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FAST Lecture | RELOAD: A Survey Project in Northern Tuscany (Italy) Investigating Ancient Landscape Complexity and Liminality

Dr. Valentina Limina
Thursday, May 2, 2024
5:30-7:00 PM
Newberry Hall, Room 125 Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Map
Please join us for our final FAST lecture of the academic year. This event will take place in Room 125 of the Kelsey Museum’s Newberry Hall. Light refreshments and food will be provided before the lecture, which will begin at 6 PM.

Valentina Limina is a postdoctoral researcher at Université Catholique de Louvain. As an archaeologist specializing in ancient topography, she has worked on surveys and excavation projects in Italy and Turkey. Her research interests focus on landscape archaeology, settlement patterns and material culture, and identity and elite power strategies in the Roman Mediterranean.

Abstract: This talk aims to present Dr. Limina’s post-doctoral project, RELOAD (REthinking Liminality Open Access Data), funded by F.R.S.-FNRS at UCLouvain (BE). RELOAD complements the previous research and current archaeological projects by UCLouvain (M. Cavalieri) and Pisa University (S. Menchelli), focusing on ager Volaterranus in northern Tuscany. It undertakes a comparative analysis of liminal areas in Volterra between the centuries 3rd BC–5th AD to better understand the peculiar long-term settlement strategies featuring these zones. Indeed, liminal areas need specific strategies to be controlled/inhabited because of their “marginality” and their peculiar environmental features (springs, marshlands, mountains, etc.). Thus, they are crucial to understanding space organization strategies, perception, and identity formation. RELOAD intends to prompt a flexible approach to landscape complexity, overcoming “barriers” between the so-called “soft” and “hard” sciences in promoting standardization of practices, reproducibility of results, and increasing knowledge and data sharing. Together with the “traditional” sources (literary texts, pottery, epigraphs), the project considers legacy data and integrates the open-access databases by Regione Toscana for historical cartography and toponymy. New data is acquired and managed through GIS through systematic field survey campaigns. Preliminary results from the first survey campaign (2023), including the municipalities of Capannoli, Ponsacco, Pontedera, and Peccioli in the northern district, provide new data to discuss the hypothesized Roman centuriation system of the area and the related dynamics of settlement pattern evolution about material assemblages’ distribution. Applying resilience and anti-fragility concepts through agent-based models is part of the broader debate about the benefits of integrating methods and theories from the socioeconomic/mathematical fields in archaeology. Simulation in NetLogo and an open-access WebGIS emphasize the crucial role of “simplification” in modeling: all this leads to reflecting on the methodological choices and their impact on ancient landscape reconstruction.

FAST (Field Archaeology Series on Thursday) lectures are free and open to the public. If you have any questions or concerns regarding accessing this event, please visit our accessibility page at or contact the education office by calling (734) 647-4167. We ask for advance notice as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Ancient Rome, Archaeology, Free, Lecture, Research
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Interdepartmental Program in Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Lectures, Archaeology at Michigan