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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.



Aim of the course is training students to read, understand and interpret critically the archaeological sources for the study of the centuries of the modern and contemporary age, introducing the history of the discipline to the main research fields (urban archeology, colonial and conflict archeology, archeology montana, agrarian and rural archeology, new materialisms, etc.) Comparing the Italian case and other European cases and with particular attention to the theoretical-methodological perspectives of historical archeology. Approaches and methods of the study of rural spaces will be explored to provide the tools to read current rural landscapes with a 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 and the specific lexicon related to the addressed topics and themes. 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: p

Historiographical questions and research theory

- Debates, paths and the first development of postmedieval archaeology in Italy and Europe

- Historical archaeology the interdisciplinary dialogue starting from materiality (equipollence and critical analysis of historical sources)

Rural archaeology

- spaces, landscapes, and objects: methods of investigation and markers

- the relatioships between settled and unsettled spaces: research strategies

- the concept of heritage and heritagisation processes (between decolonialism and de-urbanisation)

Postmedieval archaeology

- archaeology of conflicts

- ports and cities

- production, manufactures and industrialisation

- archaeology of the present and of the contemporary past

- global networks and objects between post-colonialism and decolonialism

- improvments and modernisations

The programme is the same of all the students. Students who will not attend lessons will discuss and agree with the lecturer an individual list of papers and books.



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.

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

Via UniGe account, Jstor provide the free occess to the journals “Quadernistorici” and “World Archaology”; the journals “European Journal of Postclassical Archaeology” e “Il Capitale culturale. Studies on the value of cultural heritage” are open access on the webpage of the publisher. The list of contents of the journal “Archeologia postmedievale” is available on the publisher website, while the journals are available on the Humanities library and at LASA.

1. Historiographical question and research theory

1.1. Debates, paths and the first development of postmedieval archaeology in Italy and Europe

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.

Milanese M., 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», 2014, pp. 41-49.

1.2. Historical archaeology the interdisciplinary dialogue starting from materiality (equipollence and critical analysis of historical sources)

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

Grendi E., 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, 2000, pp.14-22.

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

Rathje, W.L.; Murphy, C. Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage, Tucson, 2001.

2. Rural archaeology

2.1. Spaces, landscapes, and objects: methods of investigation and markers

Ingold, Tim, The temporality of the landscape, “World Archaeology” , 25 (2), pp. 152-174.

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

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

2.2. The relatioships between settled and unsettled spaces: research strategies

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

2.3 The concept of heritage and heritagisation processes (between decolonialism and de-urbanisation)

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

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

3. Postmedieval archaeology

3.1. Postmedieval arcaheology comparing Italian and European experiences

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

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

Numeri a scelta della rivista "Archeologia Postmedievale" (1997- ad oggi), All'Insegna del Giglio e della rivista “European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies”, in accesso aperto

3.2. The themes of postmedieval archaeology

-. archaeology of conflicts: Special issues of the journal “Archeologia Postmedievale”

- ports and cities ( urban and underwater archaeologies): Special issues of the journal “Archeologia Postmedievale”; Manacorda D. (a cura di), Archeologia urbana a Roma: il progetto della Crypta Balbi, Firenze (vari anni 1984-1986), and precisely: Un «mondezzaro» del XVIII secolo. Lo scavo dell’ambiente 63 del Conservatorio di Santa Caterina della Rosa.

- production, manufactures and industrialisation, T. Mannoni, E. Giannichedda, Archeologia della produzione, Torino, 1996 (molte riedizioni); e testi suggeriti a lezione

- archaeology of the present and of the contemporary past: Giuliano De Felice, Archeologie del contemporaneo. Paesaggi, oggetti, contesti, Carocci, 2023; Special issue on “Archeologia Postmedievale” 25, 2021.

- global networks and objects between post-colonialism and decolonialism: C. Godsen, Y. Marshall, The Cultural Biography of Objects, "World Archaeology", 31-2 (1999), pp. 169-324 (diversi articoli); Corinne L. Hofman Floris W.M. Keehnen (eds.), Material Encounters and Indigenous Transformations in the Early Colonial Americas Archaeological Case Studies, 2019 (in accesso aperto

- improvments and modernisations James C. Scott, Seeing like a state: how certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed, New Haven, 1998; Tarlow S., The Archaeology of Improvement in Britain, 1750-1850, Londra, 2007.

Further bibliographical suggestions and materials related to research and case studies discussed during lessons, will be provided in paper and when possible uploaded on Aulaweb.


Other supplementary texts

1. Historiographical question and research theory

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.

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

2. Rural archaeology, historical ecology and rural history

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.

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.

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.

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



Exam Board






FABIO NEGRINO (Substitute)




Lessons will start on Wednesday 4 October 2023

Class schedule

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



Exam will be oral. Written exercises and texts on case studies or critical readings are expected. Written excises will contribute to the final evaluation, but 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
22/12/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
17/01/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale
14/02/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale
06/05/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale appello riservato a eventuali laureandi della sessione estiva
27/05/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale
14/06/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale
05/07/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale
05/09/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Responbile consumption and production
Responbile consumption and production
Life on land
Life on land