Tiber Valley Project

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The British School at Rome’s Tiber Valley Project studies the changing landscapes of the middle Tiber Valley as the hinterland of Rome through two millennia. It draws on the vast amount of archaeological work carried out in this area to examine the impact of the growth, success and transformation of the city on the history of settlement, economy and society in the river valley from 1000 BC to AD 1000.

The wealth of surface survey evidence in particular provides a valuable resource for examining these themes. However, no study has ever attempted to incorporate the wide range of settlement and economic evidence available and the full potential of the data for understanding these processes has been largely undeveloped.

British work in this area goes back to the beginning of the 19th century with Thomas Ashby’s pioneering study of the Roman campagna. However it was the South Etruria survey, directed by John Ward Perkins’ in the 1950s to 70s, which represented a milestone in Italian and Mediterranean landscape archaeology and stimulated a series of field surveys and excavations by British and, in particular, Italian archaeologists in this area.

The Tiber Valley project involves twelve British universities and institutions as well as many Italian scholars.

Tim Potter’s classic synthesis of the South Etruria survey, ‘The Changing landscape of South Etruria’ published in 1979, represented the first and only attempt to analyse developments in one part of this area through time. The first phase of the Tiber Valley project and the restudy of the South Etruria data has led to a fundamental reassessment of our historical and archaeological approaches to the Tiber valley, allowing a new reading of the historical landscape and the changing relationship between Rome and its hinterland. A volume on the ‘Changing landscapes of the middle Tiber valley’ is now in preparation by the director of the project and the two Leverhulme funded research fellows.

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