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Ancient Literacy

The Tavoliere Project


Alto-Medio Polesine -Basso Veronese

Alto-Medio Polesine -Basso Veronese Project

Aerial photograph of the Polesine,
showing the transect surveyed

This study of surface archaeology in the Po plain ran from 1986-2000. The project  is jointly organised and directed with colleagues from the University of Padua.

It's dual aims were, on the one hand, to develop the theory and methodology of surface archaeology and, on the other, to throw light on the environment and archaeology of an area of the eastern Po plain south of Verona.

Occupation of the survey area seems to have been mainly in the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC) and the Roman period, with a virtual abandonment in the intervening Iron Age and only sparse post-Roman occupation before the land drainage schemes of recent centuries.

Section of the Bronze Age banked
settlement of Fabbrica dei Soci

In fact successful exploitation of this wetland area, characterised in the past by frequently changing river formations and major flooding episodes, seems to have depended on active water management.

Not only do we have much information on the Roman centuriation system of land division and drainage in the survey area, but we also have evidence of water management in the Bronze Age (definitely drainage and probably also irrigation).

The Polesine survey in progress

Interim reports have appeared annually in Quaderni di Archeologia del Veneto (in Italian) and Accordia Research Papers (in English) and a monograph on the project is currently in preparation by Ruth Whitehouse and John Wilkins.




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