Protohistoric to Medieval Pastoralism in the Western Alps: The Origins and Development of Long-Distance Transhumance

Project Acronym: PATHWAy

Topics: Pastoralism, Alps, Animals, Landscapes, Mountain, Heritage

Disciplinary Fields: Archaeology, Bioarchaeology, Faunal Archaeology, Paleoenvironment, History

Summary: This project aims to study the development of long-distance pastoral transhumance (the management and movement of animals from lowland to high altitude pasture) in the Western Alps, from the Iron Age to the Medieval Period. This project is the first to adopt a regional-scale approach designed to adress theses issues via a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach. The historical approach of the project should make it possible to characterise the composition and structure of domestic herds and to understand their seasonal movements in the Western Alps (France, Italy, Switzerland). PATHWAy will use specific analyses on the teeth and bones of caprine cattle from archaeological sites to determine the provenance and mobility of the herds. The coring of alpine lakes will have to specify the impact of pastoralism on high altitude landscapes, in terms of erosion, changes in vegetation…

Project Interlocutor: Florence Mocci (Centre Camille Jullian, UMR 7299)

International Collaboration:
-Aix-Marseille University: Centre Camille Jullian; Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Préhistoire Europe Afrique; Laboratoire d’archéologie médiévale et moderne en Méditerranée
-Other French laboratories: EDYTEM (Savoie), TRACES (Toulouse)
-United Kingdom: Departement of Archaeology of University of York; University of Southampton

Project Duration: 01/01/2020 – 12/31/2021

Call of Proposal: International 2018

Website: PATHWAy

Photography Credits: K. Walsh, 2020, Pastoralisme dans les Hautes-Alpes (Haut Champsaur)

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