Centuriated Landscapes in Italy and the Iberian Peninsula


Reale Istituto Neelandese di Roma
Via Omero 12

Data evento
28 Giugno 2022 - 29 Giugno 2022

The phenomenon of centuriation played a crucial role in Rome’s imperialistic expansion. These large-scale land division systems drained and parceled out the lands conquered by Rome, and transformed thousands of square kilometers throughout the Mediterranean into rationally ordered, agricultural landscapes. As such, they are considered one of the most powerful symbols of Rome´s triumph over indigenous peoples, and nature itself.

On closer inspection, however, many questions regarding the function and historical context of centuriations remain unanswered. This is largely the result of a persistent scholarly focus on the reconstruction of these systems; this rightly highlights the massive scale of centuriations and their role in the evolution of cultural landscapes, but tells us little about their chronology and impact on settlement and land use. Moreover, few attempts have been made to draw together the evidence from the many regional reconstructions into a broader synthetic framework.

Several methodological innovations (e.g., GIS applications, remote sensing techniques, geo-archaeological work, field survey, excavations and environmental studies) contribute to advance the study of centuriated landscapes. In various contexts, scholars now combine the morphological reconstruction of centuriations with the archaeological study of their physical remains (roads, ditches) and associated settlements. Such more integrated approaches may provide important new insights into the context in which centuriations were laid out and the actual impact they had on, amongst others,  environment, settlement and economy.

This workshop seeks to bring together some of the leading research groups working on centuriated landscapes in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Its aim is twofold: first, to exchange ideas by comparing methodologies and approaches of these different groups and reviewing the historical insights they have generated; and second, to establish a common research agenda and explore possibilities for future collaborations between different research groups. To this end, the first day will present a series of papers highlighting recent work on centuriations in Italy and the Iberian peninsula by the various research teams; this is followed on day 2 by two keynotes that forms the starting point for a roundtable discussion to establish a common research agenda and discuss potential collaborations.

A two-day workshop held at the KNIR, 28-29 June 2022, organised by Anita Casarotto, Tymon de Haas & Tesse Stek, with the generous support of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the KNIR.