Scientific Issues

The ACTECH project intends to shift the focus of research to the circulation of ancient construction knowledge in the Mediterranean basin starting in the territories of the Southern Hawrān (nowadays a territory between northern Jordan and southern Syria), through the analysis of built heritage between the 2nd and 9th centuries AD. with the objective of starting to fill the major gap in the history of architectural and archaeological studies of the area.

On one hand, the project will be based on an architectural research methodology that will make use of a combination of archaeological, architectural and archaeometric methods, accompanied by the techniques of digital documentation of cultural heritage (3D photogrammetry).

On the other hand, the research will start from a local point of view with the objective of analyzing the dynamics of circulation of construction know-how in a broader context.

Indeed, understanding large-scale social and cultural phenomena is possible only if we know the local tangible and intangible heritage in depth: the result of a continuous exchange of knowledge, in space and time, between individuals and groups of people. The discussion of the project focuses on a chronological period that covers more than seven centuries (2nd-9th), a period of fundamental importance in the history of the Near East and the entire Mediterranean basin, which went on to influence the destiny of a large part of Europe. Increasing our knowledge of local Near Eastern architecture and the cultural, social and political milieu that generated it will be of fundamental importance in providing a contribution to the history of artistic and construction techniques and their wider diffusion and interconnection throughout the Mediterranean region. A greater understanding of Near Eastern buildings would surely contribute to the European debate and may also improve our knowledge of the development of ancient architecture in the Mediterranean, thus offering a contribution to current historiographic research regarding the transitional phase from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages.

Piero Gilento

Marie Skłodowska Curie Postdoctoral research fellow at Paris 1 - Panthéon Sorbonne

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