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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:

Postmedieval Archaeology

- 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.

Rural archaeology

- 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.

Students from History and those who attend Rural Archaeology as an integration of "Landscape Archaeology" 9CFU, at the end of the course will control the tools for a critical analysis of the studies carried out on the history of rural societies and landscapes and to carry out autonomous observation of rural and landscape archaeology.


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

Postmedieval Archaeology

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)

Topics in 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

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)

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. Postmedieval Archaeology

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

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.

Anna Maria Stagno, Marco Milanese, The archaeology of the contemporary past and rural archaeology: debates around 19th and 21st centuries and the current state of Italian post-medieval archaeology, in  Claudia Theune, Barbara Hausmair, Christina Schmid (eds.), The Historical Archaeology of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Wien 2024, pp. 136-145.

 Anna Maria Stagno, Archeologia rurale. Uno statuto debole, in G. Volpe, P. Favia (a cura di), V Congresso nazionale di archeologia medievale (Foggia 2009), Firenze, 2009, pp. 20-25.

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.

The themes of postmedieval archaeology

It is necessary to choose two or three topics (also in section "Interdisciplinary intersection of rural archaeology). When many texts are indicated, they should be agreed with the lecturer.

Archaeology of conflicts

Marco Milanese (a cura di), Conflict Archaeology. Archeologia delle frontiere e delle fortificazioni d’Età Moderna, "Archeologia Postmedievale" 13, 2009, pp. 10–228; Marco Milanese (a cura di), Landscapes of Conflicts e archeologia dei luoghi degli scontri, "Archeologia Postmedievale" 14, 2010, pp. 10–110; Marco Milanese (ed.), The archaeology of the First World War. Research background, projects and case studies, "Archeologia Postmedievale" 22, 2018, pp. 11–130; numerosi contributi in Claudia Theune, Barbara Hausmair, Christina Schmid (eds.), The Historical Archaeology of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Wien 2024.

Ports, harbours and cities ( urban and underwater archaeologies)

Numeri monografici della rivista “Archeologia Postmedievale”; Manacorda D. (a cura di), Archeologia urbana a Roma: il progetto della Crypta Balbi, Firenze (vari anni 1984-1986), in particolare: Un «mondezzaro» del XVIII secolo. Lo scavo dell’ambiente 63 del Conservatorio di Santa Caterina della Rosa.

Production, manufactures, industrialisation and industrial archaeology

T. Mannoni, E. Giannichedda, Archeologia della produzione, Torino, 1996 (molte riedizioni); A. Ciuffetti, R. Parisi (a cura di) L’Archeologia Industriale in Italia. Storie e storiografia (1978-2008), Milano, 2012 (in particolare Introduzione e pp. 111-129);  Sezione Archeologia industriale nel volume Claudia Theune, Barbara Hausmair, Christina Schmid (eds.), The Historical Archaeology of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Wien 2024;  Alessandro Panetta, Questa specie di folkorismo industriale strapaese. La lavorazione dell’esca e la modernizzazione nell’Appennino ligure fra XIX e XX secolo, in Carlos Tejerizo García, Anna Maria Stagno (eds.), Contemporary Archaeology, politics of memory and local communities: a tricky mixture?, "Archeologia Postmedievale" 27, 2023, pp. 123-134,  doi 10.36153/apm2708

Archaeology of the present and of the contemporary past

Carlos Tejerizo García, Anna Maria Stagno (eds.), Contemporary Archaeology, politics of memory and local communities: a tricky mixture?, "Archeologia Postmedievale" 27, 2023; Giuliano De Felice, Archeologie del contemporaneo. Paesaggi, oggetti, contesti, Carocci, 2023; Giuliano Volpe, Giuliano De Felice  (a cura di), Scavare il presente: Come l’archeologia può indagare l’Età Moderna e Contemporanea, “Archeologia Postmedievale” 25, 2021; Rathje, W.L.; Murphy, C. Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage, Tucson, 2001.

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.

Chris Dalglish, Rural Society in the Age of Reason: An Archaeology of the Emergence of Modern Life in the Southern Scottish Highlands, Plenum/Kluwer, New York, 2003.

Mientjes Anton C., Pluciennik Mark, Giannitrapani Enrico, Archaeologies of Recent Rural Sicily and Sardinia: A Comparative Approach, « Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology » n°15 (2), 139–166.

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

Edoardo Grendi, Intervento di E. Grendi, «Archeologia Postmedievale», 4, 2000, pp. 11-12; Edoardo Grendi, 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; Andrés Andrén, Between Artifacts and Texts. Historical Archaeology in Global Perspective, New York, 1998.

Other possible themes, to be selected among the special issues of two Italian journals devoted to postmedieval researches

 "Archeologia Postmedievale" (1997- ad oggi), All'Insegna del Giglio

“European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies”, SAP, Società Archeologica Lombarda.


2. Rural archaeology

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

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

Anna Maria Stagno, Dalla “edilizia diffusa “ ai paesaggi rurali di interesse storico: il contributo dell'archeologia rurale, in Valentina Moneta, Claudia Parola (a cura di), Oltre la rinaturalizzazione. Studi di ecologia storica per la riqualificazione dei paesaggi rurali, Sestri Levante, 2014, pp. 62-84.

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.

Rual archaeology and rural history (a selection of texts should be agreed with the lecturer)

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

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

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

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

Mauro Ambrosoli, Furio Bianco (a cura di), Comunità e questioni di confini in Italia settentrionale (XVI-XIX sec.), Milano, 2007.

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

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

Osvaldo Raggio, Faide e parentele. Lo stato genovese visto dalla Fontanabuona, Bologna, 1990 (ristampa Genova, 2024).


Interdisciplinary intersection of rural archaeology

Please choose one of two topics (where many texts are suggested, they should be agreed with the lecturer).

Rural archaeology and historical ecology

Roberta Cevasco, Memoria verde: nuovi spazi per la geografia, Reggio Emilia: Diabasis, 2007.

Diego Moreno, Dal documento al terreno. Storia e archeologia dei sistemi agro-silvo-pastorali, Bologna, 1990.

Diego Moreno, Piero Piussi, Oliver Rackham (a cura di), Boschi: storia e archeologia, «Quaderni Storici», 49, 1982.

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

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

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

Historical rural landscapes: environmental and cultural heritage

Rotherham Ian D. (ed.), Cultural Severance and the Environment. The Ending of Traditional and Customary Practice on Commons and Landscapes Managed in Common, Dordrecht, 2013.

Ian D. Rotherham, Melvine Jones, Christine Handley (eds.), Working and Walking in the Footsteps of Ghosts. Vol. 1, The Wooded Landscape, Sheffield, 2012.

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

At the very beginning of rural archaeology

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

Massimo Quaini, Diego Moreno (a cura di), Cultura materiale, «Quaderni Storici», 34, 1976, pp. 5-201.

Tiziano Mannoni, Venticinque anni di archeologia globale 3. Caratteri costruttivi dell’edilizia storica, Genova, 1996.

Tiziano Mannoni, Venticinque anni di archeologia globale 1. Archeologia dell’urbanistica, Genova, 1994.





Lessons will start during the week starting with Monday 17 February 2025

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale 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.


Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Gender equality
Gender equality
Reduce inequality
Reduce inequality
Sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable cities and communities
Responbile consumption and production
Responbile consumption and production
Life on land
Life on land
Peace, justice and strong institutions
Peace, justice and strong institutions