93014 - Landscapes Archaeology (LM)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Enrico Giorgi
  • Credits: 12
  • SSD: L-ANT/09
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Archaeology and Cultures of the Ancient World (cod. 8855)

Learning outcomes

The course introduces the main research topics and the most up-to-date methods to analyze the changes that occur in the relationship between man and the environment over time, such as to generate different landscapes in different eras. The student will be provided with the necessary tools to understand these dynamics, through an integrated use of different sources and tools: from the reading of ancient texts (including technical repertoires such as itineraries and agri-sensory and urbanistic writings) and archaeological sources, to the study of physical geography, also with the help of modern methods of cartographic analysis (GIS) and diagnostics (Remote Sensing). Particular importance will be given to the study of the urban landscape and to the reconstruction of the ancient road system and agrarian farming.

Course contents


The course focuses on the changes in the ancient landscape through the study of the relationship between man and the environment in the various eras. Compared to other traditions of study, the approach of the Bolognese school pays equal attention to all categories of sources without necessarily privileging the archaeological one and paying great attention to changes imposed by environmental factors, such as climate and physical geography.
To deal with these issues, the course will be divided into an introductory part followed by a second more applicative and laboratory part (also with the use of instruments in the classroom), dedicated to specific research themes, partly related to field projects in which students can ask to participate (Pompeii, Agrigentum, Butrint, Suasa, Monte Rinaldo). Having attended the course and taken the exam or had a thesis related to it will be considered a preferential element for participation in field research.

The first part of the course introduces the history of the discipline, also in relation to the influences exercised by the reflection on contemporary theoretical archaeology ( both processual). Then the main categories of sources will be analyzed with a wide use of illustrative cases (repertories and written sources, toponymy, epigraphy, archaeology), focusing mainly on the study of the ground (geomorphology) and its representations (topographic maps and thematic cartography). Finally, modern methods of investigation will be analyzed, starting from the non-invasive methods typical of preventive archaeology both from the air (traditional and multispectral satellite photography, lidar) and on the ground (geophysics, archaeological survey).

The second part of the course will be dedicated to some characteristic themes of the study of the ancient and medieval landscape (road network, settlement and  farming) and of the urban landscape (urban archaeology). The methods necessary to build an archaeological map will be presented, starting from topographic survey techniques (GPS, photogrammetry, laser scanner) and management of thematic and digital cartography (GIS), to obtain a map of archaeological potential. This aim will be pursued taking into account regulatory and professionalizing aspects, enhancing the role of the landscape archaeologist as advocate of a sustainable archaeology that does not oppose landscape changes but rather proposes itself as a protagonist of urban and territorial planning, according to the modern trends of preventive archaeology. It is, therefore, a matter of pursuing the formation of a modern archaeologist who is also attentive to the involvement of citizens' communities (public archaeology).


The contents of the course are closely related to those covered in the topography laboratories, which it is recommended to attend in order to complete the theoretical training with the technical and practical one. Please refer to the web page dedicated to laboratory teaching: https://corsi.unibo.it/magistrale/archeologia/i-laboratori-didattici


Students who will attend the course will have to study the notes of the lessons and will also have to study the following texts:

G. Bonora, P.L. Dall'Aglio, S. Patitucci, . G. Uggeri, La Topografia antica , Bologna 2000;

F. Cambi, Manuale di archeologia dei paesaggi, Roma 2000 (only chapters 4 and 5);

E. Giorgi (a c.), In profondità senza scavare. Metodologie di indagine non invasiva e diagnostica per l'archeologia, Bologna 2009 (only chapter 3.1);

F. Boschi, Archeologia senza scavo. Geofisica e indagini non invasive, Bologna 2020 (only chapter 3)

J. Bogdani, Archeologia e tecnologie di rete. Metodi strumenti e risorse digitali, Roma 2019(only chapter 4).

Students who will not attend classes, in addition to the two manuals already provided, will have to study the following books in place of the notes:

F. Tosco, Il paesaggio storico. Le fonti e i metodi di ricerca, Bari 2009;

G. Gisotti, Geologia per archeologi, Roma 2020.


Foreign students, only after having agreed with the teacher, will be able to replace the texts provided with the following books:

S. Campana, Mapping the Archaeological Continuum: Filling 'Empty' Mediterranean Landscapes, Springer 2018;

F. Boschi (ed.), Looking for the Future, Caring for the past. Preventive Archaeology in Theory and Practice, Bologna University Press 2016.

F. Vermeulen, G.-J. Burgers, S. Keays and C. Corsi (eds.), Urban Landscape Survey in Italy and the Mediterranean, Oxbow Books 2012.



