate a platform for multidirectional learning between the different branches of knowledge that come together in their research.


Tracking (in)visible states and Domestic Spaces through Microarchaeology from Protohistory to Roman times: Iberia and North Africa

Ariadna Guimerà Martínez  

Spanish National Research Council (IMF-CSIC)

Marta Mateu Sagués  

Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology

Alejandra Sánchez-Polo 

University of Valladolid

Marta Portillo Ramírez  

Spanish National Research Council (IMF-CSIC)

Although microstratigraphic analysis is being increasingly applied to reconstructing domestic dynamics within built environments from the Protohistory to the Roman times, its integration particularly in archaeological research programs based on historical periods, is far from systematic. The aim of this session is to bring together different perspectives derived from multi-proxy techniques applied to a varied range of domestic archaeological contexts and social organization, from early built environments to complex urban societies in the Iberia and North Africa landscapes. Further, it intends to (1) review current methodologies, recent applications, and advances in the study of the microarchaeological record; (2) to address the challenges of integrating high-resolution approaches; (3) to evaluate the contribution of experimental and ethnoarchaeological comparative records; (4) to discuss the role of microarchaeological records in exploring major research questions; and (5) to suggest possible future perspectives and directions.

Keywords: Domestic waste, social organization, energy supply, microarchaeology, phytoliths.


Questioning ruins, defining townscapes. Late roman urban centers at the sight of new, high-resolution, integrated archaeological methods and theories

Mario Gutiérrez Rodríguez

University of Jaén, Spain

Pilar Diarte-Blasco

Spanish National Research Council (IH-CSIC)

Manuel Castro-Priego

Alcalá University, Spain

This session aims to critically assess the impact of recent theoretical and methodological innovations in the archaeological research of Late Roman townscapes. In the last half-century, historiography has witnessed significant changes in the theoretical and methodological paradigms applied to archaeological research of Late Antique urban landscapes. These changes have focused on three key stages: the rupture from classical city models, topographic continuity emphasizing Christian centers of power, and the material perspective in archaeological research of urban transformation processes (reduction of urban perimeters, street occupation, intramural middens, suburban space growth, etc.). Presently, “urban transformation” is widely accepted as a historiographical concept, but there is ongoing debate about the conditions under which it occurred. Recent research has shown that transformation was not exclusive to the Late Antique town, as the classical Roman city also underwent similar dynamics, such as changes in the use of public and private spaces, intramural areas for agricultural purposes, and the presence of undeveloped lots or occupation forms without architecture. This raises questions about whether by focusing on processes of change, we are creating a narrative that necessitates the destruction of forms and functions of the classical city to explain the emergence and character of the late antique townscape.

Furthermore, new historical narratives examine the influence of socio-economic and environmental crises on the configuration and disappearance of the Late Roman townscape, such as wars, financial devaluation, diseases, and natural disasters. This raises issues about how these new studies integrate into long-term historical narratives and whether we are projecting contemporary challenges onto our interpretation of the past, which could indicate a historiographical shift toward environmental determinism.

From a methodological perspective, the understanding of the Late Roman townscape has primarily been built from inorganic and macroscopic archaeological evidence, especially architecture. While Late Antique archaeology has not been oblivious to the spectacular boom in methods and techniques of Archaeological Sciences (microstratigraphy, geochemistry, paleobotany, zooarchaeology, paleoparasitology, biomarkers, ancient DNA, ZooMS, etc.), their application in studies on Late Antique urbanism has been geographically scattered, uneven in terms of techniques used, and inadequately integrated into historical narratives, despite their relevance. In this session, we aim to explore: 1) which high-resolution methods allow us to delve into the temporality and forms of human occupation that gave rise to late antique urban landscapes; 2) how to integrate these microscopic analysis methods with macroscopic archaeological information, such as architecture and material culture; and 3) whether we are overlooking forms of occupation in cities and their territory due to the lack of suitable methodologies to identify them.

The objective of this session is to encourage multidisciplinary work that integrates data at various analytical scales to define townscapes from a diachronic perspective, comparing case studies with current theoretical paradigms, and exploring new methodological approaches for the study of late antique urban landscapes. This includes evaluating whether processes of change and transformation are truly exclusive to the Late Antique period, exploring the projection of Late Roman town into the suburbs and the territory, and proposing holistic and integrative approaches to the archaeological reality of the Late Roman townscapes from multiple sources of evidence.


Integrated approaches to heritage landscape studies

Kyle P. Hearn 

Public University of Navarre, Spain 

Wouter Verschoof-van der Vaart 

Leiden University, the Netherlands

Kuili Suganya Chittiraibalan

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Landscape archaeology today has more of a role for society than ever before. Understanding past landscapes through archaeological research is useful in helping stakeholders address many contemporary landscape issues in both rural and urban contexts. Heritage management, rural abandonment, commercial agriculture expansion, urban encroachment, and natural disasters are all themes where landscape archaeology can provide new perspectives for more effective decision making for future sustainability.

Archaeologists have a plethora of (interdisciplinary) approaches to gather, process, and analyse both empirical, qualitative (spatial) data as well as ‘soft’ ethnographic data, which helps them interpret and add further depth of understanding of heritage landscapes and their diachronic, long-term transformation. Integrating such spatial datasets, while at times challenging, can help to address the criticism of some landscape research in that it lacks a ‘bottom up’, human perspective. Most importantly, this quantitative and qualitative spatial data integration can allow for more effective field verification, resulting in greater local stakeholder support of archaeological projects as well as facilitate the transfer of knowledge mutually between researchers and the public.

However, the abundance of available (remote sensing) data necessitates the use of new strategies, such as machine learning techniques and participatory methods that include (local) stakeholders (e.g., Citizen Science or Participatory Mapping), to effectively and efficiently map landscape features, including tangible and intangible landscape attributes, values, and ultimately analyse these in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

We feel that we are at the juncture today, with the tremendous amount of available data, the complications of limited availability of archaeological experts for analysis and (field)validation, and the landscape which is in a continuous process of transformation due to natural and anthropogenic influence. The landscape is transforming every minute and the manner in which the past is being interpreted by the present is continuously and rapidly changing and existing as an active landscape.

