Dr. Angelo Castrorao Barba
February 2023 - March 2023
Research Project: Panormos/Balarm (Palermo, Sicily) during Byzantine and Islamic ages (6th-11th c. AD): archaeological perspectives on urban, suburban and rural changes
In the framework of the geopolitical dynamics of the Early Medieval Mediterranean, Sicily represent a key-palimpsest for understanding the impact and the patter of change of Byzantine and Islamic societies from 6th and 11th c. AD. In particular, the city of Palermo and its transformation between a Byzantine city (Panormos) into an Islamic capital (Balarm or Madīnat Ṣiqilliyya) is an extraordinary case study for providing new insights and archaeological perspectives on the phenomenon of transition from Late Antique/Byzantine city/polis into and Islamic madina The relationship between urban changes and the settlement and economic dynamic the related suburban and rural areas is another crucial point for a comprehensive analysis on Byzantine/Islamic transition. This project aims to analyse some current archaeological data on changes in topography, settlement patterns, material culture, economy and human-environment interactions in urban, suburban and rural areas of Palermo between the Byzantine and Islamic periods.
Dr. Angelo Castrorao Barba is post-doc researcher in the PASIFIC programme funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (H2020-MSCA-COFUND-2018), hosted by The Polish Academy of Sciences-Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology / Centre for Late Antique and Early Medieval Studies (Warsaw/Wrocław, Poland) as PI of the project "IS_LANDAS Islamicate landscapes in southern Andalusia and western Sicily: patterns of change in settlements and rural communities between Late Antiquity and the Islamic age”. He held his PhD 2013 in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Siena (2013) and specialist of changes in rural settlement patterns from the Roman period to Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages in the Mediterranean area and in particular of Sicily during Late Antiquity, Byzantine and Islamic periods. He was postdoc researcher at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) / Escuela de Estudios Árabes (EEA) of Granada (Spain), the DFG Center for Advanced Studies ‘Migration and Mobility in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages’ of the University of Tübingen and the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). He was field-director and researcher in the project “Harvesting Memories: Ecology and Archaeology of Monti Sicani landscapes (Central-Western Sicily)” (University of Palermo). He is also PI of two projects focused in Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic Sicily: “The suburbium of Balarm (Palermo, Sicily) during the Islamic period (AD 831- 1071/1072): new archaeological perspectives” funded by The Barakat Trust (2021-2022); “Patterns of change in the countryside of Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic Sicily (5th–11th c. AD): settlements, agrarian estates, economy and environment” funded by Gerda Henkel Stiftung (2023-2024). His major publications include La fine delle ville romane in Italia tra tarda antichità e alto medioevo (III-VIII secolo) (Edipuglia 2020) and the edition of the collective volume Dinamiche insediative nelle campagne dell'Italia tra Tarda Antichità e Alto Medioevo (Archaeopress Archaeology 2018).
Castrorao Barba, Angelo et al. (2021), "The Sicilian Countryside in the Early Middle Ages: Human–Environment Interactions at Contrada Castro", Environmental Archaeology April 2021.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo (2020a), La fine delle ville romane in Italia tra Tarda Antichità e Alto Medioevo (III-VIII secolo) (MUNERA 49), Bari: Edipuglia.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo / Todaro, Pietro / Barbera Giuseppe / Bazan Giuseppe (2020b), "Qanāts and historical irrigated landscapes in Palermo’s suburban area (Sicily)", PCA: European Journal of Postclassical Archaeologies 10, 335-370.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo et al. (2020c), "Nuovi dati sull'occupazione altomedievale dell'insediamento di Contrada Castro (Corleone, Palermo) nell'area dei Monti Sicani", FOLD&R the Journal of Fasti Online 468, 1-15.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo, ed. (2018a), Dinamiche insediative nelle campagne dell'Italia tra Tarda Antichità e Alto Medioevo / Settlement patterns in the countryside of Italy between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Limina/Limites: Archaeologies, histories, islands and borders in the Mediterranean (365-1556), 6), Oxford: Archaeopress Archaeology.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo (2018b), "Metalworking in the 'Post-Classical' phases of Roman Villas in Italy (5th-7th centuries AD)", Mélanges de l'École française de Rome - Moyen Âge 129.2, 411-425.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo / Rotolo, Antonio / Bazan, Giuseppe / Marino, Pasquale / Vassallo, Stefano (2017), "Long-term human occupation of a rural landscape in Central-Western Sicily (Castro/Giardinello Valley and Mt Barraù): Harvesting Memories project case study, ArkeoGazte", Revista de arqueología - Arkelogia aldizkaria 7, 175-192.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo (2016), "Sicily before the Muslims. The Transformation of the Roman Villas between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Fourth to Eighth Centuries CE", Journal of Transcultural Medieval Studies 3, 145-190.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo (2015), "Entroterra tra due mari: il territorio di Castronovo di Sicilia (Palermo) in età romana e bizantina", in: Franco Cambi / Giovanni De Venuto / Roberto Goffredo, eds., Storia e Archeologia Globale 2. I pascoli, i campi, il mare: paesaggi d'altura e di pianura in Italia dall'Età del Bronzo al Medioevo, Bari: Edipuglia, 253-267.
Castrorao Barba, Angelo (2014), "Continuità topografica in discontinuità funzionale: trasformazioni e riusi delle ville romane in Italia tra III e VIII secolo", PCA: The European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies 4, 259-296.