Landscape exploration, interpretation and conservation in Tuscany, Central Italy
Under the direction of Dr S Campana and Prof R Francovich, University of Siena

The Department of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Siena has special experience and skill in the GIS handling and Internet presentation of archaeological data and landscape information in the Region of Tuscany. The Department's informatics laboratory is among the most sophisticated in Europe.The University, through a conference in 1992 and a training school and workshop in 2001, was the first in Italy to invite European colleagues to demonstrate the potential value in Italy of exploratory aerial survey for archaeological and landscape recording. More recently the University has begun work on the archaeological uses of satellite imagery in Mediterranean conditions and on the close integration of geophysical prospection with traditional methods in archaeological field survey. The University is keen to promote the combined use of new and established methods of survey, each supporting the others in the exploration and interpretation of carefully chosen heritage landscapes in southern Tuscany. It will present the results in ways which will raise public and official awareness of such landscapes and of the importance of their presentation and conservation as part of the common cultural heritage of Europe.
The funding and focus provided by the Culture 2000 Project will allow the University to develop its existing commitment in three important and potentially long-lasting ways:

1. The initiation of a structured and long-term programme of archaeological air survey in Tuscany

2. The purchase, evaluation and application of satellite and laser imagery for heritage purposes

3. The integration of aerial, satellite and ground based exploration and recording in landscape studies

Two sample landscapes, each about 125 sqkm in extent, have been selected as representative of the landscape complexity and varying settlement patterns of Tuscany. The first lies on the border between the provinces of Grosseto and Siena, along the Orcia Valley. Preliminary aerial survey here has produced promising results. The second encompasses the Parco dell'Uccellina, a national park bordering the coast between Talamone and Grosseto. Both landscapes have been studied by the University in recent years, using traditional methods to identify and date large numbers of previously unknown archaeological sites, many in danger of damage or destruction by agricultural activity and modern developments. The initial collection and comprehensive mapping of data in these two areas, including that from 1940s and other 'historical' air photographs, will guide a possible focus on one or both in the later stages of the Project.
Through the exchange of the resulting information with heritage bodies and regional and local administrations the Project will contribute to the conservation of existing and newly discovered heritage sites in the study areas. The problems and possibilities of information exchange and heritage protection in Italy will be compared with those in other parts of Europe, with a view to improving the understanding, presentation and protection of heritage landscapes both in Italy and elsewhere. In June 2006 the University will mount an advanced research and training school in aerial archaeology through its recently formed Remote Sensing Laboratory at Grosseto. It will also organise two specialist workshops, one at the beginning of the Project and the other at the end. These will focus on the archaeological uses of satellite and laser imagery and their integration with more traditional methods in landscape recording, interpretation and conservation. The workshops will bring together co-partners and invited experts from all parts of Europe. The school will involve both Italian and non-Italian students.
The University will contribute to and benefit from the pan-European exchange of skill of information through the development of a network of associated scholars and professional, through visits to other parts of Europe to seek or give advice, through student and professional exchanges and through the attendance of Italian participants at workshops and other events during the lifetome of the Project and beyond.
The University of Siena already has a highly developed WEB site, with over 6000 pages of text and graphical information. Experience in compiling this site will assist the Project in developing, from the outset, effective means of communicating its aims and achievements to young people, the general public and officials who can influence the long-tern preservation of heritage landscapes in Italy and other parts of Europe. Opportunities will also be taken to explain the Project in popular and scholarly publications, in museums and librarys, in public presentations and in TV and radio programmes.

Università di Siena a Grosseto - Area di Archeologia Medievale
Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia delle arti - Università di Siena

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