Relevant thematic questions to be answered are:

Methodological Approaches

  • How are the active landscape changes documented and incorporated into (archaeological) landscape research?
  • How can the active landscape and its transformations be evaluated with remote sensing, machine learning, and/or participatory methods such as Citizen Science?
  • How are scholars and database managers incorporating these active landscape changes and keeping space for recording and documenting the change that is taking place on the field?
  • How do researchers incorporate participatory methods to their quantitative temporal landscape analysis? What methodologies are used? What kinds of challenges have there been with incorporating these seemingly incongruent spatial datasets?
  • What strategies have been successful at developing new sustainable uses for heritage landscapes that combine both site preservation and local interests for land use?

We are hoping to learn from global examples as to how active landscapes have been analysed with scientifically grounded methods and valued by the public. Can the field inform both science and the stakeholders, and if yes how? We encourage international submissions that seek to develop a multi- perspective, interdisciplinary understanding of diachronic heritage landscape development. Contributions that combine ‘bottom up’ participatory approaches (e.g., participatory GIS, participatory-action research, citizen science, indigenous archaeology) that engage the public with top down tools and methodologies encompassing RS, GIS, and ML are especially encouraged.

Keywords: Remote sensing, GIS, Machine learning, Participatory methods, Citizen science, Heritage landscapes, Interdisciplinary approaches, Sustainability, Knowledge transfer, Valorisation

Session themes for LAC 2024:

Places, people and identity: a conceptual challenge for Landscape Studies

Cutting-edge technologies and theories: a new perspective from Landscape Archaeology


Landscapes of Desertions. Social memories, political practices and identities in a long-term perspective

Lukáš Holata

University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo 

University of the Basque Country

Carlos Tejerizo-García

University of Salamanca

The session aims to discuss new theoretical, methodological, and conceptual frameworks for studying settlement shifts and desertions in landscapes regarding the transformation of social identities. Our ambition is to inquire how micro-regions have evolved not only in terms of foundations and new occupation trends but mainly considering desertion patterns and their implications in everyday people’s social practices.

As a consequence, the core idea is not to investigate the causality of settlement abandonment but the comprehension of deserted sites as arenas of dense social interactions and political practices. Traditionally, desertions are related to economic and political crises, such as the Late Medieval epidemics or the end of the Western Roman Empire. However, some scholars have suggested that desertions are a normal pattern and recurring phenomenon in any settlement system. Furthermore, it can be suggested that abandoned settlements are not just inactive features of the landscape but rather played an active role in the construction of politics through political practices involving these spaces within wider social agencies. In this regard, the study of desertions and the transformations of land uses can be seen as an ideal lab for studying issues such as taskscapes, perceptions, and social grouping transformations, favoring the construction of the landscape as a process of negotiation among different social groups.

In particular, we welcome papers that explore the topic by considering four major research areas:

  1. People’s mobility and social identities. New scientific evidence shows unexpected patterns of people’s mobility, and different sources, such as written evidence or cultural biographies of settlements in the desertion process, offer new ways to understand people’s identities.
  2. Transformation of landscapes, land uses, and social conflicts. Settlement desertion occurs in a wide range of situations, circumstances, and environmental conditions, while there is no direct connection between the abandonment of the domestic areas and the productive spaces. Usually, desertion meant conflicts between nearby communities and the expectations of different agents to take advantage of new opportunities.
  3. Social memories of desertions. The reuse of landscapes and the creation of social memories represent a pivotal aspect in studying the post-abandon period of any settlement. Forgetting and remembering processes are two sides of the same coin in this context.
  4. Ecological and environmental impact of desertions. The interplay between ecology and social memories and identities in deserted sites and landscapes provides new avenues for the revision of the topic.
  5. The construction of politics through the insertion of abandoned settlements in new landscapes and changes in their functions as a reflection of social practices and agencies.


Bridging historical landscape ecology and landscape archaeology: common questions and challenges in a rapidly changing world


Alexandre Martinez (VU, Geoarchaeology, Amsterdam, NL), Federica Sulas (Archaeology, University of Gothenborg, SE), Rebekka Annie Paul Dossche (Ecology, IALE, Swiss Federal Research Institute, CH,), Benny Qihao Shen (Archaeology, University of Cambridge, UK), Josiane Segar (Ecology, iDIV, Leipzig, GE), Valentina Pescini (IALE, Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology, ES), Aarón Moisés Santana Cordero (IALE, Universidad de Salamanca, ES), Kailin Hatlestad (Archaeology, Uppsala University, SE), Frank Arthur (NW University, NO), Václav Fanta (Ecology, IALE, University of Life Sciences Prague, CZ), Marianna Biró (IALE, Centre for Ecological Research, HU), Pille Tomson (IALE, Estonian University of Life Sciences, EE), Nik Petek-Sargeant (University of Cambridge, UK), Paul Lane (University of Cambridge, UK), Anneli Ekblom (Uppsala University, SE), Sjoerd Kluiving (IALA, VU, Amsterdam, NL), Carol Crumley (IHOPE), Matthew Davies (University of Cambridge, UK).

