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CODE 106580
SEMESTER 2° Semester


This course focuses on the theoretical, methodological and historiographical development of postmedieval and rural archaeologies as autonomous disciplines in different European countries. These archaeologies aim at the recognition of the relationships between the transformations of the environmental resources management (whose traces can be traced both inside and outside the archaeological site), the changes of local societies and the settlement dynamics.

Particular attention will be paid to the dialogue between disciplines -necessary in the study of the most recent past-, as well as the confrontation between research approaches and methodologies, particularly to those debates related to the construction of historical archaeology.



This course aims at the education in the critical reading, comprehension and interpretation of the archaeological record for the analysis of the Modern and Contemporary Eras, introducing the history of the discipline and the main lines of research (urban archaeology, colonial and conflict archaeology, mountain archaeology, rural and agrarian archaeology, new materialisms, etc.), and confronting the Italian case versus other European examples with particular attention to the theoretical and methodological approach. Approaches and methods regarding the study of the rural space will be tackled in order to give the tools to read the current rural landscapes with an historical perspective.


The course will build a narrative around postmedieval archaeology considering all those research approaches which aims at reconstructing the history of recent societies through their material traces altogether with the confrontation not only with the problem of the density of the archaeological traces, but also the question of the availability of other historical sources (documentary, cartographical, iconographical, etc.) or living memories (oral sources, animal and vegetal environments). Thus the course will pay particular attention to the dialogue with different disciplines (from anthropology and sociology to historical geography and natural sciences) and the analysis of rural spaces. Traces of the agrarian organization are actually richer as historical sources, becoming visible and traceable when assuming the possibility of studying the more recent historical periods from a regressive perspective from the present.

This course will delve into the diverse archaeological approaches departing for these ideas, proposing these main aims:

- Historiographical enquiry of the different research approaches which have contributed, in the different European countries, to the definition of postmedieval archaeology as an autonomous discipline, and of those theoretical and methodological approaches which focuses on the Modern and Contemporary past.

- Building of the theoretical and methodological tools to critically confront the interdisciplinary dialogue and the problem of the equilibrium of the sources through the debates and dialectics of historical archaeology and the construction and experimentation of the archaeology of the present and the contemporary past.

- Understanding of the historical relationships among ecofacts, manufactures and faunal ecologies (including discussions on the concept of heritage; e.g. decolonization and deurbanization). Through different specific examples from Italian and European contexts, this course will present and discuss the instruments and methods of rural archaeology, i.e. the analysis which aims to the archaeological study of the environmental resources and the understanding of how resources are controlled, produced and reproduced in past societies through specific agrarian, pastoral and silvicultural systems based on empirical agronomy and technical knowledge. A rural archaeology that aims at the identification of the relationships between the transformation of the environmental resource management, the transformation of local societies and the dynamics of the settlement.

At the end of the course students will acquire knowledge of the theories, concepts and historiographical methods of the main approaches of the archaeological analysis of modern and contemporary societies. They will be able to critically confront the immense amount of bibliography on the topic and the dialogues and debates among methodologies of research that use different sources as well as will have the instruments for the critical analyses of the studies carried out on the history of rural landscapes and societies.


There are no prior requirements.

This course aims to those students interested on the development of recent archaeology and the analyses of rural spaces.


This course is seminar-based using presentations and eventual audiovisual support. Assistance is highly recommended. Lessons will be held only in presence.

Fieldwork lessons, visits and museum experiences are expected.

During the course it is scheduled the critical reading and debate of documents and texts. Written exercises in class or at home will be organized, which will be used as course landmarks. Based on the bibliographical references, students will have the opportunity to build an individual study plan.

Part of the materials will be available in AulaWeb.


This course's contents revolves around some key issues: the main topics and approaches of post-medieval archaeology; theoretical and methodological approaches of historical archaeology; the problem of density of the recent traces and the interdisciplinary approaches of rural archaeology.

Starting from these contents, this course will present different approaches regarding the following topics: postmedieval archaeology in Italy and the European experience; historiographical issues and research experiences; historical archaeology and the interdisciplinary dialogue through materiality; the archaeology of the present and the contemporary past; the development of rural archaeology; spaces, landscapes, objects and heritage processes; study cases; the concept of heritage and the decolonial perspective (and deurbanization); development, rationalization, modernization and the history of Modern and Contemporary society.


