Interuniversity Research Center for the study and promotion of Prehistoric cultures, technologies and landscapes - CRISP

In 2009 the University of Siena – I-, the University of Rome “La Sapienza” – I- and the University of Tromsø –NO- signed an agreement for the establishment and operation of an Interuniversity Research Center for the study and promotion of Prehistoric cultures, technologies and landscapes - CRISP.

The three University are involved in research activities related to Prehistory and they all are interested in study methodology based on Spatial analysis in archaeology, Experimental archaeology, Antrhropology and Ethnografy and  diffusion of scientific knowledge by means of musealisation.

The Centre is based at the University of Siena, Department of History and cultural heritage

CRISP’s Executive Board

- Director - Nicoletta Volante Department of History and cultural heritage - University of Siena;

- Vice-director - Cristina Lemorini Department of Archaeology - University of Rome “La Sapienza”

- Hans Peter Blankholm - Department of Archaeology - University of Tromsø,

Scientific secretary

- Giovanna Pizziolo

Finalità e funzioni del CRISP

Objectives and Tasks

The Centre intends to carry out research in the field of prehistoric archaeology to identify and define cultures and facies, ancient manufacturing technologies, environment and landscapes. This involves the following sectors:

a)      identification of habitual settlements, settlement strategies, routes of travel and communication, identification of specific environmental resources of the soil and subsoil, including the presence and exploitation of certain raw materials in the various areas;

b)     development of the concept and research  of “prehistoric land/seascape” and cultural research management;

c)      reproduction of ancient production cycles and manufacturing technologies and use of manufactured products;

d)     developing methods for the typological analysis of manufactured products.

  1. The objectives set forth will be pursued focusing on the use of investigation methods related to the fields of Experimental Archaeology, Archaeometry, Palaeoecology, Landscape Archaeology and Geotechnology.
  2. The purpose of the CRISP is to:

a)      promote and carry out research activities at the facilities of the participating universities and at the research sites in Italy and abroad where the universities carry out archaeological assignments;

b)     disseminate information, for example by organizing conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and participating in teaching activities organized by the universities represented or by other qualified research and training institutions that collaborate in the research activities of the CRISP;

c)      promote a conscious outreach policy for the popularization of prehistoric archaeological heritage through publications, workshops, temporary exhibitions, “musealisation” in traditional and open air museums, reproductions, living history events and demonstrations by means of Experimental archaeology;

d)     promote and coordinate the activities of the Centre’s teaching staff, researchers and technicians in their respective structures;

e)      propose specific projects for basic, applied or targeted research.

  1. In carrying out its tasks, the CRISP cooperates with any University and non-University partners that has competence regarding the respective initiatives.
  2. From his start the CRISP provides scientific consulting for the management of the   Archeodrome and Archaeological and Naturalistic Park of Belverde on Cetona Mountain (Cetona – Siena), one of the first  OAM in Tuscany.
  3. The CRISP is interested in  recovery and preservation of ancient technologies, knowledge and learning thanks to the collaboration with teachers and experts in traditional crafts.


Researches by the mean of the Experimental archaeology:

Pyrotechnology applied to archaeometallurgy, firing pottery, lithic knapping;
Pottery and lithic technology and uses;

Archaeometallurgy of Copper;
Buildings technology;

Fire setting in mining activities;

Textile technology;


The CRISP collaborates with schools for teaching the oldest human history;

promotes the preservation and recovery  of the traditional method of transmission of knowledge following the idea of “learning by doing” by the means of experimental activities.

promotes and supports projects of revival of the local handicrafts such as with the Camera di Commercio of Grosseto and Sesto Fiorentino Districts

Constitution of a prehistoric Archeodrome located in the Cetona Mountain (Cetona – Siena)