Developing a method for studying the Critical Zone: Connecting Archaeological and Precision Agricultural approaches to agrarian landscapes by making their advanced sensing data interoperable.

Critical Zone
30 April 2021 → 31 March 2023
International funding: global institutions
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Geoarchaeology
    • Landscape archaeology
  • Natural sciences
    • Geophysics not elsewhere classified
    • Environmental monitoring
    • Soil sciences, challenges and pollution not elsewhere classified
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Agricultural, veterinary and food sciences not elsewhere classified
soil science landscape archaeology remote sensing near surface geophysics data management archaeological prospection
Project description

Agricultural landscapes sit at the intersection between nature, humanity, and technology. Today, rural agricultural landscapes are being fundamentally transformed by the introduction of advanced farming technologies in the form of precision agriculture and by the deployment of new policies and incentives to address the climate crisis, environmental sustainability and food security. This project aims to study rural agricultural landscapes as complex entities rooted in long-term human-environment interactions and shaped by contemporary farming practices in order to engage with this transformation.

This foundational work will be accomplished through this project’s workshop and field trial activities, through which an interdisciplinary team will collaborate to develop interoperable data descriptions and workflows for remote and near-surface sensing data used by archaeologists and precision-agriculturalists to study these landscapes. Designing truly compatible data standards and analytical routines requires delving deeply into implicit disciplinary ontologies and epistemologies, because we operationalize our perspectives and agendas through the design of our data structures and workflows. This design work will elucidate these implicit properties and open a discourse around the complex intersecting interests and priorities of stakeholders in rural communities and places, setting an agenda for a new, shared approach to our changing agricultural landscapes.

This project is led by a team from the Universities of Ghent, Glasgow, Siena, Florence and Spain’s Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).