A more nuanced interdisciplinary understanding of the deep history of cultural landscapes and the influence of changing human-environment interactions on the current state of the environment is required to develop sustainable ways of dealing with landscape changes in the future. Particularly important for landscapes are their relations to long-term history because cultural identities and values of landscapes are embedded in their historical and ecological development. Events and processes taking place over the last decades are currently considered as the baseline for addressing issues of landscape management, while archaeological and ecological research highlights that human impacts on the environment have a much longer history. This provides a significant common ground for historical landscape ecology and landscape archaeology, as there are fundamental questions and challenges that are easier to handle by bridging the two disciplines. This joined session of IALA, IALE and IHOPE brings together landscape archaeologists and landscape ecologists to learn about each other’s methods and approaches and to identify common research interests and the possibility for a joint collaboration between researchers of these two disciplines. An increasing need for adaptation to current and future landscape processes requires integration of the natural sciences with the humanities and social sciences. This session is calling for abstracts on research using methods that contribute to narrowing the bridge between disciplines, e.g. landscape ecology and landscape archaeology, applying either contemporary or historical sources. A platform will be given to inspiring research examples focusing on the historical use and management of natural resources and how it has changed the landscape, how to use these historical experiences to plan the future, and on challenges of modelling future processes based on trajectories and pathways over a longer time span. For the results of this session a publication or special issue will be organised, to which session presenters can contribute.


Landscapes of equality: Decentralization, complexity and resistance in the political construction of space

Jordi A. López Lillo   

Universitat d’Alacant (INAPH-UA, Spain) / Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (ARQAND-UNT, Argentina)

Brais X. Currás Refojos 

Spanish National Research Council (IH-CSIC)

Pablo Gutiérrez de León Juberías  

Spanish National Research Council – (INCIPIT-CSIC) 

Inés Sastre Prats  

Spanish National Research Council (IH-CSIC)

Analyses of the political organization of human societies are far from being a modern novelty, even if “modern” is understood as a reference to Modern Age’s immediate origin of our cultural universe. A case could be certainly made for the pursue of equality, a definite rendering of what elsewhere might be pervasively conceived as “justice”; and perhaps, it could also be made for an essentialization of social relations, somehow linked to the liberal shaping of the individual. Though paradoxical at first, the dichotomic construction of otherness during the expansion of European groups clarifies this matter. While direct experience of our own social environment bolsters the perception of individual actors, entangled in an intricate network of personal and factional interests, the awareness of such a political arena is far more deficient when dealing with alien cultures. The same could be said about the vivid certainty of inequalities within Modern societies; leading in turn to an almost mythical, indistinguishable devising of “primitive equality”. Not for nothing, it has been written that the very idea of Prehistory resulted from this colonial encounter. And the fact is that, during the following centuries, different trends of evolutionism developed more or less bulky sequences of social typologies in order to explain an alleged progression from simple to complex and from egalitarian to hierarchical, where the underlying concern could perhaps be better expressed as the imaginary measurement of the distance from –naturalized– “others” to – cultured– “ourselves”

All this explains to a great extent why escaping from traditional categories –like band, chieftaincy, or the State itself– is so difficult even now, after several decades of convincingly challenging them. On the contrary, pointing out the limitations of evolutionary models has not brought forth new analytical consensus, systemically aware of the complexities of human practice. But what can Archaeology, and specifically Landscape Archeology, contribute to this debate? Firstly, the study of human cultures, societies and histories through materiality stands as a strong reminder that, being part of the same species, our endless diversity needs a ground of shared reflection, rather than current vogue narrativism. Secondly, if inhabiting a space implies its cognitive appropriation, unravelling the structuring-structured logics therein fossilized could open a window into other versions of imagining reality, and hence ordering politics. In such sense, this session aims to focus particularly on egalitarianism; not only because so-called “egalitarian societies” represent the bulk of human experience, but because, despite that, their practical logics have tended to remain concealed under a sort of black box. How non-coercive social equilibriums are reached and preserved? How does the principle of equality interface with those personal and factional interests, with the will of dominance in its different forms and intensities, or with the dynamics of hierarchization that –not necessarily translated into political relations– cross-cut all human social universes? What exactly means to be equals?, or, do we irretrievably cease to be so with the advent of the State? By which means can Archaeology trace such tensions and social settings in spatiality? Case-studies from all chronologies and areas will be welcomed in order to deepen these and other issues related with the “landscapes of equality” from a comparative perspective.


Desert and fluvial landscapes. Lights and challenges of landscape archaeology projects in the Theban area (Egypt)

Jesús Martínez Fernández 

Universitat Rovira i Virgili / University of Alcalá, Spain

Ángeles Jiménez Higueras 

University of Granada, Spain  

Antonio J. Morales Rondán 

University of Alcalá, Spain

The aim of this session is to gather the numerous archaeological projects focused on landscape archaeology and working with geospatial data currently working in the Theban area. The research interests of these projects have focused on the displacement of the Nile, the location of – partially lost – settlements, and the understanding of the emergence and development of necropolis. Thanks to technological and methodological innovations in recent years and the existence of numerous interdisciplinary teams, studies on palaeolandscape are therefore undergoing a major breakthrough. 

Studies on the Theban spatial dimension promote a multidisciplinary approach to the archaeological site in order to examine its historical reality from a holistic perspective, expecting to overcome the specificity that characterises many of the analyses of this area – mainly focused on isolated tombs or sites without paying much attention to their surroundings. This comprehensive approach allows us to understand the changes of the landscape –natural or anthropogenic – over the last millennia. In this regard, the Theban area is of great historical and environmental significance, as it is a land of contrasts between the desert area and the fertile river valley. Thebes is highly influenced by the dynamic nature of the Nile concerning the exploitation of the natural space, the organisation of the territory, and the placement of archaeological sites. Likewise, the climatic changes that occurred in the Theban area had a dramatic impact on the communities that inhabited this area over the millennia. The existence of multidisciplinary projects with specialists in geology-geomorphology, geoarchaeology, palynology, etc., allows us to understand the changes in the landscape and climate during the development of the Egyptian civilization and beyond.

