The Deep Cities team of the University of Florence explored the potential of 'Light Archaeology' at the urban level, a combined application of non-destructive archaeological stratigraphic and topographic methods, as an efficient tool to model the historical transformations of an urban area.


This tool has been developed by the Univeristy of Florence Team



Light Archaeology can be defined as:

1. non-destructive

2. historical

3. territorial (urban in the considered case studies)

4. stratigraphic


Urban transformations are by nature dynamic. They have in fact a duration, and a material transformation of the urban environment might work as a trigger for further changes, planned or unplanned, both in the short and in the long terms. For instance, it is worth considering the role played by pre-existing material remains and settings, in the site-formation processes in the longue durée.

For understanding the deep historical continuity of an urban area, it is then necessary to model the material transformations in time and space considering this cause and effect relationship, material transformation-enduring impact, mapping not a single event of change, but the urban transformation as a dynamic phenomenon.

To this end, two distinct Light Archaeology applications were developed, respectively devoted to mapping the material transformation of an urban environment (Millennium Square Diagram or ‘MSD’) and of particularly relevant buildings or architectural complexes (Stratigraphic Building Archaeology).



The team from the University of Florence would like to extend our appreciation and thanks to the many people who participated in or otherwise supported the Deep Cities activities. Our research would not have been possible without the contributions of many individuals – community members, heritage professionals, local officials, third sector groups, and others – who gave generously of their time and knowledge.

For their involvement and support in the San Donato case study, the team offer thanks to: Cecilia Del Re and Cristiano Balli of the Municipality of Florence, Archivio Storico Comunale di Firenze, the Superintendencies of Archaeology and Architecture for the metropolitan city of Florence and the provinces of Pistoia and Prato, Dr . Pierluigi Giroldini and Dr Hosea Scelza, the local community associations,  Associazione Novoli Bene Comune - Associazione Piazza San Donato - Auser Q5, students and teachers of Istituto Sassetti-Peruzzi, for supporting and participating in all our activities. 


Back to the top

Last update



I cookie di questo sito servono al suo corretto funzionamento e non raccolgono alcuna tua informazione personale. Se navighi su di esso accetti la loro presenza.  Maggiori informazioni