Castrum of Murge di Santa Caterina, Rocca Imperiale (CS), Calabria

The boundaries of the land depending upon the Byzantine Empire witnessed constant changes between the 6th and the 11th century, thus altering the entity of the dependant territories and their yield in resources, agriculture and taxation. Indeed, as Jean-Marie Martin and Ghislaine Noyé (1989) have observed in their study on Liburia (northern Campania), such boundaries were rarely, if ever, linear. They do, however, often appear to be secured by kastra, such as the string of forts erected in northern Apulia, of which one, Vaccarizza (FG), has been excavated and dates from the 10th century.

The project thus proposes to explore the frontiers between Byzantine and neighbouring territories (Lombard, Arab in Sicily and sometimes in continental Italy, etc.). The determination of these boundaries and their changes over time corresponds with the analysis of large fluctuating territories, in which cultural, commercial and linguistic contacts and exchange defined mixed ethnic and political identities, at times created through an osmosis between different population groups and societies. One need only think of the enormous changes in the size of territory with the reductions due to the Arab invasions of Sicily, or the gains in southern Italy during the conquest of Emperor Basil I in the later 9th century. An archaeological evaluation of frontier territories and administration, alongside documentary sources, requires the study of material culture, settlement, monetary circulation, inscriptions and seals, anthropology, etc., alsothrough the use of a GIS.