In the last decades, new studies concerning the funerary landscape are being carried out throughout the entire Egyptian territory. Innovations in emerging technologies such as remote sensing or machine learning techniques enable us to complement landscape studies based on archaeomorphology. However, the study of landscape in Egypt has its own challenges and limitations, such as the absence of high-resolution geospatial data compared to other geographical areas. It is for this reason that this session aims to bring together the efforts of the archaeological projects focused on landscape archaeology and geospatial data in order to complement the information of those teams working in the Theban area. The main target will be to share raw data with the aim of creating a UTM unified topographic network to be used by all the missions working in the area. This proposal will grant us a great opportunity to establish perfect synergy between the different international missions and institutions working in the Theban area.


Ideology, production and social change. Forms of territorial organization during the 3rd to 1st centuries BCE

María Isabel Moreno Padilla 

University of Jaén

Susana González Reyero 

Spanish National Research Council (IH-CSIC)

Iron Age polities underwent significant changes as their territories became involved in conflicts on a Mediterranean scale from the 3rd century BCE onwards. Complex organizational systems had developed in much of the Western Mediterranean territories until that time. Archaeology has been acknowledging these political entities in a landscape where settlement hierarchies were predominant, structured around walled settlements (oppida). In the southern and Mediterranean territories of the Iberian Peninsula, these Iron Age political entities spearheaded processes of urbanization and population concentration with diverse ranges and degrees of inequality. Like other Mediterranean landscapes, these political entities were dominated by the oppidum, but significantly varied from one place to another in terms of extension, settlement hierarchy, rural strategies and land occupation.

The trajectories of these Iron Age polities experienced significant changes in the 3rd century BCE. In some territories, the emergence of major centers or new forms of cohesion and legitimization seemed to be linked with new forms of dominance/rule that surpassed the previous regional space. However, the onset of major Mediterranean conflicts (Punic Wars, Roman conquest) disrupted these regional developments. Research spanning from the mid-3rd century to the 1st century BCE has emphasized the variability of trajectories and territorial strategies before, during, and after these conflicts.

This session examines the changes, continuities, disruptions and the heterogeneity of this period’s societies from a threefold perspective: the Mediterranean scale in which they are embedded, the regional scale in which they are incorporated, and the local scale in which they are defined. Our objective is to analyze the new power strategies associated with the new political territories and the processes of social change, which entailed the dismantling of Iron Age organizational forms and the configuration of others during the Roman Republican era. Simultaneously, it pursues a more precise investigation into the dynamics and common elements proper of this period. In this context, we aim to debate the creation of new strategies and power relations in various

Western Mediterranean contexts during this period. Contributions are welcomed that analyse:

  • Forms of territorial organization from a diachronic perspective.
  • Ideology, materiality, and social practice.
  • Resilience, emulation, hybridization, reinterpretation, and social change.
  • Socioeconomic structures. Social relations of production and forms of exploitation.
  • New definitions of the concept of Romanization: local identity vs. Roman identity.

In summary, this session aims to contribute to the debate on social complexity processes and urbanization across different territories of the Western Mediterranean during the final centuries of the first millennium BCE.


Crisis? What crisis? New perspectives on the crisis of the Late Roman Empire

Josu Narbarte 

University of the Basque Country 

Oriol Olesti 

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.  

Eneko Iriarte

University of Burgos. 

The third century CE is widely recognised to be a turning point in the history of the Roman empire, defined by a superposition of different factors —e.g., political instability, social conflicts, natural disasters— that, altogether, led to deep transformations in the local landscapes. In particular, the increasing paleoenvironmental evidence for climatic imbalances, such as hydrological imbalances or temperature anomalies, in different parts of the Mediterranean in this period has enhanced a sharp debate on the role of climate change in this “third-century crisis”, especially as regards the reorganisation of the rural districts of many ciuitates. However, the links between climate change, environmental risk increase, and human responses remain barely explored. Different archaeological records can be used to achieve this purpose: settlement patterns, agrarian landscapes, paleoenvironmental and archaeosedimentary records, etc. 

Hence, this session aims at building an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar perspective on climate-led environmental changes and human responses to them, during the 2nd to 6th century across the Mediterranean world. Three main axes of discussion are proposed to this purpose. The first axis regards the study of climatic imbalances around the third century CE, and their contextualisation within the larger climate history of the Mediterranean. A correct understanding of the nature and intensity of these changes is crucial for the assessment of their effective impact on the socio-spatial layout of the Roman societies, and provides a valuable context for the human responses recorded in the archaeological sites and their surrounding landscapes. The second axis regards the archaeological study of climate-induced environmental changes —e.g., floods, drought, erosion— and the human responses to them, resulting in either adaptation or failure. A strong accent is set on the characterisation of landscape transformations, such as anthropized riverine or coastal plain areas, irrigated or terraced field systems, or specific pedological developments, where the imprints of both environmental change and human activity con be traced. Interdisciplinary local studies are thus welcomed, especially if contextualised in wider regional perspectives permitting comparisons within and between different Mediterranean regions. The third axis encompasses methodological reflections on how to integrate the material traces of historic human-environment interactions in order to build significant archaeological information. This includes, though not exclusively, research approaches based on extensive field survey, geoarchaeological and bioarchaeological methods, Geographic Information Systems, or urban archaeology.

Hence, this session will offer new perspectives on the crisis of the Late Roman Empire by assessing the role played by climate-induced environmental transformations, and the manifold responses opposed by local societies across different Mediterranean regions, resulting in different developments over the following centuries. Both a theoretical and a methodological reflection are proposed, so as to build a shared analytical framework between different regions and to define the main goals for future research.


Memoryscapes: Monuments, materiality, and the memorialisation of the landscape

Marianna Negro

University of Cambridge

Julia Gustafson

University of Cambridge

The relationship between memory, monuments, and landscape is complex– one that is shaped and interpreted depending on notions such as culture, discipline, and ontology. In the field of landscape archaeology, they are intrinsically connected in the development of ‘memoryscapes’. Which we define as monumentalized landscapes that are significantly shaped by memory and serve to remind people of past occupation; the range of which can be abstract on one end, simply serving as a vague reminder of the past, and concrete on the other, i.e. relating to specific people, events, stories. In this context, monuments and materials become embodied memories and connect people to the past both spatially and temporally through the longue durée. In this way landscapes are shaped by memory and memorialised through monuments and materiality. The past is also upheld, and memory formed by the physical presence of monuments (ie. materiality) and their longevity within a landscape.

