Imagining Calabria - A GIS approach to Neolithic landscapes: PhD thesis, University of Southampton (2003)

D Van Hove, 2005

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Dr D Van Hove
CNRS 6575 Laboratoire Archéologie et Territoires
Université de Tours
Angel House
Portland Square
DE45 1HB

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D Van Hove (2005) Imagining Calabria - A GIS approach to Neolithic landscapes: PhD thesis, University of Southampton (2003) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]


Over recent years, human land use has been increasingly studied within the archaeological discipline. This is because it forms a particular expression of the complex and reciprocal relationship between people and environment, and can therefore be considered a crucial part in how groups categorise and “construct” cultural landscapes. Such research contributes an essential part to the understanding of past human behaviour.

This doctoral research reinterprets off-site Neolithic land use within southern Calabria (Italy), through synchronic and diachronic GIS approaches. By examining the consequences of the implementation of a range of economic strategies through space and time, land use patterns of daily activity become the backdrop for an imagination of Calabrian Neolithic society on a wider scale. This articulates with a much-needed critique of existing functionalist and spatially limited socio-cultural models.

By paying close attention to the environmental and biological requirements within economic strategies, a world of Neolithic land use is presented, which is less agriculturally determined than traditionally assumed. By playing out the implications of small-scale actions over larger spatial and temporal scales, an alternative way of life is suggested for Neolithic Calabria. As extrapolated from the resulting economic patterns, the concepts of agency and taskscape become key for the construction of Neolithic social landscapes.

This novel view presents a hypothetical reconstruction of the past and indicates the need for a thorough reassessment of Italian Neolithic land use data and research methods. It demonstrates the usefulness of alternative imaginations of economic land use in previously unexplored territories for the archaeological discipline in general.

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