In May and June 2019, we held our second field season with a team of 13 students and archaeologists from eight universities. Our primary goal was to fill in gaps in our survey of Zone A, a larger territory in the plains of the Upper Campidano, centered on the Nuragic site of S’Urachi. We conducted pedestrian survey in fields that were inaccessible last season, expanded our survey area, and continued to record known archaeological sites and features within this first survey zone. We also began exploratory work in our Zone B, the coastal area of the Upper Sinis Peninsula adjacent to Capo Mannu and immediately west of our first survey zone. This preparatory work helped us understand the area for future intensive survey there next season.
Our work focused heavily on pedestrian survey within Zone A. During the field season, we surveyed 241 units, which totaled 1.78 square kilometers. Combined with our pedestrian survey in Zone A from last year, we have surveyed a total of 464 units totaling 3.10 square kilometers in this survey zone. This season, we experimented with using satellite imagery downloaded daily to help us to identify target recently plowed and accessible fields, a technique that improved the overall speed and efficiency of our survey. Although our ceramic analysis is still in progress, our results from this season reinforce our initial interpretations of last season. Our research suggests that many Bronze and Iron Age sites were reoccupied and modified in the late Punic and early Roman periods and, often, again in the late Roman and medieval periods. Many of the sites with long-term occupation appear to have been situated on elevated locations in the landscape, where they could have had easy access to rivers but avoided seasonal flooding.
We also continued our regional reconnaissance in Zone A and parts of Zone B in order to explore and document known sites and features across the landscape, as well as newly discovered sites that we identified through pedestrian survey. This season, we visited and recorded 46 points of interest, with 34 in Zone A and 12 in Zone B. These included 23 features, 4 scatters (of ceramics and/or lithics), and 19 unconfirmed sites. These included nuraghi, quarries, tombe dei giganti (monumental Nuragic tombs), churches, wells, and many other features ranging in date from the Neolithic to the 19th century. We use our drone to take aerial photographs, traditional photography, drawing, recording, and archival research to learn about each of these sites.
Our work this season allowed us to continue gathering data about the impacts of ancient colonial contact and modern interventions on the rural landscapes of the Upper Campidano and Sinis Peninsula. We look forward to sharing details of our results at the upcoming meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society of American Archaeology in 2020.