L. Quilici, S. Quilici Gigli, Introduzione alla topografia antica, Bologna 2004;

F. Piccarreta, G. Ceraudo, Manuale di aerofotografia archeologica, Bari 2000;

P. Basso, Strade romane: storia e archeologia, Roma 2007;

E. Farinetti, I paesaggi in archeologia: analisi e interpretazione, Roma 2012;

F. Cambi, Archeologia dei paesaggi antichi: fonti e diagnostica, Roma 2003;

C. Palagiano, A. Asole, Cartografia e territorio nei secoli, Roma 2004 (1 ed. 1984);

P. Romai, A. Petrucci, L'analisi del territorio. I sistemi informativi geografici, Roma 2003;

L. Rombai, Geografia storica dell'Italia. Ambienti, territori, paesaggi, Firenze 2002;

A. Augenti, Archeologia dell'Italia Medievale, Laterza 2016;

R. Rao, I Paesaggi dell'Italia Medievale, Roma 2015;

G. Brancucci, V. Marin, P. Salmonare, Geomorfologia applicata, Padova 2011.

M. Cremaschi, Manuale di Geoarcheologia, Bari 2000. 

Teaching methods

The lessons will be seminars with the use of presentations and case studies of the current research projects led by the professors. Subject to logistical availability and if possible, interested parties will be offered the opportunity to participate in field research.

Students will be required to take an active part in the lessons.

Students will have to report one of the reading listed in the e-journal Groma (www.groma.unibo.it).

Conferences will be organized, additional and open to the public.


In order to refine the theoretical and practical aspects, it is recommended to attend topography laboratories (https://corsi.unibo.it/magistrale/archeologia/i-laboratori-didattici)

Assessment methods

The active participation in lessons, conferences and teaching activities will also be evaluated.

The final vote will be determined by an oral exam.

The questions will cover the following topics:

1. Tools for the study of landscape archaeology;

2.Archaeology of urban and agricultural landscape of Roman Italy;

3.Topographical Survey.

The interview will be opened by the candidate with a topic of his or her choice (first question), followed by two requests for further information on the other topics (two questions). If necessary for the assessment, further questions may be asked.

For non-attending students, the interview will focus on the same topics, paying particular attention to the volumes being studied.


The following evaluation parameters will be adopted, for attending students and non-frequenting students.

Attending Students

Excellent evaluation
(30 and praise-28): active participation of the student in the lessons; the student will have to demonstrate the possession of high level knowledge, the ability to interpret the landscape problems correctly and showing a certain autonomy of reasoning. The student will demonstrate the ability to move well within the "parure" of sources presented in class. Excellent oral expression skills including in the technical languages presented.

Good grade (27-23): The student has attended the course and will demonstrate possession of knowledge at a good level, but mainly mnemonic; the interpretation of the problems proposed will be correct, but not always precise and autonomous. The language used will be appropriate with some problems in the more technical aspects.

Sufficient rating (22-18): The student has attended the course, demonstrates possession of the basic knowledge of the discipline, but assumed in mnemonic form; the interpretation of the problems is mostly correct, but conducted with inaccuracy and little autonomy. The language used will be fair, but lacking in technical language.

Insufficient evaluation: the lack of acquisition of the basic concepts of the discipline, combined with a poor ability to make use of the sources presented and an adequate language will be evaluated with insufficient score, which provides for the repetition of the exam.

Non-Frequenting Students
Non-frequenting students will be evaluated primarily on the basis of their ability to gain awareness of the issues inherent in Landscape resulting from manual and bibliographic study, combined with adequate language.

Excellent evaluation (30 cum laude -28): the student will demonstrate a solid understanding of the subject matter, the demonstration of a critical sense in evaluating the sources to be drawn upon in reconstructing the ancient landscape. He/she will express him/herself in language appropriate to the subject, even in its technical parts.

Good evaluation (27-23): the student will demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of the subject, but will not have fully succeeded in developing a critical sense, with verbal expression and reasoning on the issues proposed not always perfect.

Sufficient rating (22-18): the student will demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the subject matter, but will have failed to develop a critical sense, with verbal expression and reasoning on proposed problems not fully satisfactory.

Insufficient assessment: lack of acquisition of basic concepts of the discipline, coupled with a poor ability to make use of the sources presented and adequate language will be assessed with an insufficient score, which requires retaking the exam.

Teaching tools

The presentations used during the lessons will be available on the web portal of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Enrico Giorgi


Sustainable cities Climate Action Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.