Agrarian landscapes and archaeomorphology

Landscape Archaeology Research Group

Archaeomorphology is the study of human-made landscape forms, such as roads, field systems, terraces, water channels, and so on. Traditional archaeomorphological approaches rely mainly on photointerpretation and the analysis of historical maps. The archaeological features studied through archaeomorphological approaches display a long-term chronology and play an important role in the configuration of human habitat, movement and sustenance.

These type of studies, very much in fashion during the 1970s and 80s, were gradually abandoned during the 90s due to their lack of accuracy and reliability and are relatively uncommon today. We are one of the few European groups active in the application of archaeomorphological techniques. In fact during the last years we have published a series of papers describing improved, reliable archaeomorphological methods. These are based on the implementation of GIS, georeferenciation procedures, multiscale and multisource analysis, incorporation of historical sources, remote sensing, palaeoenvironmental analysis, geostatistics, geoarchaeology, field survey and excavation. In short, we believe archaeomorphology can only be useful when it is applied within a landscape archaeology framework in which a long-term perspective, multidisciplinarity and verification procedures can extract the most out of archaeomorphological data.
We have also been active in ‘de-ideologising’ the field, very much based on centuriation studies that have been related to Roman imperialism, colonisation and the opression of conquered populations.
Our archaeomophological studies are accurate, reliable and verifiable. We use multidisciplinary data to extract information about the historical configuration of cultural landscapes that has great value to understand economic, social, cultural and symbolic aspects of the landscape that could have not been obtained otherwise.