Open Conference Systems, Kainua 2017

Font Size: 
Open architecture RDBMS and GIS as tools for analysing the Etruscan presence in the Po Plain: towards a model for the urban/non-urban landscape
Tommaso Quirino

Last modified: 2017-03-21


From the 9th century BC onwards, the Etruscans occupied the Po Valley. This presence underwent a significant transformation beginning in the mid-sixth century BC. The territory experienced a thoroughgoing colonisation, which created a new pattern in the organisation of the landscape. A dense network of farms and secondary settlements expanded around both old and new cities.

Through the structuring power and analytical potential of GIS (Geographic Information Systems), this research illustrates new perspectives on reconstructing the ancient landscape. In addition to the cultural aspects most closely related to Etruscan society, the approach also takes into consideration the roles played by the resources of the territory itself, in terms of both the economy and transport networks.

First, we briefly present our conceptual and physical structure. This comprises a catalogue of all known sites north of the Apennines (541) between the sixth and fourth century BC (managed through a relational database) and a set of relevant geographic and thematic data, placed in the same cartographic reference system, handled with GIS software. Second, using certain distinctive characteristics of settlements such as the size of the occupied area, internal spatial organisation, building techniques and the presence (or absence) of production facilities, a possible hierarchical subdivision of the settlements is identified. Moreover, we suggest the optimal pathways between major cities considering factors such as slope and the presence of rivers or streams, and a possible road network was calculated using the MADO model (optimal accumulation model of movement from a given origin - the acronym MADO represents the original Spanish rendering of the model name).

The final aim is to propose a settlement model that can be compared to the reality represented by the current archaeological record.