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Dating and characterising the transformation of a monastic landscape. A multidisciplinary approach to the agrarian spaces of Samos Abbey (NW Spain)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tim Kinnaird, Professor Sam Turner, Dr Filippo BrandoliniORCiD, Dr Francesco CarrerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper explores the potential of a multidisciplinary approach to understand landscape evolution over the last 1200 years around an important monastic centre, Samos Abbey, in northwest Iberia. Our objective is to test whether or not landscape transformations here – in particular terracing related to agriculture – can be linked to the agency of the monks. Our landscape study combined analysis of written sources with archaeological survey and test-pitting, including OSL profiling and dating of seven earthworks, with pollen and geochemical analysis of three of them. It has been possible to detect at least four main phases of landscape transformation in the immediate surroundings of Samos Abbey. The mid-17th century saw the most recent and visible transformations, partly overprinting earlier landscapes changes from the Iron Age, 8th-9th and 13th centuries AD. The data suggest that landscape transformation had already begun in this area centuries before the abbey was created, but the presence of this power centre from the early Middle Ages resulted in intensive use of the territory over the last 12 centuries.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sánchez-Pardo JC, Sánchez-Silva N, Kinnaird T, Turner S, Brandolini F, Carrer F, Srivastava A, López-Salas E, Otero-Vilariño C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Archaeology

Year: 2024

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 11/03/2024

Acceptance date: 12/02/2024

Date deposited: 12/02/2024

ISSN (print): 1461-4103

ISSN (electronic): 1749-6314

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14614103.2024.2319954


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Funder referenceFunder name
ARPAMED (PID2020- 119365GA-I00)
ECOLOC (EUR2021-122009)
Spanish Ministry of Science