The origin and development of a Mediterranean landscape: the integration of field survey techniques with the long-term archaeomorphological analysis of Valencia Mediterranean alluvial plain

Author(s): Ortega, M. J.; Palet, J. M.; Orengo, H. A.
Dates: 22/08/2016 - 26/08/2016

Landscape Archaeology Conference 2016

Uppsala Universitet
Uppsala (Suècia), del 23 al 25 d'agost
Organised by: el Department of Archaeology and Ancient History de la Uppsala Universitet

The complex evolution of Valencia’s territory has made it one of the most complex historical landscapes in Europe. But this complexity can also be problematic for its study, since the intensive historical occupation and geomorphological dynamics in combination with modern changes have deeply transformed the territory. Therefore, for its meaningful analysis, a multidisciplinary research perspective is needed. The different techniques employed include geomorphology (University of Valencia), multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental analysis (University of Barcelona and GEOLAB-CNRS), remote sensing (University of Cambridge) and archaeomomorphology and archaeological survey (Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology). Archaeological survey and the GISbased archaeomorphological analysis revealed as particularly useful. Survey has included the revision of the location, chronology and type of several known archaeological sites allowing us to analyse the evolution of settlement patterns from the Iron Age to the Medieval Islamic period. Also, the relation between sites and archaeomorphology has permitted identification of changes in settlement dynamics between the Iron Age, the Roman Republican and the Imperial periods. Archaeomorphological survey has allowed us to review the main features of some structures documented by the GIS-based analysis such as roads or holloways, some of which were identified by the archaeomorphological analysis as part of a Roman centuriation. The integration of these micro-scale studies has helped establish an extra-regional scale comparison, aligning Valencia’s historic landscape evolution to that of other well-studied Mediterranean sedimentary plains.