Calls > Session 12

12 – Representing ancient territories. Structuring of ‘archeo-territories’ and spatial dynamics in archeology

Co-facilitators: Damase MOURALIS, Carole NEHME & Dominique TODISCO (IDEES)

An increasing number of recent studies by geographers, geoarchaeologists, archaeologists, “archaegeographers” and archeo-surveyors have sought to better understand the long-term structuring processes that create territories, the spatial diffusion of raw materials and artefacts (flint, obsidian, pottery ...), the diachronies of territorial changes ("palimpsest landscape"), and even spatial dynamics in all their multi-scalar complexity. The representations of these early territorial structuring processes, which are the subject of this session, can make a valuable contribution to our knowledge of ancient societies.

Thus, by using natural science, planimetric, historical and archaeological documents, it is possible to reconstruct the dynamics of land use (see “archaeogeography”). Studying the spatial transfers of raw materials and artefacts enables us to reconstruct the networks of exchanges during prehistoric or historical periods. These transfers concern not only raw materials but also men and techniques. Their cartographic representations make it possible to reconstruct places of exchange (archeological sites, villages, markets, etc.), paths (exchange routes) and supply areas. Finally, such studies contribute to a representation of the dynamics of the early structuring of territories.

The expected communications will therefore deal with the representation of the territories of ancient societies (in all cultural areas) and may, more particularly, concern the following aspects:
- Knowledge of these first territorial organisations and structures. The aim here is to show the diversity of sources and evidence used by researchers to reconstruct and represent territorial structures;
- Diversity of methods used (mapping, analysis of social networks, spatial information systems, spatial analysis) to represent the territories of ancient societies.


Chouquer G., 2007, Quels scénarios pour l’histoire du paysage ? Orientations de recherches pour l’archéogéographie, Coimbra-Porto, ed. CEAUCP.
Fusco J., 2017, « Les passés possibles : exploration et modélisation de l’occupation du sol et de ses dynamiques spatio-temporelles en contexte incertain », 13es Rencontres de Théo Quant, Besançon, 17-19 mai 2017, pp. 86-90.
Ibáñez J.J., Ortega D., Campos D., Khalid, L., Méndez V., 2015, "Testing complex networks of interaction at the onset of the Near Eastern Neolithic using modelling of obsidian exchange", Journal of The Royal Society Interface, n° 12.
Kohler T.A., Van der Leeuw S. E. (dir.), 2009, The model-based archaeology of socionatural systems, Santa Fe, School for Advanced Research Press.
Noizet H., Mirlou L., Robert S., 2013, « La résilience des formes : la ceinture urbaine de la rive droite à Paris », Études rurales, n° 191, pp. 193-220.
Ortega D., Ibañez J.J., Khalidi L., Méndez V., Campos D., Teira L., 2013, "Towards a Multi-Agent-Based Modelling of Obsidian Exchange in the Neolithic Near East", Journal of Archaeolical Method Theory, n° 21, pp. 461-485.
Rasse M., 2008, « La diffusion du Néolithique en Europe (7000-5000 av. J.-C.) et sa représentation cartographique », Mappemonde, n° 90, pp. 1-22.
Robert S. (coord.), 2012, « Archéologie et géographie », L’Espace géographique, 41(4), pp. 289-351.
Rodier X. (dir.), 2011, Information spatiale et archéologie, Archéologiques, Paris, Errance.
Tobler, 1971, "A Cappadocian Speculation", Nature, n° 231, pp. 39-41.

Expected types of paper

The papers hosted in this session will present the methods used to represent the territories of ancient societies as well as study results. They may also address more theoretical issues.

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