Landscapes are constantly reused, as are monuments and material culture, thus landscapes are by nature endowed with memory. Via the latter, landscapes shape identity, cultural change and inspire alteration and re-use as well as active and passive resistance. For these reasons, memoryscapes have a fundamental role in archaeology and the understanding of past and present societies. In this session, we aim to revisit the role of memoryscapes in archaeology in light of new developments within the field. 

We also seek to examine the role of agency, in terms of both landscape and materiality and how this impacts and influences human interactions, both on a macro and micro scale. Importantly, while monuments imply longevity, intentional destruction is also a factor at play as it directly influences memory and how it is shaped. As monuments are built to last, when a monument is intentionally destroyed, altered, or re-use, this can be considered as a form of intentional memory creation as different cultures seek to re-frame their relationships to both landscapes and material objects through such direct actions.  

Some of the questions we seek to address are as follows:

  1. How does the creation and destruction of material culture influence and impact memory?
  2. How does materiality itself act as an agent in relation to memoryscapes?
  3. What are the impacts, both past and present, of monumentalized landscapes within archaeology itself and in terms of broader human culture?
  4. How do landscapes and monuments shape a cultures ‘sense of place’?


What is next? Methodological solutions for the study of archaeological landscapes: Comparative perspectives

César Parcero-Oubiña

Scientific researcher INCIPIT, CSIC. 

Juan Pedro Bellón Ruiz

Professor, IUIAI, UJA. 

Miguel Ángel Lechuga Chica

Postdoctoral researcher IUIAI, UJA.

Jagoba Hidalgo Masa

Predoctoral researcher UPV. 

Rodrigo González-Camino

FPI predoctoral researcher INCIPIT, CSIC. 

Carolina Castuera Bravo

FPU predoctoral researcher IUIAI, UJA.

Darío Garrido Almagro

FPI predoctoral researcher IUIAI, UJA.

Andrea Solana-Muñoz

FPU predoctoral researcher INCIPIT, CSIC.

The landscape is a dynamic whole, a palimpsest of activities, uses, perceptions, appropriations and meanings that human societies make of and give to the environment in which they live.

Therefore, landscape is a dynamic cumulative whole, which on the one hand generates traces in the morphology of the landscape, making it possible to identify and characterise archaeological sites and, on the other, hinders their identification, masking past traces. In this struggle of opposites, archaeologists face different challenges in the location and study of these archaeological sites, regardless of the chronology to which they belong or the area in which they are located. The construction of infrastructures, the reforestation of ancient wooded areas, the terracing of hillsides to create agricultural terraces, the massive planting of dry crops such as olives or vines, the environmental and ecological conditions, different vegetation cover… are some examples of natural features and anthropic modifications of the landscape that have affected the preserved material traces of past societies.

This session is based on the collaboration between different organisations and institutions, distributed in different areas of the Iberian Peninsula with different landscape characteristics but similar problems when dealing with the archaeological study of these landscapes. The aim is to establish debate and contributions that are not only interdisciplinary but also intergenerational, with different theoretical and methodological perspectives that can be applied in their research projects by people who are beginning their research careers and others who have long experience.

The aim of this session is to offer a space in which the problems of the study of archaeological landscapes and the different methodological solutions applied are presented. In this way, the main contribution of this session is to share concerns and challenges that may arise from the study of these landscapes, generating dialogue and collaborative relationships to offer possible solutions and thus improve the study of past human societies.


Lost in the landscape. Abandoned Towns between Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in the Mediterranean Area

Marta Pérez-Polo

University of Salamanca  

Enrico Cirelli

University of Bologna 

The abandonment of cities or failed urban centres is a phenomenon observed at different junctures and historical moments. In recent decades, archaeological research has made considerable progress in our knowledge of the classical city and of the signs of fragility and unsustainability that affected numerous urban centres in the Roman Mediterranean arc, leading to their abandonment or their transformation into rural environments, many of which did not survive into Late Antiquity. We also have a better understanding of the transformations and new urban architectural models that affected urban centres during the first centuries of Christianity, which reached episcopal rank and which in a large number of examples show a historical continuity up to the contemporary period. This session proposes an exhaustive analysis of several examples of cities that experienced decline or abandonment, as well as the evolution of their dependent territories, in the Mediterranean area during the period between Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. This phenomenon has been less explored in comparison with the earlier classical period. Certainly, researchers are constantly wondering why similar cities experienced divergent trajectories. Why did some fall into decline, while others survived or even improved their situation during these centuries? Why are different situations observed within a few kilometres? The primary objective is to shed light on the significance of these processes of urban abandonment, decline or displacement, which in many cases involved the relocation of settlements over relatively short distances. To this end, the possible social, political and geographical factors that contributed to the reconfiguration and restructuring of these territories will be examined. It is important to note that the underlying causes of this phenomenon are not easily discernible; however, an attempt will be made to identify the actors that played a preponderant role in the lack of continuity of these cities up to the present day. In addition, the impact on the immediate surroundings of these cities will be investigated, examining whether the evolution of that territory was also affected by these changes. In that sense, our analysis will try to determine whether a divergent urban evolution also influenced the development of its surrounding areas, especially with regard to rural habitat types and their levels of survival, discontinuity and mutation.


