ArMedEa – The project

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The fortified settlement of El Castillejo, Guàjar Faragüit, Andalusia (Spain)



Paolo Forlin (PDRA, Archaeology, Durham)

Chris Gerrard (Archaeology, Durham)

David Petley (School of Environmental Sciences, UEA)

The Project 

Seismic catalogues of historic events play a significant role in hazard mitigation across the European Union. These projects are based mainly on documentary surveys or driven from an earth-science perspective but the archaeological verification for seismic activity remains under-researched. The aim of ArMedEa (April 2014 – March 2016) is to develop more fully the analysis of the physical impacts of earthquakes, tsunamis and landslide seismic-induced during the later Middle Ages (defined here as 1000-1550 AD). Our work is at a European scale and adopts a specifically archaeological approach to collate and integrate information from a wide range of sources including standing buildings, buried stratigraphical sequences and palaeoenvironmental data.

The main objectives of the ArMedEa project (Marie Curie-IEF, PI Paolo Forlin, supervisors Chris Gerrard and Dave Petley), are fourfold:

1-    To develop a geographical database (GIS) of seismic events in the Middle Ages drawing on existing catalogues and untapped ‘grey literature’;

2-    To create a ‘risk map’ for medieval Europe which indicates the potential threat of major seismic hazards to different regions and centres of population;

3- To investigate a sample of well-documented episodes using a combination of remote sensing and fieldwork. These case-studies will be located in different European countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece and Austria, for instance;

4- To understand the ‘risk-sensitive tactics’ adopted by medieval societies in different regions, particularly their resilience and hazard reduction strategies.

The project will create online outputs such as an archaeo-seismic database and the first historic risk map for the Middle Ages, as well as summary reports evaluating case-studies, mitigation strategies and the economic and cultural effects of earthquakes in different cultural contexts. These will be made available as the project progresses.

This innovative research will be developed at the Department of Archaeology and the IHRR (Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience) of the University of Durham, establishing a wide-ranging of national and international collaborations and a network of research contacts. We will be creating a blog so you can keep track of the project over the next two years.

This research is supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme.


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