ANCIENT TOPOGRAPHY (UNIT A)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The primary objective of the course is to communicate the main tools and methods of modern topographical investigation, from both the theoretical and practical point of view. Secondary objectives are the recognition, understanding and cataloguing of archaeological sites, in order to protect, preserve and valorise them. Students will be guided in acquiring the necessary skills for decoding ancient signs in the modern landscape, from both the regional and urban point of view. The conscious acquisition of traditional sources of ancient topography will be supplemented by skills related to the broad spectrum of new methods in topographical research, borrowed from scientific and technical disciplines. Finally, students will be required to demonstrate their ability to compare data gathered for each site to the traces on the ground.
Course contents summary
Course title: Reading the land: Instruments, objectives and methods of contemporary topographical research. The professional figure of topographer: humanistic and technical skills. Data collecting, processing and editing: surface surveying, cartographic bases and operating systems. The ancient landscape: settlement programs, agricultural land divisions, water management, district road network and infrastructural rationalisation as factors of development and territorial control. The contribution of topographical documentation for knowledgeable environmental management: the map of archaeological risk.
L. Quilici, S. Quilici Gigli, Introduzione alla topografia antica, Bologna 2004.
The teaching method used is tailored to the specific requirements of the discipline, involving communication of the main course contents through traditional classroom lectures and illustration of the most common instruments used through practical applications of them. The study material, which frequently consists of digitalised mapping and GIS systems, requires the constant use of computer equipment that can immediately display the contents being examined. The topographical application of the new methods also requires the organisation of periodic guided exercises to ensure the necessary level of familiarity with the instruments used. The assessment method includes an oral test of students’ familiarity with the course content, along with a practical exercise in applying methods in use.