In 2000, a multi-disciplinary team under the direction of Prof. Frank Vermeulen, started a very intensive survey of an Adriatic valley. Denominated 'Potenza Valley Survey' (PVS), this research project aims at measuring the evolution of social complexity during Antiquity in a specific part of Central Italy. The fieldwork operations in the valley of the river Potenza included systematic archaeological field walking, active aerial photography, artefact studies, re-study of excavated evidence, detailed geomorphologic field mapping, geophysical surveys and topographic analysis. During the years these interdisciplinary and mostly non-invasive approaches allowed to obtain a new holistic synthesis of the occupation history in this territory, with a special emphasis on the protohistoric, Roman and early medieval periods.
Typical research questions focus on the topographical organization of the Iron Age society of Picene populations in the region, the military and rural colonization of the valley by Rome, and the Lombard takeover and settlement dynamics.
Since 2005, a major focus of the project is the study of the urbanization of the valley in Roman times. The four urban sites located in this area are now all quasi abandoned and the application of a wide range of non-destructive techniques contributes to the intensive study of early urbanization, Romanization and ancient topography.
The main fieldwork activities in this project have been finalised in 2021, while the last phase of studying the material inds and synthesis publications is ongoing. Major information can be found on: https://www.potenza.ugent.be/