Sunday, 19 April 2015

Entering the last phase of the EthWAL project

The EthWAL project is entering its last phase. In these months we have worked on the data collected in Val Maudagna and Vallee de Freissinieres. Different methods and sources have been used to interpret these data. Spatial analysis has been applied to the distribution of object within the recorded pastoral sites, in order to identify activity areas and post-depositional processes. The evolution of historical pastoral landscapes has been studied using historical maps and documents, that enabled us to correlate this evolution to the social-economical processes occurring in the alpine arc during the last centuries.  Analysis of soils and sediments sampled within and outside the pastoral structures studied improved our understanding of the function of these structures, and provided a good test for assessing the reliability of these methods in the alpine context. Interviews and participant observation were also crucial for providing an ethnoarchaeological interpretation of the relationships between herders and their seasonal landscapes.
This research returned useful insights for the archaeology and history of pastoralism in the Alps. As suggested for other areas, the shaping of upland landscapes is a long and complex process, and the landscapes we currently experience in mountain areas are the consequence of this process. This inference is not only important for the reconstruction of the past, but also for planning the future of these landscapes. The results of this ethnoarchaeological project will help stakeholders to define new policies for the protection and promotion of western Alps.

The next and final step of the EthWAL project will be the conclusive dissemination of the results. Some papers have already been submitted to peer-review journals, and others will be submitted in the next months. The preliminary results have been presented to several international conferences: European Association of Archaeologists conference (EAA) 2013 and 2014, Computer Application and quantitative methods in Archaeology conference 2014 and 2015. Other results will be presented at the next EAA conference in Glasgow and at the "Current Ethnoarchaeology" conference in Rome. Local conferences will be also organized, in order to inform local communities of the outcomes of this project and of their perspectives.
Further updates will be therefore provided in the next months.

The meadows of Fangeas, near the Faravel plateau (Freissinieres, France)

The high pastures of Val della Brignola (Magliano Alpi, Italy)