The Landscape of Transhumances in Southern Tuscany in Pre-Medieval Times


Transhumance has been practiced in the Mediterranean basin since prehistoric times; it is a means of economic exploitation and a factor in social organization. The trajectory of pastoralist activities in antiquity has long been a matter of debate that has affected researchers' methodological approaches. Pastoralism has always been considered a highly mobile practice. Models of pastoralism have usually assumed implicitly or explicitly that ancient herders are mostly invisible archaeologically because they had highly mobile lives. This has generated an epistemologically hiatus in terms of archaeological narratives between periods with written sources about agro-pastoral activities and those where these kinds of data are rare. In central Italy, as in others contexts, the micro-perspective on agro-pastoralist activities has been largely ignored along with the assumption of integrated land-use practices. This article will try to analyse, from the perspective of the Landscape Archaeology, and through the reconsideration of some new and old data, some agro-sylvo-pastoral practices in southern Tuscany during pre-Medieval times. I argue that several aspects of the landscape are the result of mainly preservative and not necessarily agrarian or market oriented practices. In other words, the perpetuation of certain land-use practices is due to attempts to preserve those natural resources that act as economic catalysts and economic and social hubs.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i9788883051678p31

Keywords: Transhumance; Agro-sylvopastoral landscape; Mobility; Network of practices; Tuscany

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