Archaeology of the Mountains. Research, Methods, analysis

Researchers Josep M. Palet, Arnau Carbonell, Lídia Colominas, Alfredo Mayoral, and Valentina Pescini, are participating in the second edition of the Archaeology of the Mountains conference. Research, Methods, Analysis, with the presentation:

Landscape Archaeology research in the Eastern Pyrenees (Segre and Ter valleys, NE Iberian Peninsula): settlement and land-use dynamics on a long-term perspective” June 14th (10:45 am).

Since 2004, an integrated archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research programme has been developed in the Eastern Pyrenees (Andorra and Catalonia), with the aim of studying the long-term landscape shaping of Mediterranean high-mountain environments. This programme involved extensive surveying, GIS, excavation and radiocarbon dating of archaeological structures and the integration of multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental data. A methodological approach based on fine spatial and temporal resolution analysis has proved to be a priceless tool for assessing local human occupation and the distinctive nature of highland land-use practices on a micro-regional scale.

The results underline the existence in these areas of diverse land-use and resource management strategies during the past millennia, which included fire-driven forest openings, grazing, woodland exploitation (such as resin and charcoal production), mining and melting activities. This diversity of activities has leaded to complex cultural landscapes in the high Pyrenean areas. During the Middle and the Late Neolithic major landscape changes took place when the alpine grassland belt expanded and a settlement intensification has been attested at ca. 2000 – 2500 m a.s.l. Roman times report a diversification of practices including mining, metallurgy, pine resin exploitation, charcoal production, grazing activities and livestock.

Antiquity is configured as an important period in livestock expansion from the 2nd – 3rd centuries and during Late Antiquity. In high Medieval times (9th 10th c.), a largely grazed landscape resulted in a wide deforestation. Later on, during the modern and contemporary periods, an intensive transhumant grazing and a more specialized exploitation (cheese production) is attested. Cultural Landscape dynamics furnishes new data for the development of management tools for the sustainability of Mediterranean highlands.

The conference takes place in the Tatra Museum of Zakopane, on June 14th, 15th, and 16th. You can find the program here.

Organised by: Tatra Museum (Zakopane), Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw), Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University (Krakow), Museum of Biecka Land (Biecz), and in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (Slovakia)

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