Surface <> Subsurface: A methodological study of Metal Age settlement and land use in Calabria (Italy)

de Neef, W., 2016, [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. 420 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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  • Title and contents

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  • Chapter 1

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  • Chapter 2

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  • Chapter 3

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  • Chapter 4

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  • Chapter 5

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  • Chapter 6

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  • Chapter 7

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  • Chapter 8

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  • Chapter 9

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  • Chapter 10

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  • References

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  • Summary

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  • Samenvatting

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  • Appendices

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  • Acknowledgements

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  • Complete thesis

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  • Propositions

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Small concentrations of archaeological material found on the present-day surface are usually not investigated beyond their detection. This is especially true for poorly preserved artefact concentrations dating to the Metal Ages (ca. 3000-800 BC) in Italy, which do not seem very promising for further research. However, the fact that they are found by many archaeological surveys in very different landscape zones indicates that they must reflect regular human activity and land use strategies.
In my PhD project, I have tested and evaluated multi-disciplinary methods to study such small artefact concentrations. The aim of my research was twofold: to refine fieldwork methods to extract more information from such sites, and to use the results to come to a better interpretation of Metal Age settlement and land use strategies. I have conducted systematic field work on a dataset of 155 Metal Age surface scatters in the mountainous Raganello basin in Calabria (southern Italy), using a range of archaeological, geophysical, and pedological approaches.
The close integration of the datasets produced by different techniques has led to some remarkable discoveries, including a cremation cemetery on top of a mountain and a densely populated area of single Late Bronze Age farmsteads. Their inhabitants owned large storage vessels which until now were thought to be rare elite goods, and some sites are associated with rectangular buildings, which so far is unique in Italian Bronze Age studies. In other places, the prehistoric landscape is very much obscured by natural slope processes. The overall conclusion is that even small, unpromising archaeological sites can yield a wealth of information about past rural life, provided that they are investigated in a high-resolution, multi-disciplinary approach using non-invasive and (minimally) invasive techniques.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Attema, Peter, Supervisor
  • Leusen, van, Martijn, Co-supervisor
  • Bevan, A., Assessment committee, External person
  • Guidi, A., Assessment committee, External person
  • Pacciarelli, Marco, Assessment committee, External person
Award date20-Oct-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Related Prizes
  1. Ted Meijer Prize

    Wieke Neef, de (Recipient), 1-Jun-2017


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