Short- and long-distance transhumant systems and the commons in post-classical archaeology
Beginning with a discussion of the first results of the multidisciplinary Archimede research project, this chapter discusses the problems associated with the archaeological study of short- and long-distance transhumant movements and the different possibilities that exist for distinguishing between them. It seeks to connect common lands and seasonal settlements by following the various types of transhumant movement. The chapter then reflects on how the study of these movements can provide opportunities to 'spatialize' the relations between the various social groups involved and understand the ways in which movements were historically reconciled. It also presents case studies that facilitate the discussion of possible indicators of vertical and horizontal transhumance practices. Short-distance transhumance is a clear example of the vertical exploitation of mountain resources, and of commons that could influence settlement patterns and present-day administrative boundaries. Long-distance transhumance resulted from social, economic and political differences between communities, even when they were separated by considerable geographic distances across state boundaries.