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Research Projects


Archaeological Field Projects

Accordia has been associated with archaeological field projects since the 1980s.




Excavations at Botromagno, Gravina in Puglia

Excavations at this Iron Age site took place between 1979 and 1985 and post-excavation work between 1984 and 1992. It was published in 2000 as Botromagno: excavation and survey in Gravina in Puglia 1979–1985. Specialist Studies on Italy 9  (edited by Ruth D. Whitehouse, John B. Wilkins and Edward Herring).

Attic crater from Tomb 9 at Botromagno

Attic crater from Tomb 9 at Botromagno

The Alto-Medio Polesine – Basso Veronese Project (PAMPBV), jointly directed by Accordia personnel and colleagues from the University of Padua, took place between 1986 and 1997. It employed a combination of methods, including interpretation of aerial photographs, field survey, coring and interpretation of sections exposed in field ditches, to explore the complex sequence of human settlement and shifting waterways in the Bronze Age. Reports were published in Italian in a series of articles in Quaderni di Archeologia del Veneto and Padusa and translated into English in Accordia Research Papers, volumes 1–9.


The Tavoliere-Gargano Prehistory Project had main seasons between 2002 and 2007, with two further small-scale seasons in 2008 and 2010. It investigates the relationships between the Tavoliere plain and the Gargano promontory, southeast Italy, in later prehistory at regional, inter-site and intra-site scales. It aims to explore the social use and organisation of landscape and 'taskscapes' and focuses on interfaces of the domestic, specialist and ritual sites of these areas. The work combines innovative and traditional methods, including interpretation of aerial photographs, surface survey and mapping, as well as the development of approaches for understanding the human experiential aspects of 'dwelling' in prehistory (phenomenology/sensory archaeology).It is funded by the British Academy, the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the National University of Ireland Galway and is directed jointly by Ruth Whitehouse and Sue Hamilton of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. Other Accordia members and associates involved in the project include deputy directors, Dr Edward Herring (NUIG) and Keri Brown (University of Manchester), Mike Seager Thomas and Eleanor Betts. 

This has been recently published as Neolithic Spaces (a two-volume set in the Specialist Studies in Italy series).



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Aerial photograph showing banks of site of Fabbrica dei Soci and position of field survey transect

Other Projects

Literacy in Early Italy is a composite research theme, comprising two initial three-year projects funded by the AHRC, as well as ongoing research. The first project, Developmental Literacy in Early Italy (2002– 2005), examines the role of incipient literacy in the formation of urban societies and in the development of cultural identities in three areas of ancient Italy – northwest Italy, southeast Italy, and northwest Italy – where local communities developed in contact with the Etruscans, the Western Greeks and the Romans. The second project, Etruscan Literacy in its social context, 8th – 5th centuries BC (2005–2008), is concerned with the development of writing in Etruria, which was a primary centre of literacy in ancient Italy. Three Accordia seminar series and a conference were devoted to aspects of this topic between 2005 and 2010. The project is directed by Ruth Whitehouse (formerly jointly with John Wilkins) with Kathryn Lomas as Research Fellow. 

Several articles relating to this project have been published in journals and edited volumes and a volume arising from the 2010 conference is being prepared for publication as Etruscan Literacy in its Social Context (in the Specialist Studies in Italy series).

As well as running its own projects, Accordia aims to support the research of other scholars working on a wide range of aspects of early Italy, through the organisation of lectures, workshops, seminars and conferences and through publication of their work. 

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Stele with Lepontic inscription from S. Bernadino di Briona

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Experiments with colour and shape visibility

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