Landscape archaeology is the discipline concerned with studying and interpreting humanised spaces and the archaeological record that characterises them. From this perspective, landscapes constitute cultural expressions, civilised territories that are lived in and conceptualised, products of human activity over time and, therefore, the expression of the societies and historical processes that configured them.

Thus, the objectives of this line of research go beyond an archaeology of settlements, or the spatial study of the settlement, to study cultural landscapes in all their environmental, social and human dimensions. Moreover, the social and human dimension of the landscape comprises diverse spheres: settlements and population dynamics, agricultural zones and their structuring and the conceptualisation of spaces as symbolic areas. Two threads with strong methodological implications define landscape archaeology today:

  • The question of the natural environment-human environment dialectic, i.e. the environmental matrix of human action and the impact of anthropic action on landscape evolution. This variable makes it necessary to organise the research in an interdisciplinary manner.
  • The diachronic nature of the landscape as a dynamic reality in transformation, a factor that conditions a long-term diachronic research proposal.

In this respect, there is consensus on the analytical method to be followed. It has to be systemic and comprehensive; in other words, landscape archaeology research must be multidisciplinary and diachronic, so that specialists from all the disciplines interested in the rural area can participate in the research programmes and projects.

In recent decades, landscape archaeology has had a notable application in classical archaeology, in the study of the territories of ancient towns. Until then, the historical discourse had been based on the written and epigraphic sources. Today, with the development of new methods and techniques, the application of aerial photography, new cartographic products, archaeological prospection and palaeoenvironmental studies, the sciences of antiquity have welcomed this new discipline with open arms.

Consult the different associated projects: