Bridging the Gap: Understanding the empty Medieval landscape of post-Roman Aquitaine

Author(s): Zenobie Garrett

Year: 2015


The end of the Roman Empire is marked archaeologically by an impressive shift in material culture. Changes in land organization and the use of more ephemeral building materials created a largely invisible and difficult to detect post-Roman landscape. Archaeologists initially assumed such landscapes were abandoned as a result of the political and economic chaos resulting from Rome’s fall. Work in northwest Europe in the past two decades, however has shown that new techniques can help locate these post-Roman occupations, and the issue of abandonment is much more complex than originally assumed.

In the Dordogne area of France, the situation has been exacerbated by a lack of documentation both historically and archaeologically. Both Roman and post-Roman occupations are underrepresented; creating a map that is largely devoid of archaeological material. Using GIS analysis, I will address whether this "emptiness" represents cultural absence or simply new forms of cultural organization. In doing so, I will problematize the issue of site definition, particularly in regards to survey strategies and landscape analysis and posit ways archaeologists can include empty ‘scapes’ in their analysis.

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Cite this Record

Bridging the Gap: Understanding the empty Medieval landscape of post-Roman Aquitaine. Zenobie Garrett. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397030)


Gis Landscape Medieval

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;