The Landscape Archaeology of Southwest Sardinia Project: New Data and Method from the Insular Mediterranean

Elizabeth A. Murphy*, Thomas P. Leppard, Andrea Roppa, Emanuele Madrigali, Carmen Esposito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Sardinia has played a vital integrative role in the Holocene Mediterranean, most notably—although not only—as a key locus in emergent maritime “Mediterraneanization” and as an object of contestation among mainland polities over the last three millennia. Yet, despite the florescence of Mediterranean survey archaeology, this standard method has only been sparsely employed in Sardinia, with a pronounced focus on large, urban, coastal sites. Accordingly, we have little understanding of the ebb and flow of human settlement in the Sardinian interior. This represents a significant lacuna in the study of Mediterranean archaeology and history. Here, we report data from the first two seasons of the Landscape Archaeology of Southwest Sardinia (LASS) Project, a multidisciplinary project designed to correct this bias and to investigate how episodic integration into—but also disintegration from—larger economic and political structures drove sociocultural and socioeconomic change in southwestern Sardinia over the Mid-Late Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-382
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number6
Early online date19 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
LASS is co-directed by Murphy, Roppa, and Leppard, with Madrigali and Esposito as senior collaborators. In 2017 and 2018 teams comprised undergraduates and postgraduates from the University of Cambridge and Queen?s University Belfast. We thank Dott.ssa Sabrina Cisci, Soprintendente Fausto Martino, and Soprintendente Maura Picciau of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici per le province di Cagliari e Oristano and Dott. Elio Sundas, Mayor of the Comune di Santadi, for their kind assistance and permission to undertake fieldwork. Prof. Massimo Botto has been integral to our work, offering intellectual and practical guidance and advice, for which we are very grateful. We thank Dott. Nicola Sanna for his collegiality and his valued assistance with our fieldwork, as well as for logistical support offered by the Museo Civico di Santadi, and Dott. Remo Forresu for important advice and a detailed local knowledge. Prof. Peter van Dommelen, Prof. John F. Cherry, Prof. Cyprian Broodbank, and Dr. Evangelia Kiriatzi offered substantive intellectual and material support. In 2017 and 2018 LASS was funded by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (via the D M McDonald Fieldwork Fund) and Homerton College, University of Cambridge, as well as by the Prehistoric Society. Finally, we would like to thank Christina Luke and the three anonymous reviewers whose incisive comments materially improved the text.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © Trustees of Boston University 2019.


  • geospatial analysis
  • landscape archaeology
  • Mediterranean dynamics
  • pedestrian survey
  • Sardinia
  • settlement patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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