Pioneer Landscapes

Societies adopt different strategies to deal with rising population levels and growing economies. An important solution has generally been found in territorial expansion and colonisation, leading to strong transformations of the natural environment, or in case of already settled landscapes to potentially violent conflicts. But from antiquity onwards, alternative strategies have been developed successfully alongside such expansion policies. In theory at least, technological and social innovations have enabled communities to grow in less disrupting ways. The Pioneer Landscapes program investigates these processes focusing especially on colonisation, land reclamation strategies and water management in Italy from the Neolithic period onwards.

Key-words: Colonisation, state formation, Roman imperialism, cultural interaction, sustainable growth, reclamation strategies, water management, remote sensing

Aims & collaboration

The geographic scope of Pioneer Landscapes is the Italian peninsula, but the program adopts a strong comparative approach, with particular attention to the comparison with Dutch colonisation and reclamation policies. The program builds on a successful and long-lasting research tradition of Dutch academic research into these topics. To support and develop this academic tradition further the KNIR stimulates and where possible co-finances research projects that aim to fill important lacunae in our knowledge of colonisation and land reclamation processes. Special effort is made to stimulate collaboration and exchange of ideas with research groups outside the humanities and with non-governmental parties, especially in the field of earth sciences and water management.

Projects & Results