The recommended texts will be made available to students (available in the library or in pdf format on Aulaweb).

The list of texts may be subject to change. Therefore, it's strongly recommended to delay their purchase or loan until after the start of the lectures and the presentation of the programme by the lecturer.

During the introductory lessons, the texts to be read and commented on and the topics explored in-depth during the year will be discussed and agreed upon, to be chosen from among those listed below.

1.1. History of Postmedieval archaeology in Italy: texts

M. Quaini, D. Moreno (a cura di), Geografie del popolamento, «Quaderni Storici», 31, 1973, pp. 5-201.

Archeologia Medievale 1974, Editoriale, «Archeologia Medievale», I, pp. 3-5.

Manacorda D. (a cura di) 1984, Un «mondezzaro» del XVIII secolo. Lo scavo dell’ambiente 63 del Conservatorio di Santa Caterina della Rosa (Archeologia urbana a Roma: il progetto della Crypta Balbi, 2), Firenze.

Mannoni T. 1994, Venticinque anni di archeologia globale 1. Archeologia dell’urbanistica, Genova.

Milanese M. (a cura di), 1997, Archeologia postmedievale: l’esperienza europea e l’Italia, in «Archeologia Postme- dievale», 1, pp. 11-250.

Grendi E. 2000, Intervento di E. Grendi, «Archeologia Postmedievale», 4, pp. 11-12.

Milanese M. 2014, Dall’archeologia postclassica all’archeologia postmedievale. Temi e problemi, vecchie e nuove tendenze, S. Gelichi (a cura di), Quarant’anni di Archeologia Medievale in Italia, Numero Speciale al numero XL di «Archeologia Medievale», pp. 41-49.

1.2 Postmedieval archaeology: the Italian experience at debate

S. Gelichi, M. Librenti (a cura di), Constructing Post-medieval Archaeology in Italy: a new agenda (Venice, 24th and 25th November 2006), Firenze

Numeri a scelta della rivista "Archeologia Postmedievale" (1997- ad oggi), All'Insegna del Giglio

1.3 Archaeology of the Present and the Contemporary Past

Buchli, V., & Lucas, G. (eds., 2001) Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past, Routledge

McAtackney L., Ryzewski, K., 2017, Contemporary Archaeology and the City: Creativity, Ruination, and Political Action, Oxford.

Pisoni, L., 2018: Il bagaglio intimo, gli oggetti dei migranti verso l’Europa. Milano: Meltemi.

1.3 Historical archaeology

Andrén A. 1998, Between Artifacts and Texts. Historical Archaeology in Global Perspective, New York.

Matthews, Christopher N. (2002), An archaeology of history and tradition , New York.

Leone M. (a cura di) 2015, Historical Archaeologies of Capitalism, Londra-New York.

Mehler N. 2012 Written Sources in Post-Medieval Archaeology and the Art of Asking the Right Questions, in Post-medieval Studies, 4:11-24.

2.1 Rural archeology: a little bit of history

Quaini M. (a cura di) 1971, Un approccio interdisciplinare allo studio delle sedi abbandonate in Liguria, Genova.

Quaini M. 1972, Prima riunione informativa sulla storia dell’in- sediamento medievale in Italia (Scarperia, 1-2 luglio 1972), «Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia», 26, pp. 563-565.

Quaini M., Moreno D. (a cura di) 1973, Archeologia e Geografia del Popolamento, «Quaderni Storici», 24.

Moreno D., Piussi P., Rackham O. (a cura di) 1982, Boschi: storia e archeologia, «Quaderni Storici», 49

Moreno D. (a cura di) 1986, Boschi: storia e archeologia 2, «Quaderni Storici», 62, pp. 435-536.

Moreno D., Raggio O. (a cura di) 1992, Risorse collettive, «Quaderni Storici», 79, pp. 613-924.

Ingold, Tim (1993), «The temporality of the landscape», World Archaeology , 25 (2), pp. 152-174.

Mannoni T. 1994, Venticinque anni di archeologia globale 1. Archeologia dell'Urbanistica, Genova.

Mannoni T. 1996, Venticinque anni di archeologia globale 3. Caratteri costruttivi dell’edilizia storica, Genova.