Historical responses to environmental change: rethinking riverine-coastal landscape archaeology through interdisciplinary approaches

Isabel Rondán 

University of Cádiz

Alexandra Bivolaru

Università Ca’Foscari Venezia

Enrique Aragón

University of Almería

M. Juana López-Medina

University of Almería

Lázaro Lagostena-Barrios

University of Cádiz

Christophe Morhange 

Aix-Marseille-University AMU-ALLSH-CEREGE | EPHE-SHP-Paris

This session intends to bring together scholars, researchers and working archaeologists to publicise and discuss landscape archaeology topics and research that affect the broad vision of space-site interaction adapted to coastal, intertidal and riverine contexts from novel methodological or theoretical approaches. Examining questions about the human past drives researchers to the most challenging questions when covering landscape interaction. More specifically, entanglement between human and the environment have been evidenced by ‘Anthropocene’ episodes directly affecting population mobility, migration and structural changes, particularly in coastal, intertidal, and riverine areas. This relationship generated a learning process in the decision-making of settlements and abandonment of areas triggered occasionally by environmental causes and subsequent forms of resilience or adaptation (social, economic and political consequences). With this session, we aim to delve into whether and how historical responses at the micro-scale (site level) might interrelate with the variations observed on a broader, regional scale in a dynamic riverine-coastal environment without presupposing determinism. The study of coasts, intertidal areas and management of river basins has received considerable attention in the last decade, primarily due to the increasing availability of non-invasive technology required to access archaeological sites in spaces that occupy vast unexplored extensions. This context has enabled the discipline to blossom, primarily through geoarchaeological and remote sensing methodologies. Following this, the proposed session sees the study of landscape archaeology, including inter and multidisciplinary research, as crucial to understanding game-changing historical responses to climate change, periods of crisis or flourishing, and strategies of adaptation to challenging environments.


‘Three-dimensional Landscapes’. Current Applications on Survey, Analysis, and Visualization of Archaeological Landscapes

Jorge Rouco Collazo 

Heritage Science Institute, Spanish National Research Council (Spain)

Alexis Maldonado Ruiz

University of Granada (Spain)

Miguel Carrero Pazos 

University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

In the last decade, remote sensing and 3D processing techniques have undergone significant theoretical and technical advancements. The quality and quantity of data obtained through various 3D techniques have marked a substantial leap forward, and Archaeology is no longer a mere bystander. As a result, their application has become increasingly common, particularly in Landscape Archaeology, where various techniques are employed to survey and analyze the landscape in three-dimensional ways.

In this regard, methodologies such as airborne photogrammetry on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) platforms or airborne LiDAR, among others, have gained significant relevance in the field. Additionally, new frontiers are emerging, such as the application of Artificial Intelligence, which will play a pivotal role in the near future. The adoption of these innovative methodologies has brought about a methodological revolution, with profound theoretical implications on how we study the landscape evolution. 

This session aims to be a space for presentation and debate of the state-of-the-art 3D methodologies for survey, analysis and visualization of the landscape. The primary objective is to engage in discussions about methodologies, application challenges, new theoretical perspectives, and the future directions. Thus, papers on methodological and theoretical issues on 3D applications for the study of the Landscape will be welcomed, including case studies of methodological relevance.

The outcome of this session will be an up-to-date overview of a field constantly undergoing significant methodological updates within Landscape Archaeology, thereby fostering discussions of considerable value for the exploration of current applied methodologies and the advancement of theoretical debates.


No-man’s Land? Debating borders, boundaries, and frontiers as areas of interaction, connection, and exchange in Western Europe from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age

Pablo Sánchez de Oro 

University Autónoma of Madrid 

André Texugo

Lisbon University

What are borders, boundaries, frontiers, and other types of limits? Did they exist in the past? In that case, is it possible to identify them? And, furthermore, what was the role of these spaces?

These are some of the questions we would like to introduce in our session. From this point, our aim is to create a platform for the discussion of this phenomena in Western Europe from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age. We have chosen this geographical area and this long chronology because they clearly allow to reflect about the evolution of borders —and its multiple synonyms—. Here, several changes occurred in the landscape and in the way the different communities interacted with it, especially in the issues linked to the organisation and the division of the space. These variations took place in a way which presents significant chronological and geographical contrasts, being, in that sense, the chosen framework a perfect setting for debate.

Moreover, we would like to delve into the polysemy of these spaces and its multiple and differential perceptions and meanings. But also in a practical sense, we pretend that the different participants will present distinct methodologies and case studies about the identification, the research, and the characterization of threshold points. So, we encourage the presentation of works about new methodologies, discussion about terminology and change, comparative studies, etcetera.


The Unsettlement of Landscapes: Reconceptualizing settlement and human movements in landscapes

Sue Blair

University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Canada

Kenneth Holyoke

University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

Ramona Nicholas 

Archaeologist, Neqotkuk (Tobique) First Nation, Turtle Island.

Dr. Katherine Patton

University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ancient settlement of landscapes has been subject to broad analysis. Historically, the concept itself has been often shaped by classification systems operationalized around mobility, resource use, and subsistence modes. While recent scholarship has broadened the ontological approaches to settlement of landscapes, integrating concepts such as agency through anthropogenic landscape modification, place-making, and cosmology, the underlying framework for thinking about human settlement of landscapes, especially for mobile groups remains informed by earlier classifications. Papers in this session will continue the process of reworking and re-examining conventional archaeological approaches to settlement, especially by ancient peoples who practiced residential mobility in various forms and intensities.


An evolving landscape. An analysis of the Iberian relationship between built space and material culture (4th-11th centuries)

Silvia Berrica 

University of Alcalá

Celtia Rodríguez González 

University of Santiago de Compostela

This session presents an analysis of the Iberian relationship between built space and material culture from the 4th to the 11th centuries. The Iberian Peninsula witnessed significant cultural and political changes during this period, including the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the arrival of Germanic peoples, and the Islamic conquest. These transformative events had a profound impact on the region’s-built environment and material culture, leading to a dynamic and evolving landscape.

