Finanziato dall’Unione europea – Next Generation EU


GreatT aims at setting a new standard within current archaeological research, by providing a platform where multi-dimensional and multivariate information can coexist and boost the understanding of a portion of land as a whole ecosystem, overcoming the dichotomy of urban- versus landscape- archaeology. GreatT will fuse material such as: literature and legacy data analysis, historical cartography, remote and proximal sensing data (LiDAR, satellite imagery, historical aerial photographs, multi-spectral dataset), geophysical investigation (GPR, ERT and magnetometry), geological coring, palaeo-environmental and pollinic analysis.

Fig.1 – The territory between Rusellae and Grosseto: general visualization of the evidence identified through the integration of 1000 hectares of extensive geophysical survey, several episodes of exploratory aerial survey by light aircraft, four years of aerial survey by drone, analysis of high-resolution LiDAR data (airborne and by drone), and the detailed examination of high-resolution satellite imagery.

This heterogeneous dataset can hardly be handled in most GIS platforms currently available (specifically with respect to the 3rd dimension, not fully developed in commercial and free/open-source solutions). GreatT will build upon innovative solutions developed by involved institutions and will summarize and multiply expertise for a new comprehensive system. These include:

  • SITAS WEBGIS (University of Siena), the WEB-based Archaeological Geographical Information System, developed under the framework of the urban archaeology project funded by Tuscany Regional administration.
  • RT3D software, developed by the University of Florence to manage heterogeneous geographical data, in the framework of ERC project “Rome Transformed”.
  • ATON framework, developed by CNR-ISPC for Web3D/WebXR apps (presenters, applied games, tools, etc…) interacting with Cultural Heritage objects and 3D scenes on the Web.

Several archaeological research questions animate the GreatT project, among others: why was the etruscan city of Roselle built in that location? What were the motivations and the natural resources in the wider area? What was the link with the nearby city of Vetulonia? What are the interlinks between the urban layout, the rural settings (settlements, infrastructures, land divisions) and the environment (resources, water management, climate conditions) in the most recognizable phases during the Etruscan, Roman, Late Antique and Medieval periods? Why was the city abandoned during the late Medieval period? Did the environment/weather/climate (i.e. Little Ice Age, malaria disease’ spread) have a role in this? Why was the abandonment process so long, complex and full of failures, despite the great capital investments? Etc…

Fig.2 – The landscape between Rusellae and Grosseto, showing the relationship between the lake or wetland area near Rusellae, the course of the Salica stream, and field systems and settlements of the Roman and later ages, in particular the monumental Roman villa at Aiali.

Archaeological and environmental questions together with and methodological issues are aimed from the one hand to push forward the understanding of the past of this area in the longue durée (1st millennium BCE-1st millennium CE) and form the other hand to stimulate changes in the way in which archaeologists in Italy in particular but also more generally in the Mediterranean world study the archaeology of landscapes, moving from an essentially site-based approach to a truly multidisciplinar landscape-scale perspective.

Fig.3 – Testing drone-based magnetometer prospection for archaeology



Stefano Campana

Work team 

University of Siena – Landscape Archaeology & Remote Sensing LAB 

University of Florence (UoF) 

CNR-ISPC Research Unit (ISPC)

Associated partners

Bruno Kessler Foundation Trento

University of Modena & Reggio Emilia