Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds What does the word “landscape” mean? A magnificent mountain, a picturesque island, a tranquil lake? These are landscapes we can visit and admire. But landscapes are not only places to look at, there are also places where we live. Ever since the Neolithic Revolution, around 10,000 years ago, and even before, humans have used and shaped the landscape around them through plant domestication, agriculture, animal breeding, and exploiting and modifying uncultivated places such as woods, rivers and marshes. Over centuries, elements of landscapes have been created, restructured or abandoned, while others are used for centuries or even millennia, resulting in landscapes which are palimpsests reflecting many different periods of history.
Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds The layers of landscapes tell us stories about the past and so the term “historic landscape” evokes the time-depth of our seemingly “modern” cities and countryside. Archaeologists dig through these layers, unearth meaning, and reveal the histories of landscapes, through different sources and methods. By using innovative techniques of environmental archaeology, such as soil or pollen analysis, methods of remote sensing to identify landscape from above, more traditional sources like cadasters and historic maps, and connecting this data with archaeological evidence, we can understand how landscapes looked in the past and how they were managed and perceived by the people who lived in them.
Skip to 2 minutes and 13 seconds I’m Alexandra Chavarria, Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Padova and with me as your guide, you will learn about these methods for reconstructing and understanding historical landscapes and the dynamics of change.
Skip to 2 minutes and 31 seconds Focusing on southern Europe, we will explore the character of Mediterranean territories and also how knowledge of the history of a landscape can improve its protection and sustainable use today. Finally, we will see how the involvement of local communities in the process of discovering and managing their own landscapes can be crucial not only to their cultural, social, and economic development, but also the research itself. Journey with me and together, let’s dig deep into the fascinating history of Mediterranean landscapes.