The session examines the interplay between landscape, built space and material culture, exploring how changes in one sphere influenced the other. It seeks to understand the ways in which landscape, settlements, and the culture materials evolved over time. Additionally, it investigates the social and cultural factors that shaped these changes, such as political power dynamics, religious beliefs, and economic factors.

To conduct this analysis, a multidisciplinary approach is employed, incorporating archaeological, architectural, and historical evidence. The session draws upon a wide range of sources, including excavations, architectural surveys, textual sources, and digital humanities. By examining this comprehensive dataset, the study aims to provide a nuanced understanding of the Iberian Peninsula’s built and material culture during this period.

Additionally, the session aims to highlight the multifaceted nature of the relationship between built space and material culture. It recognizes that the construction of different types of settlements and landscapes was not only influenced by external cultural groups, but also shaped by internal political and social contexts. By analyzing these aspects within their broader historical and cultural contexts, the session hopes to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the Iberian Peninsula’s past.

Furthermore, the session will contributes to the broader scholarship on Iberian history and archaeology by shedding light on a crucial period of transformation and cultural exchange. This period, spanning, witnessed significant changes in social, political, and cultural dynamics. Through an examination of built space and material culture, the session will offers valuable insights for archaeologists studying this region and time period.

In conclusion, this session want emphasizes the importance of studying built space and material culture in Iberia during the 4th to 11th centuries. By analyzing the diverse influences, shifting contexts, and resulting microspatial powers, the session aims to deepen our understanding of the region’s past.


Water uses in rural economic activities: evidences for the Roman period in Hispania and the Roman West

Pedro Trapero Fernández 

University of Cádiz  

André Carneiro

University of Évora

Jesús García Sánchez

Institute of Archaeology of Mérida (IAM/CSIC), Spain

Water is an essential resource in any culture. During the Roman Era, the study of water often focuses on understanding its supply to cities, including its distribution through aqueducts and in public structures like baths. In rural areas, a similar process typically takes place concerning the provision of water to estates and the examination of bathhouses. However, the economic uses of water within rural economies are not scrutinized in sufficient detail. It is conventionally assumed that irrigation for crops emerged later during the Islamic period. Nevertheless, literary sources are replete with examples of these economic applications. The primary focus of this study is the inland region of the Iberian Peninsula, particularly between Extremadura, Spain, and Alentejo, Portugal, where evidence suggests the existence of a   rural   water-based economy infrastructure during the Roman Era without an apparent function. For instance, publications by Quintela, Cardoso, and Mascarenhas in the 1990s identify several Roman dams in significant estates, clearly associated with irrigation practices. In this session, we aim to explore the relationship between literary sources, these agricultural and other practices, and the archaeological reality. Additionally, we intend to provide an update on these archaeological sites using cutting-edge technologies. Therefore, the session’s themes are organized into three key points. First, we will delve into the examination of these spaces and economies as described in literary sources, along with input from other experts, such as hydrological and geological studies to understand the potential for agricultural and livestock-related uses. Second, we will review both existing and newly discovered case studies where water played a role in rural economic activities. Lastly, we will assess these ancient and modern sites using advanced spatial tools, including remote sensing, non-invasive techniques, and Geographic Information Systems, to comprehend these areas better and propose new avenues for future research. This session will provide an up-to-date perspective on a highly relevant topic in the context of environmental studies. It aims to enhance our understanding of ancient rural economies by showcasing case studies and spatial analysis techniques.


Pluriversal landscapes: understanding people, heritage and ontological contestation

J. Kelechi Ugwuanyi

University of Bonn

Alejandro Mora-Motta 

University of Bonn

Emilia Schmidt

University of Bonn

Julia Binter 

University of Bonn

Landscapes hold the collective imprints of human and non-human interactions across time, encapsulated in what’s referred to as the “dwelling perspective” (Ingold 1993). This viewpoint regards landscapes as an enduring testimony to the lives and contributions of previous generations who resided within them. The idea of the “pluriverse” as outlined in recent works envisions a world in which diverse ontologies coexist, acknowledging the existence of manifold realities (cf. Escobar 2020). Building such a radically diverse world is considered a political endeavour, especially given our global challenges. However, the manner in which people live the records of themselves on the landscape differs from one place to another and, particularly in postcolonial settings, various ways of dwelling compete with each other in one place. The distinctions in how people coexist with their environments are shaped by diverse worlds that impact human and non-human interactions with the landscape. Such single or multiple ontologies interplay in the re-enactment of ancestral mandates, colonization, exploitation and negotiations of the living conditions of a people now and in the future.  Consequently, the ‘pluriversal landscape’, we hold, is the presence of multiple dwellings of humans and non-humans with representative worlds, heritage and identity and the past and ongoing contestations, negotiations and ambivalences. Such multiple dwellings could be now or before, happening concurrently or at separate times, and it could be internal or external to the landscape. We draw from this thinking to interrogate how different groups of humans and non-humans imprint themselves on the landscapes, and what this means today and for the future. 

Our panel invites papers that engage the complexity of ‘pluriversal landscapes’ bearing in mind the following questions: How is a landscape ‘pluriversal’? How do ontological imprints on the landscapes create and impact processes of heritage and identity formation? How are heritage and identity processes re-enacted to show human and non-human connection to land? In what ways do dwellings include or exclude other worlds? How do humans and non-humans negotiate the tension, exclusion and/or conflicts that arise from pluriversal landscapes? How do economic extractivist activities articulate the ontological occupation of landscapes, and how do ‘living ontologies’ and ‘indigenous’ heritage contest/resist/adapt such occupation? How are different knowledges/narratives/perceptions manifested in the materiality of landscape, and how is landscape transformed? 

We aim to generate ideas on how landscapes with multiple, competing and silenced narratives, ways of dwelling and heritage and identity formation contribute to decolonial conversations. We aspire to explore the implications of this for the construction of pluriversal futures for various communities and the landscapes they dwell on. We welcome papers from a wide range of academic disciplines and regional perspectives. Accepted papers will be considered for a planned special issue publication in a journal after the conference. 


