Paths and settlement in a Roman rural landscape: An archaeomorphological analysis in the Congost Valley (Barcelona, Spain) / Trazas viarias y poblamiento en un paisaje rural romano: análisis arqueomorfológico en el valle del río Congost (Barcelona)

Arnau Garcia, Josep M. Palet, Marta Flórez


The territorial organisation of rural areas in the context of the Roman Empire is a widely discussed issue in archaeomorphological research but it is also a topic of great interest for the study of long-term landscapes dynamics. Most of these studies deal with large territorial management works related to known ancient cities. In this paper we propose a discussion about a study case carried out on a much more reduced scale, focused in a small river valley, placed in an inland area near Barcelona in the North-Eastern sector of the Iberian Peninsula. In this research both the analysis of road network from aerial photographs and the study of settlement patterns from the Archaeological Heritage database are complemented by fieldwork, survey and the regressive analysis of historical maps. A geomorphological study of the area is actually in progress. A significant relationship has been highlighted between an ancient Roman road and an intensive settlement network along this historical road axis. Settlement distribution along the studied stretch seems to show a pattern related to well-known measures used in Roman land-surveys. According to the chronology of these sites, this spatial organisation may coincide with the consolidation processes of a Roman urban network at the Tarraconensis province. This process took place during the first century BC, especially from the second half of that century. In this paper, the results will be discussed and analysed in order to understand how far the data available allow us to interpret landscape organisation in relation to geomorphological and environmental dynamics.


Road Network, Settlement, Rural Landscape, Archeomorphology, Land Survey, Congost River

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Copyright (c) 2016 Arnau Garcia, Josep M. Palet, Marta Flórez

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LAC 2014 proceedings - ISBN 978-90-825296-0-9 - is an open access initiative supported by the University Library, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.