The Landscape Archaeology of Southwest Sardinia Project

The Landscape Archaeology of Southwest Sardinia Project (LASS) is a multi-disciplinary landscape project whose primary aim is to assess how episodic integration and disintegration drove sociocultural and socioeconomic change in Southwest Sardinia over the long-term.

The low hills and small valleys between the Sulcis Mountains and the Gulf of Sant’Antioco (a patchwork landscape of schist, granites, and karst, possessing fertile valleys as well as varied mineral resources) have presented a rich and diverse landscape for human exploitation for millennia. Repeatedly incorporated into and then disarticulated from bigger political and economic structures (from Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Mediterranean systems, via the empires of Carthage and Rome, to the Byzantine reconquest and union with Spain and then Italian states), this region of Southwest Sardinia provides an ideal context in which to study both local socio-economic development and the influence of larger political entities on local economic practices and social organization

More particularly, we seek to understand how the Nuragic emergence and Late Punic decline of the important central site of Pani Loriga affected rural organization and systems of extraction sensu lato. Our perspective – whether dealing with Neolithic mortuary sites, Roman farmsteads, or 19th century mining railroads – is ecodynamic and comparative, striving to situate human-environment interactions in this small corner of the Mediterranean within wider contexts of understanding and interpretation.

As a regional landscape project, LASS employs a range of surface survey methodologies (remote sensing, pedestrian survey, geospatial analysis, diachronic site-level documentation), as well as a range of material culture studies methods (typo-chronological attribution, as well as petrographic and geo-chemical characterization). 

LASS is directed by Dr. Elizabeth A. Murphy (Dept. of Classics, Florida State University), Dr. Thomas P. Leppard (Dept. of Anthropology, Florida State University), and Dr. Andrea Roppa (Università degli Studi di Padova). LASS works in association with the Archaeological Mission of Pani Loriga, directed by Dr. Massimo Botto (Primo Ricercatore at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo and LASS Senior Research Advisor), in collaboration with the Museo Civico Archeologico di Santadi, and under the permission of the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo of Italy. LASS is an international project with research staff representing more than five nationalities and seven academic institutions.

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