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Sourcebook for Garden Archaeology

Methods, Techniques, Interpretations and Field Examples


Edited By Amina-Aïcha Malek

The Sourcebook for Garden Archaeology addresses the increasing need among archaeologists, who discover a garden during their own excavation project, for advice and update on current issues in garden archaeology. It also aims at stimulating broader interest in garden archaeology. Archaeologists with no specific training in garden archaeology will read about specific problems of soil archaeology with a handful of well-developed techniques, critical discussions and a number of extremely different uses. Methods are described in sufficient detail for any archaeologist to engage into field work, adapt them to their own context and develop their own methodology. While the Sourcebook aims at bringing together different disciplines related to garden archaeology and providing an overview of present knowledge, it also hopes to encourage development of new directions for the future.


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Part I A Short History of Garden Archaeology 19


Part I A Short History of Garden Archaeology Preamble What do archaeologists look for when looking for gardens? Amina-Aïcha MALEK Garden archaeology is not a distinct discipline, but rather a sub- discipline only now emerging among the numerous institutions and organizations that support the excavation and study of historic and prehistoric sites and artifacts. Instead, individual archaeologists at various times and places have stumbled upon or, sometimes, deliberately excavated gardens in their own research directed at various questions about the past. Those who have excavated gardens have encountered similar issues and have studily gathered since the late 20th century to compare issues and methodologies of garden archaeology regionally and now internationally. The following introductory chapter reviews some of the first archaeological projects deliberately engaged with garden archeology. These studies form the foundations upon which current and future work and, potentially, future organizations for garden archaeology may be developed. Scholars have approached the study of gardens from the perspective of “verbal and visual analysis” in order to understand their meaning and their development. But archaeological evidence also has proven to be an important source of information. Depending on the context (period, state of conservation of the site, development of techniques) archaeology enriches understandings of gardens based on texts and also contributes to the disclosure of new information that would not have been known solely by dependence on texts. The most spectacular example of the contribution of garden archaeology is the systematic archaeological exploration of the Roman gardens in the Vesuvian...

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