Subject and program

The course concerns the Late Antique and Early Medieval archaeology (300-800 AD) in the Mediterranean world. By analysing the archaeological remains (buildings and material culture), it offers an overview of the transitional phenomena of the Roman culture in the West and in the East.

In particular it is organised around six sections. Each section will draw the guidelines of the general topic and some case studies:

1. Introduction

- The historical framework and the religious and political institutions

- Defining a discipline: methods, approaches and topics

2.Urban transformations: towards  new city model

- The end of the roman urbes?

- Case studies: Milan (Italy), Butrint (Albania), Hierapolis (Turkey) 

3. New types of settlement?

- The changes in rural landscape and high ground fortresses

- Case studies: Lezha and Komani (Albania) 

4. The religious buildings

- Typology and approaches

- Case studies: the episcopal complex: the Lateran (Italy);

the baptistry and the ritual between Milan and the Proconsularis Africa;

the martyrium of St. Laurence in Milan (Italy);

the structure of the monastic community: in the West St. Denis (France), in the East Mar Gabriel (Turkey) 

5. The archaeology of death and burial

- The changes in the funerary practices

- Case studies: the catacombs of St. Januarius in Naples; the “inhumation habillée”: the Sutton Hoo burial 

6. Material culture, technology and archaeometry to trace a new economy

- Amphorae and trade

- Glass and trade


Aims and competences to achieve

The main targets of this course are:

  1. Know the main topics of Late Antique and Early Medieval archaeology and exemplify these topics with case studies
  2. Connect the archaeological remains with the historical phenomena
  3. Acquire a specific vocabulary of this discipline
  4. Build a personal bibliography about each topic
  5. Develop a critical analysis of written and material sources


Evaluation methods

50% written dissertation/paper: 5 pages about a topic agreed/defined with a lecturer, with a critical apparat of notes and literature

50% oral discussion



The Oxford handbook of Early Christian archaeology, ed. by David Pettegrew, William R. Caraher, Thomas W. Davis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2019.

Vrbes Extinctae. Archaologies of Abandoned Classical Towns, ed. by Neil Christie and Andrea Augenti, Ashgate, Farnham, 2012.


As consultative literature:

Recent Research in Late-Antique Urbanism, ed. by Luke Lavan, Averil Cameron, Willam Bowden, Brill, 2001.

Theory and Practice in Late Antique Archaeology, ed. by Christopher Wickham, Luke Lavan, et al., Brill, 2003.

Technology in Transition A.D. 300-650, ed. by Luke Lavan & Enrico Zanini, Brill, 2008.

Field Methods and Post-Excavation Techniques in Late Antique Archaeology ed. Luke Lavan & Michael Mulryan, Brill, 2016.


A literature for each specific case of study will be detailed at the end of each section and at the end of each lecture.


 Other activities



Students will be invited to attend the professor's seminars:

-        Methodologies: seminar series “Techniques au top” (9 April, 7 May and 11 June 2021, in French; mandatory registration at ; program at

-        Methodologies: “Données de la recherche” (28 May 2021, in French; mandatory registration at

-        Medieval wall decoration in archaeology (7 April 2021, in French,

-        Sculpture and architecture (12 April 2021, in French,