ARCHEOLOGICAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The primary objective of the course is to communicate the main tools and methods of modern topographical inquiry, 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 signs of the ancient landscape in the modern, 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 fit data gathered for each site with the traces on the ground.
Knowledge of the main characteristics of ancient Greek and Roman civilisations is a recommended attendance requirement. In particular, students should have a firm grasp of the historical and institutional aspects of the classical world, familiarity with ancient Greek and Latin language and literary cultures, knowledge of the fundamental contents and tools of traditional archaeological inquiry, from settlement culture to epigraphic, numismatic and material production, to the figurative tradition within the context of ancient Greece and Rome.
Course contents summary
Course title: Urban and regional form.
The course is in two modules, divided as follows:
Module A (5 learning credits): The rationalisation of landscape: agricultural land divisions, water management and district road network as factors in regional development and control.
Module B (5 learning credits): The shaping and promotion of the city as a coefficient of socio-political aggregation and civic identity: definition of land use, organisation of infrastructure, functional siting of complexes, locations, routes, intended uses and urban furniture.
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 their practical application. 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.