Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VEiL (Visualising Engineered Landscapes: an archaeological approach to unlock environmental resilience and sustainability in antiquity)
Reporting period: 2015-07-20 to 2017-07-19
OB1. identify the land system components and their long-term endurance in the landscape or document their obliteration over the course of subsequent territorial transformations;
OB2. hypothesise the pressures responsible for altering through time land division elements and for obliterating them or, contrariwise, the reasons for the persistence of others; discover why the pressures impacted only portions of the territory and how the partition axes degraded;
OB3. realise the land division relationship with the primeval landscape and investigate how the original land environmental features may have determined the design of the planned grid;
OB4. analyse the elements that ensured the functioning of the land division system as seen as a complex infrastructure that aimed to optimise the settlement of colonists and the movement of goods and people;
OB5. enhance and customise the application of diverse fields of Computer vision for automated data collection, analysis, and management.
The project outcomes concurred to better understand the approach used by ancient land commissioners in assessing the ecosystem prior to tackling land engineering; established the cadastre module deployed at the case study area; illuminated the mechanism of survival or obliteration of cadastre components; and improved automated mapping of cultural landscape patterns and features.
VEiL trialled the identification of land division components employing a combination of automated detection of centurial elements (through pattern recognition procedures) with their visual detection and manual mapping. Identified cadastre features were then analysed to produce a theoretical centuriation model: the study employed geospatial tools to test the hypothetical cadastre modules, and refine the grid in areas of poor or non-existent evidence. Geo-morphological datasets, historical maps and hypothetical repetitive components were used in support. The achieved model was then tested through ground-truthing activities aimed at ascertaining its integrity.
Ground verification activities were undertaken with rigorous field mapping via field data recording technologies. Ground-truthing included both field survey and field-walking activities aiming at verifying features identified through remote sensing; ascertaining the presence of topographic/archaeological features in proximity of void areas of the hypothetic land division schema; verifying the presence of visible pottery scatters and mapping their density distribution and their variability.
As a result, the project enabled to identify, map and document the visible cadastre components that align to the orientation set for Aquileia from ancient surveyors. The analyses elucidated the type of the pressures responsible for altering –at a later stage– land division elements, thus illuminating the process of cadastre components’ degradation, as well as the phenomena at the basis of the persistence of other components. The research also enabled to verify the rationale underpinning the choice of the cadastre orientation.
The project, its activities and its accomplishments have been largely publicised across the project life span using crafted communication strategies aimed at making contact with the broadest possible audience, and targeting both the scientific and the broader community.
A project website was created to provide content and logistic information, suitable for both academic and general public. To exploit the communication power of social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (plus a personal account of LinkedIn) accounts have been generated and managed. Outreach activities entailed the participation of the MC Fellow in initiatives such as visits to schools as MC Ambassador and training of young students through hands-on workshops, participation as speaker to Info-Day dedicated to the H2020 and Marie Curie Actions organised by Ca’ Foscari University and to the European Researchers Nights. Scientific dissemination has been pursued mainly via participation to major international conferences, through organisation of sessions, seminars and workshops, through provision of masterclasses and through submission of articles to international high IF peer-review journals and conference Proceedings.