Roman Age Transformation And Reuse Of Prehistoric Hillforts In Istria


Prehistoric hillforts are characterised by their position on heights with excellent strategic and defensive traits. An impressive number of settlements of this type can be found in Istria, representing an interesting scientific and important cultural phenomenon. Most of the hillforts were established during the Bronze Age, and due to population increase and social stratification they were transformed from simple settlements into pre- and proto-urban centres. While the ethnic identity of the Bronze Age population is still unknown, the ethnically uniform population of the Histri inhabited these settlements during the Iron Age.

After the Roman conquest of Istria most hillforts were abandoned; some of them remained in use, but under different circumstances and conditions which led to their substantial modification. Despite the large number of these sites (240 confirmed, 200 hypothetical), few of them were systematically excavated. Previous research was limited to intra-site interpretation and to targeted field survey. The main goals of this project are to identify anthropogenic landscape change at the time of the conversion of site function, and to obtain new insights on the spatial organisation of settlements and their relationships with the surrounding environment.

Landscape studies, geoarchaeology, topography and archaeology will be integrated under interdisciplinary GIS environment, providing a new holistic interpretation of past landscape dynamics. This research will fill the gap in the understanding of human-landscape interaction and of anthropic transformation of land from Late Prehistory to Roman times. A case study on human impact on landscape will be conducted in the micro-region of Poreč, and will be explained within its broader regional context. 

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