Pakistan (on-going): Barikot, Swat valley. ISMEO-Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan (ISMEO-IAMP); ACT-Archaeology Community Tourism Field School Project (Pakistan-Italian Debt-Swap Agreement; Ministero degli Affari Esteri/Economic Affairs Division, Pakistan).
Afghanistan: Mes Aynak, Logar province. Unesco Project: “Mes Aynak, Consultancy Services in GIS/Topographic and Archaeological Survey”
Iran: Persepolis, Fars. Project: “From Palace to Town”. Iranian Centre for Archeological Research (ICAR), Parsa-Pasargadae Research Foundation (PPRF), Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna (Unibo), Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (IsIAO)
Mapping Urban and Religious Changes in Ancient Swat/Uḍḍiyāna (1st–10th c. CE): The Hinterland and Its City
My research focusses on the role played by early Buddhism and early monasticism in the formation, transformation and resilience of the polycentric urban model. The project analyses the characteristics of the double-crop pocket zones of the north-west of the Indian Subcontinent during the 1st millennium CE. This wide chronological frame aims at highlighting continuities and innovations in the long-term interplay between cities and ‘rural’ Buddhist centres, and the related re-conceptualisations of urban spaces and spatialities within different economic and political situations.
My specific interest regards three main sets of questions that engage with multiple socio-spatial settings of religion and the urban: How and what extent did Buddhist spaces and spatialities, traditionally placed in the countryside, release and retain the socio-economic aspects of the urban and urbanity beyond the city boundaries? How did the socio-spatial complexities of the city shape urban lived ancient religions in terms of spaces, media of communication and practices? How did Buddhism and other competing religions cope in terms of ideas, materiality and visibility with the crisis of cities? The contextual analysis of material culture is based on the archaeological documentation collected in Swat (NW Pakistan) by the ISMEO-IAMP (since 1965) over the past years and on ongoing question-oriented fieldwork carried out at the ancient city of Barikot and its hinterland.