Escobar, A. (2020). Pluriversal Politics: The Real and the Possible. Duke University Press.

Ingold, T. (1993). The temporality of the landscape. World Archaeology, 25 (2): 152-174.


Rock art and megalithic monuments as key elements to understands the Late Prehistory landscapes

Alia Vázquez Martínez

University of Santiago de Compostela/ University of Alcalá

Esther Navajo Samaniego

University of Alcalá

Francisco Martínez Sevilla

University of Alcalá

Late Prehistory is the chronology (VI-II millennium BC) when territories began to be constructed and well defined. Rock art and megalithic monuments are key elements that have traditionally been used to define these territories. These archaeological manifestations have been analysed in terms of distribution, density and location in order to interpret landscapes with territorial identities.

Prehistoric rock art is a manifestation of past societies that provides us with a knowledge that goes beyond the simple study of the elements depicted on the panels. Nowadays, there are areas of research focused on how this art covered the territory and their relation with other contemporary monuments. There are also works that have developed around the documentation with new digital technologies. The data obtained through these researches has shown that rock art is not an isolated expression and its location shows how and why these societies have settled on the territory. Regarding megalithic monuments, they have traditionally studied from an architectural and typological perspective and their archaeological remains. Besides, the introduction of new non-invasive techniques, such as LiDAR data and photo-interpretation, has allowed a significant change, giving a prominent role to the landscape in which they are integrated. Data obtained show a richer and more varied archaeological record than expected where landscape plays an important role in the occupation dynamics. The application of new methodologies to rock art and megalithic monuments provides an essential line of research for the study of occupation dynamics, transformation and recognition of the territory in which they are inserted. 

This session aims to gather researchers specialised in Late Prehistory landscapes that focused their research through these archaeological evidences. We would like to receive papers exploring any aspect of Late Prehistory landscapes including rock art and megalithic moments as a proxy. Thus, works with theoretical and practical approaches such as viewshed analysis, site catchment analysis or other terrain analysis,  documentation and data collection, graphical markers codification and distribution dynamics are welcomed.


Maritime Frontiers: insular landscapes, agency, and identity

Veronica Walker Vadillo

University of Helsinki

Kristin Ilves

University of Helsinki

The archaeology of insular landscapes has focused on boundaries and borderlands. Often viewed as peripheral spaces defined in relation to their degree of isolation or interaction with the mainland, islands have yet to be analysed as landscapes of ‘resistance’ and ‘opportunity’.  

The power dynamics used in current models of interaction ascribes a passive role to islanders, while geopolitically-central regions in the neighboring mainland areas emerge as pro-active agents of change and interaction, of connections and disconnections imposed on island populations. Yet, the maritime frontier presented by insular landscapes bestows upon island communities hypermobility (when nautical technological solutions and knowledge have been developed), unbounded space, and access to seafaring networks that may extend across regions, three aspects that can nurture local autonomy and agency. Changing the focus from mainland to island, is it possible to explore insular landscapes as spaces of resistance or compliance defined by the agency of islanders? 

A relatively new way of flipping the script in these terms has emerged in Southeast Asian scholarship through the concept of “zomia,” popularized by James C. Scott in “The Art of Not Being Governed: an Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia” (2009). Although it originally refers to a large massif in mainland Southeast Asia whose elevated and rugged terrain has been home to minority groups that have historically avoided control and influence of states, “zomia” has now been redefined to describe regions whose geographic and environmental conditions enabled communities to craft their own social worlds while deliberately putting distance between themselves and systems of central authority. 

In the preface to the book, Scott recognizes the need to expand the term to the maritime frontier, where societies could evade or stave off central authority equally, if not better than, in the rugged terrain of upland Southeast Asia. In this session, we want to pursue this discussion and examine the validity of shifting the narrative of island archaeology to one that is focused on agency, autonomy, and resistance of island communities. We invite papers that examine insular landscapes as zones of resistance and opportunity, exploring how the resources, the topography, and the environment of these landscapes may have been harnessed by island communities to develop a strong sense of independence and identity guided by their own agency. We also aim to explore the role of these spaces in their own right as havens in times of social and environmental crises, as places where communities could seek refuge, and where those newcomers could add, change, and develop landscapes and identities. 


Open Session

Scientific Committee

This is an open session for all attendees who are interested in the general themes of the LAC2024 but feel their contributions do not clearly fit with any of the accepted sessions.

In this session we try to accommodate all those researchers who are interested in presenting the progress or results of a specific project that is related to the themes of the conference.

The conference themes are:

  • Mobility, settlement and people: an environmental approach 
  • Places, people and identity: a conceptual challenge for Landscape Studies 
  • Space vs site: human dynamics in landscape. 
  • Cutting-edge technologies and theories: a new perspective from Landscape Archaeology 
  • Knowledge transfer and local communities in Landscape Studies. 
  • Landscape heritage values 
  • Climate change and ancient natural and human-shaped landscapes: interdisciplinary approaches 
  • Landscape Archaeology: visual and virtual perceptions
  • Landscape Archaeology and Landscape Ecology



Scientific Committee

Given the importance of posters to communicate your ideas, we recommend that you adhere to the following instructions:

  • High visual content that is attractive and holds the viewer’s attention.
  • A clear, coherent framework that allows you to express ideas with simplicity. 
  • Texts should not be overly long or wordy.
  • It’s unnecessary to place everything in the poster. You will be able to give a more thorough explanation and provide further details through your interaction with the Conference attendees.
  • Be as creative as possible in the way you display the information.
  • Include your email address so that people interested in your poster may be able to comment on and inquire about your research if you are not present.


Poster Format

Language: Posters must be written in the official language of the conference, English.

Size: 90 X 120 cm

Other issues: You must bring your poster printed and the conference staff will provide materials for fixing them to the presentation boards.