Towards an Integrated Database for the Study of Long-term Settlement Dynamics, Economic Performance and Demography in the Pontine Region and the Hinterland of Rome

Peter Attema, Tymon de Haas, Gijs Tol, Jorn Seubers

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For over 30 years, the Pontine Region Project (PRP) has carried out intensive archaeological artefact surveys in the Pontine region, a coastal landscape south of Rome (fig. 1). These surveys have resulted in a database holding site and ceramic data that derive from all the different landscape zones of this region, which include a coastal ridge, inland plain, volcanic hills, river valleys, foothills and surrounding mountain range. The PRP database structure is aimed at the aggregate and comparative analysis of rural settlement patterns across these different landscape zones in space and time, and to reconstruct economic and demographic trends on the local and regional scales from protohistory into the medieval period.
In the first part of this article we will give an overview of the challenges involved
in creating this overarching project database, and present recent work done on the Pontine Region Project and its database as well as longitudinal socio-economic and demographic studies of the Pontine landscape and past populations to illustrate the analytical potential of data integration. So far, we have carried out a restricted number of quantified socio-economic case studies of specific landscapes within the Pontine Region and are working towards truly comparative analyses on the regional scale of the Pontine landscape based on the Pontine data. Moreover, we will outline an objective for the future: to incorporate ‘legacy’ datasets in our database. In our case these especially comprise topographic studies, among which are several Forma Italiae archaeological
inventories to complement our own site data, and to allow us to link rural settlement patterns to urban development and infrastructure.
In the second part of the paper, we discuss the possibility and potential to integrate the Pontine Region database with those of two other major survey projects, the Suburbium Project (Sapienza Rome) and the Tiber Valley Project (British School at Rome), to design an aggregate database that covers representative sections of Rome’s Suburbium. To this end, we have formed an international consortium of researchers from the Universities of Groningen (NL), Durham (UK), St. Andrews (UK), Cologne (G) and now also Leiden (NL) and Melbourne (AUS). This new project, called the Rome Hinterland Project (RHP),
is supported by an internationalization grant from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO) to which all partners contributed financially.5 This initiative will facilitate longitudinal and quantitative studies on socio-economic and demographic aspects of Rome’s hinterland from its formation to well into the medieval period.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchaeology and Economy in the Ancient World
Subtitle of host publicationThe Rural Foundations of The Roman Economy. New Approaches to Rome’s Ancient Countryside from the Archaic to the Early Imperial Period
EditorsPeter Attema, Günther Schörner
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-96929-099-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-96929-100-9
Publication statusPublished - 19-Jan-2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Cologne/Bonn, 22 – 26 May 2018 Archaeology and Economy in the Ancient World

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