FINAL PROGRAM – Emptyscapes Seminar, Cambridge (UK)


Empty spaces & Empty phases: research questions, scales and methods

What’s new in archaeological survey in the Mediterranean countryside? After more than half a century of research and fieldwork, involving millions of hectares of survey, a host of meetings to discuss theory, methods, settlement, population, social and economic patterns, what are the current critical issues and perspectives in this field of studies? In the last decade we have seen the introduction of new techniques and ideas that are radically changing perspectives and possibilities within archaeological landscape survey. In particular we can now apply new survey, diagnostic, analytical and visualization techniques to help us integrate incoming data and to challenge previous understandings based mainly on field-walking survey and limited trial excavation. Moreover, new concepts and questions have come to the fore, such as ‘emptiness’ and the problems of ‘archaeological invisibility’, forcing us to revise our approaches to matters of scale, detail, research methodology and the framing of basic archaeological questions.
This meeting, restricted to about 40 active participants, will provide an opportunity to discuss, through ‘blue skies thinking’ and relevant case studies, the present state-of-the-art within this field of studies, identifying critical issues and omissions, addressing ‘short-circuit’ thinking and exploring the opportunity to launch a ‘Next Wave’ of archaeological investigation in the varied countrysides around the Mediterranean Sea.

Seminar WEB site –

Venue – Department of Classics, University of Cambridge, UK, ROOM 1.04.

Timing – 25 May 2016 (13:00) to at 26 May (14:00).

Presentations – 30-minutes presentations plus 15 minutes of discussion.

Speakers and discussants – Graeme Barker, Cyprian Broodbank, Stefano Campana, Charley French, Evangelia Kiriatzi, Rowan McLaughlin, Martin Millett, Cecilia Moine, Chris Musson, Dominic Powlesland, Antonio Quiros, Simon Stoddart, Fank Vermeulen, Robert Witcher.


Wednesday 25 May 2016 at 13:00

Icebreaking light lunch

Introduction by prof Martin Millett & Stefano Campana

Session Chairman – Charley French (University of Cambridge)

13.45 -14.30
Robet Witcher (University of Durham)
Surveying, fast and slow: Mediterranean landscapes and archaeological understanding

Dominic Powlesland (Landscape Research Centre)
Reflections: Filling the emptiness of the archaeological landscape of the Vale of Pickering or having a SCRAP with the past.

Cecilia Moine (University of Venice)
Below the surface. Integrated strategies to understand the Venice medieval landscape

16.00-16.30 coffee break

Stefano Campana (University of Cambridge)
Towards a counternarrative of ‘empty’ Mediterranean Landscape? Rusellae case study.

Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo (University of the Basque Country)
‘Traditional’ agrarian landscapes and ‘Empty Spaces’ in Northwestern Iberia

19.00 Social Dinner at Fitzwilliam College

Thursday 26 May 2016 at 9:00

Session Chairmen – Robert Witcher (University of Durham)

Frank Vermeulen (University of Ghent)
Mediterranean rural survey reconsidered: some strategies to deal with gaps and bias

Cyprian Broodbank (University of Cambridge), Evangelia Kiriatzi (British School at Athens)
Kythera survey

10.30-11.00 coffee break
Simon Stoddart (University of Cambridge)
A critical analysis of the contribution of survey to state formation in central Italy.

Rowan McLaughlin (Queen’s University Belfast)
Finding and minding the gaps in Maltese prehistory

Closing address

Farewell light lunch