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MPMAG Colloquium Session


108th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America

January 4-7, 2007, San Diego


The Abandoned Countryside:

(Re)Settlement in the Archaeological Narrative of the Post-Classical Mediterranean


Decline, abandonment, and collapse punctuate the historical narrative of many civilizations, but more so the discourse of the medieval and post-medieval Mediterranean, where classical civilization once reigned supreme. Archaeology—a discipline raised in the shadows of classicism—was once eager to substantiate the poetic loss of Arcadia, or to illustrate the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire magisterially described by Edward Gibbons. Today, archaeology finds itself under no such ideological pressure. Hence the growing evidence for abandonment and resettlement needs to be freshly interpreted. Periods of cultural, political, and economic dislocation have gone hand-in-hand with apparent demographic decline. Perhaps more importantly, however, periods of apparent resurgence have provided the building blocks of identities rearranged with little concern for historical continuity or contingency. By considering multiple case-studies from a wide chronological spectrum (third to 20th centuries) we hope to highlight the historiographic and methodological complexities in reading the post-classical landscape of Greece and Albania. Moreover, these papers pay particular attention to narratives of abandonment by offering intensive, region-specific approaches to political, economic, or environmental change. As a whole, they present an important challenge to universalizing notions of (decline and) fall that have long dominated our reading of archaeological evidence.




Timothy E. Gregory

Ohio State University




Beyond the Boom-and-Bust Countryside: Problems and Prospects in Understanding the Archaeological Evidence for Late Antique Rural Settlement

David K. Pettegrew

Messiah College


Lost to the Countryside?: Abandonment and Continuity in Late Antique Corinth and Thessaloniki

Amelia R. Brown

University of California, Berkeley


Abandonment and Religious Continuity in Post- Classical Greece

William R. Caraher

University of North Dakota


Landscape Archaeology and the Medieval Countryside: Resettlement and Abandonment in the Nemea Region.

Effie F. Athanassopoulos

University of Nebraska


Warfare, Politics, and Rural Population Movements: Analyzing Houses, Neighborhoods, and Abandonment in the Shala Valley of Northern Albania, 1450-2006.

Wayne E. Lee

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Michael L. Galaty

Millsaps College


Remembering and Forgetting: The Relationship between Memory and the Abandonment of Graves in 19th-20th-century Greek cemeteries.

Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory

La Trobe University