Prospecting Boundaries

Western Sicily, showing major known archaeological sites and locations of sites identified by prior University of Vienna aerial photography campaigns (in yellow) in the current project area. Background image ©2010 GeLib.

Prospecting Boundaries is a landscape archaeological research project being conducted in the vicinity of Mazara del Vallo, Sicily. The overall aim of the project is to explore the dynamics of land use and occupation between the interior and coastal area of western Sicily from a landscape perspective, with a focus on the Mazaro river corridor. Concurrently, the project will investigate the established idea of the Mazaro as a border area during Greek colonial times through the examination of land use at specific archaeological sites in the project area. Additionally, the project aims to explore the time-depth in the western Sicilian landscape through an historic landscape characterisation of the project area and surroundings. The development and application of a minimally invasive integrated archaeological prospection approach that includes airborne laser scanning, geophysical prospection, geoarchaeological investigation, pedestrian survey and analysis of historic materials is supporting these goals and will serve to further develop the application of these approaches in Mediterranean contexts. 

Prospecting Boundaries is a project of the Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology at the University of Vienna, together with project partners at the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa, the Soprintendenza per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali di Trapani, and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology. Recent fieldwork  has included ALS data capture of the entire project area as well as fieldwalking and geophysical prospection at the site of Guletta, where magnetometry and ground penetrating radar have provided us with preliminary indications of possible remnant structures of varying size and shape beneath the ground surface. Geophysical prospection work is being carried out by Archeo Prospections. Concurrent surface surveys of the area, conducted by colleagues at the PA (Associazione Prima Archeologia), are providing further information through artefact location and analysis.