Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 8, No 1 (1995)

The Dynamics of Modern Land Use and the Acconia Survey

Albert J. Ammerman
Issued Date: 28 Jan 2008

Abstract


At a time when surface visibility is one of the key issues for archaeological surveys in the Mediterranean world, it is of interest to look more closely at the character of modern land use. In this case study of the Acconia area in southern Italy, the mapping of land use on a field-by-field basis was carried out in two different years (1980 and 1989). As part of the analysis, use is made of a transition matrix to summarize the patterns of continuity and change in the exploitation of fields between the two dates. The longitudinal study of land use at Acconia reveals the growing importance of groves of fruit trees at the expense of other forms of land use. The installation of a new grove commonly involves sub-surface intervention (the levelling of the ground, the digging of holes for planting the trees, the excavation of trenches for the irrigation system) which increases the chances that archaeological material at a buried site will be brought to the land surface, thus making it possible for the survey to discover a new site. In retrospect, much of the success of the Acconia Survey in recovering a dense pattern of Neolithic settlement is now to be linked with the dynamics of modern land use. In a final section, some of the broader implications of the case study for survey work in the Mediterranean are discussed briefly.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v8i1.77

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