Since 2002 the department of Medieval Archaeology at the Carlo Bo University of Urbino has been investigating the Roman and Medieval landscapes of a sub-historical Italian region called "Montefeltro", which spans across the Emilia Romagna and the Marche regions in central Italy. The project is called "Landscape Archaeology of the Montefeltro". In 2010 the project gained international importance, as the research carried out by Urbino University was complemented by the research on protohistoric archeology conducted by Innsbruck University. As a result, it became a joint project based on the diachronic study of the population of the Marecchia river valley in Montefeltro from the protohistoric era to the Middle Ages. The investigations include a survey and, when possible, the study of historical, topographical and iconographic sources. A large part of the project is naturally based on geomorphologic researches. Investigations, conducted with advanced GPS satellite instruments, were followed by data storage and analysis on a modern GIS platform. The studies led by the University of Urbino chart the history of the Marecchia river valley population from Roman times to the Middle Ages, with particular reference to the relationship between viability and population. The main objective of our project is to identify the territory transformation processes between late antiquity and early Middle Age, and between early and central Middle Ages. The river Marecchia flows to the city of Rimini. In Roman times this river was topographically very relevant as it provided an alternative route to the via Flaminia (the Flaminia road). There was also a road that went through the river Arminius valley and linked the Roman municipium of Arminius (on the Adriatic coast) to that of Arretium (in the Apennines): the so-called "via Ariminensis". The Arminius river (which nowadays is called Marecchia) springs from the same source as the river Tiber (Tevere), so the two respective valleys - the Valmarecchia and the Tiber - both connect Rimini to Rome. The population data of the Roman age presents a densely populated valley with farms and villae. People lived in two major built up centres along the Ariminensis road: a vicus (according to some it was not a vicus, but a municipium) located near the modern village of Secchiano of Novafeltria and a statio / mutatio located at Ponte Messa di Pennabilli. The network of vici, farms and villae represents a very significant link to the landscape morphology (exposure of slopes, sources of water etc). The population was based on a strong agricultural and pastoral economy (called: saltus) linked to the exploitation of the local woodland. Our research on the Middle Ages is mainly focused on the phenomenon of encastellation of the Valmarecchia (Roman Byzantine Exarchate subject land), a byzantine area that was under Lombard pressure between VI and VIII century. The survey of this area has identified a much larger number of high ground fortified sites than that of other centres that sources have qualified as “castles”. The early medieval centuries show a hybrid type of population, which developed in centralised villages but also scattered in the surrounding areas. A concentration of the settlements definitively occurs around X-XI centuries. The pre-Roman high ground sites of the Valmarecchia were then frequently reoccupied between the early part and middle part of the Middle Ages.

Exploring the Valmarecchia - the Roman and the Middle ages

SACCO, DANIELE
2014-01-01

Abstract

Since 2002 the department of Medieval Archaeology at the Carlo Bo University of Urbino has been investigating the Roman and Medieval landscapes of a sub-historical Italian region called "Montefeltro", which spans across the Emilia Romagna and the Marche regions in central Italy. The project is called "Landscape Archaeology of the Montefeltro". In 2010 the project gained international importance, as the research carried out by Urbino University was complemented by the research on protohistoric archeology conducted by Innsbruck University. As a result, it became a joint project based on the diachronic study of the population of the Marecchia river valley in Montefeltro from the protohistoric era to the Middle Ages. The investigations include a survey and, when possible, the study of historical, topographical and iconographic sources. A large part of the project is naturally based on geomorphologic researches. Investigations, conducted with advanced GPS satellite instruments, were followed by data storage and analysis on a modern GIS platform. The studies led by the University of Urbino chart the history of the Marecchia river valley population from Roman times to the Middle Ages, with particular reference to the relationship between viability and population. The main objective of our project is to identify the territory transformation processes between late antiquity and early Middle Age, and between early and central Middle Ages. The river Marecchia flows to the city of Rimini. In Roman times this river was topographically very relevant as it provided an alternative route to the via Flaminia (the Flaminia road). There was also a road that went through the river Arminius valley and linked the Roman municipium of Arminius (on the Adriatic coast) to that of Arretium (in the Apennines): the so-called "via Ariminensis". The Arminius river (which nowadays is called Marecchia) springs from the same source as the river Tiber (Tevere), so the two respective valleys - the Valmarecchia and the Tiber - both connect Rimini to Rome. The population data of the Roman age presents a densely populated valley with farms and villae. People lived in two major built up centres along the Ariminensis road: a vicus (according to some it was not a vicus, but a municipium) located near the modern village of Secchiano of Novafeltria and a statio / mutatio located at Ponte Messa di Pennabilli. The network of vici, farms and villae represents a very significant link to the landscape morphology (exposure of slopes, sources of water etc). The population was based on a strong agricultural and pastoral economy (called: saltus) linked to the exploitation of the local woodland. Our research on the Middle Ages is mainly focused on the phenomenon of encastellation of the Valmarecchia (Roman Byzantine Exarchate subject land), a byzantine area that was under Lombard pressure between VI and VIII century. The survey of this area has identified a much larger number of high ground fortified sites than that of other centres that sources have qualified as “castles”. The early medieval centuries show a hybrid type of population, which developed in centralised villages but also scattered in the surrounding areas. A concentration of the settlements definitively occurs around X-XI centuries. The pre-Roman high ground sites of the Valmarecchia were then frequently reoccupied between the early part and middle part of the Middle Ages.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2631113
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