Maggi R., Montanari C., Moreno D. (a cura di) 2002, Atti del Seminario Internazionale “L’approccio storico ambientale al patrimonio rurale delle aree protette”, «Archeologia Postmedievale», 6, pp. 9-214

Milanese M., Baldassarri M. (a cura di) 2004, Il castello e l’uliveto, San Giovanni Valdarno.

Cevasco, R., 2007: Memoria verde: un nuovo spazio per la geografia, Reggio Emilia: Diabasis.

Viader R., Rendu C. (dir.) 2014, Cultures temporaires et féodalité. Les rotations culturales et l’appropriation du sol dans l’Europe médiévale et moderne, Toulouse.

Anna Maria Stagno, Gli spazi dell'archeologia rurale. Risorse ambientali e insediamenti dell'Appennino Ligure (XV-XXI secolo), All'Insegna del Giglio, Firenze, 2018.

I.D. Rotherham, M. Jones, C. Handley (eds.), Working and Walking in the Footsteps of Ghosts. Vol. 1, The Wooded Landscape, Sheffield

2.2 Space, Landscape, Objects and the heritage process

Rotherham I.D. (eds.) 2013, Cultural Severance and the Envi- ronment. The Ending of Traditional and Customary Practice on Commons and Landscapes Managed in Common, Dordrecht.

Agnoletti M. (ed.) 2013, Italian historical rural landscapes. Cultural values for the environment and rural development, Dordrecht.

2.3. Heritage: decolonization and deurbanization

Fraser, N. (2000) Rethinking Recognition, New Left Review, 3(May/June), pp.  107–120.

De la Cadena, M. & Blaser, M. (eds., 2018) A World of Many Worlds, Duke University Press.

Harrison, R. (2013) Heritage: Critical Approaches, Routledge

Lafrenz Samuels, K. (2018) Mobilizing Heritage: Anthropological Practice and Transnational Prospects, University Press of Florida

Field, L., Gnecco, C., and Watkins, J. (eds, 2016) Challenging the Dichotomy: The licit and illicit in archaeological and heritage discourses, The University of Arizona Press;

Harrison et al (eds.) 2020, Heritage futures: Comparative approaches to natural and cultural heritage practices. approaches to natural and cultural heritage practices.UCL Press.

3. Case studies and studies of cases: development and modernization

Scott, James C. (1998), Seeing like a state: how certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed, New Haven.

Tarlow S. 2007, The Archaeology of Improvement in Britain, 1750-1850, Londra.


General texts

Sigaut F. 1975, L’agriculture et le feu rôle et place du feu dans les techniques de préparation du champ de l’ancienne agriculture européenne, Paris.

Poni C. 1982, Fossi e cavedagne benedicon le campagne. Studi di storia rurale, Bologna.

Grendi E., 2000a, Storia della società e del manufatto urbano: riflessioni di un incompetente, in P. Lanaro, P. Marini, G.M. Varanini (a cura di), Edilizia privata nella Verona rinascimen- tale, Milano, pp.14-22.

M. Ambrosoli, F. Bianco (a cura di), Comunità e questioni di confini in Italia settentrionale (XVI-XIX sec.), Milano,

Cazzola F. 2014, Contadini e agricoltura in Europa nella prima età moderna (1450 1650), Milano.

Torre, A., 2011, Luoghi. La produzione di località in età moderna e contemporanea, Roma: Donzelli editore.

Ulteriori indicazioni bibliografiche e materiali relativi a ricerche e casi discussi saranno forniti a lezione e, quando possibile, caricati in Aulaweb.


Exam Board



FABIO NEGRINO (Substitute)




Lessons will begin on Monday 13 February 2023

Class schedule

L'orario di tutti gli insegnamenti è consultabile all'indirizzo EasyAcademy.



Exam will be oral. Written excercises and texts on particular case studies or critical readings are expected. Written excirses are not compulsory and have temporal validity during the academic year.


The oral examination and the discussion of the in-progress written exercises will verify the achievement of the learning outcomes. The main assessment parameters are the mastery of the topics covered, the quality of the exposition and vocabulary used, both in the oral communication and in the written tests, and the capacity for critical and comparative reasoning.


Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
12/05/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
05/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
20/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
14/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
15/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale