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Archaeology, Remote Sensing, and Archaeometry: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Landscapes and Ceramics from the Roman to the Medieval Period in Mallorca (Balearic Islands): ARCHREMOTELANDS (HAR2017-83335-P)

 This project proposes a multidisciplinary approach that includes innovative aspects for a diachronical study of cultural landscapes and ceramic material culture using new technologies.

The main aim is to understand the rural settlement patterns and material culture, in particular ceramics, on the Island of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) in the transitional period between the Roman period and the Middle Ages. In this period, the islands were first a province within the Roman Empire, later were conquered by the Regnum Vandalorum (AD 455) and by the Byzantine Empire (AD 534) to end under the Muslim domination at the beginning of the 10th century.

This new project, building on the experience of a previous one (CERPOANTAR 2005-2007), aims the application of new methodologies in order to improve our knowledge of what is buried under the soil. A combined strategy using Archaeology, Remote Sensing including geophysical survey and archaeometry for the study of the ceramic record is proposed. The project wants to take advantage of the development and evolution experienced in the last years in the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) and miniaturized sensors as an innovative aspect in the investigation of the countryside in the area of study.

The fieldwork will be developed in different areas of the island of Mallorca. In addition, other key sites, including possible villae, secondary agglomerations, ecclesiastical complexes, and fortifications, already detected, will be targeted.

The main aims are on the one hand to provide further data in order to understand the evolution of the settlement patterns of the area in Late Antiquity and of the ceramic record, and on the other hand to explore the possibilities of new technologies for a better detection and definition of buried sites. The project aims to provide a harmonised methodology that could be used in other case studies. In addition, it will serve to place the Balearics in an international debate on the evolution of the settlement patterns from the old imperial structures to a new model of occupation. This will include a comparative perspective with previous data obtained in other areas of the island and with other western Mediterranean areas in a period of transition, and therefore of change and resilience.

The main objectives can be summarised as follows:

  • To study and understand the settlement patterns of the Late Antiquity population trough the compilation of the existing data and field survey.

  • To characterize the late antique ceramics using a combination of analytical techniques

  • To evaluate the use of RPAS, miniaturized sensors and advanced techniques for geo-information generation and processing geo-information for the detection of buried sites

  • Remote Sensing and Geophysics in Mallorca

Participants: M.A. Cau Ontiveros (PI) (ICREA/ERAAUB), F. Tuset Bertran (ERAAUB), Catalina Mas Florit (ERAAUB), Eduard Angelats Company (CTTC), Sam Turner (Newcastle University), Alex Turner (Newcastle University), Evanthia Tsantini (ERAAUB), Leandro Fantuzzi (ERAAUB), Joan Tuset i Estany (ERAAUB), Francesc Cecília i Conesa (University of Cambridge), Bartomeu Vallori Márquez (ERAAUB), Alejandro Valenzuela (ERAAUB), Agustín Lobo Aleu (CSIC-ICTJA), Pau de Soto, Jaume Cardell i Perelló (Consell de Mallorca/UIB).

Funding: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades.