Terraces as a land management strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean: a long-term perspective

Project Details


Terraces form an integral element of the Mediterranean landscape.
Despite their widespread occurrence, the history of terraces has
remained poorly understood due to problems with accurately dating
their construction and modification over time and determining past
cultivation practices for which they were used. This has hampered
broader research on the histories of terraced landscapes, examining
when and why rural communities developed them and how their
long-term investment choices have shaped these landscapes. This
project presents an innovative study of terraces in Anatolia and
Cyprus to investigate to what extent they constituted a sustainable
and resilient land management strategy for past Eastern
Mediterranean communities. It relies on a pioneering combination of
prospection and dating techniques, as well as geoarchaeological,
archaeobotanical, and geomorphological modelling methods, to
revolutionise our understanding of past terrace systems. Although
investigated for specific parts of the Eastern Mediterranean, the
approach and methods are intended to be generic in application. The
millennia-long histories of terraces have exceptional potential to
illuminate long-term land management strategies in relation to
environmental and/or socio-economic changes. Therefore, this
project will not only generate knowledge on human-environment
interactions within past agricultural communities, but have relevance
for informing sustainable strategies for the future as well
Effective start/end date1/01/2331/12/26


  • Landscape archaeology
  • Historic Land-Use
  • Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Geomorphology and landscape evolution


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