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Archaeology of the European Medieval Earthquakes
(AD 1000 - 1550)


Historical seismic catalogues such as SHARE (Seismic Hazard Harmonization in Europe) and AHEAD (European Archive of Historical Earthquakes Data 1000-1899) play a significant role in hazard mitigation across the European Union. These EU-funded projects are based mainly on documentary surveys but the archaeological verification for seismic activity remains under-researched. The aim of ArMedEa is to develop the analysis of the physical impacts of earthquakes, tsunamis and landslide seismic-induced events during the later Middle Ages (defined here as 1000-1550 AD). This will be achieved at a European scale, adopting a specifically archaeological approach to collate and integrate information from a wide range of sources including standing buildings, buried stratigraphical sequences and palaeoenvironmental data. This differs from current perspectives which tend to be driven largely from an earth science perspective.
The main objectives of the project are: (a) the development of a geographical database for seismic events in the Middle Ages drawing on existing catalogues and untapped ‘grey literature’; (b) the investigation of a sample of well-documented episodes using a combination of remote sensing and fieldwork, and; (c) to understand the ‘risk-sensitive tactics’ adopted by medieval societies in different regions, such as their resilience and hazard reduction strategies. The project will create online outputs such as an archaeoseismic database and the first historic risk map for the Middle Ages, as well as summary reports evaluating case-studies, mitigation strategies and the economic and cultural effects of earthquakes in different cultural contexts.
This innovative research will be developed at the Department of Archaeology and the IHRR (Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience) at the University of Durham, establishing a wide-ranging of national and international collaborations and a strong network of research contacts for the applicant.

Call for proposal

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Stockton Road The Palatine Centre
DH1 3LE Durham
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Wendy Harle (Ms.)
EU contribution
€ 221 606,40