Integrated design and management of vegetation at archaeological sites to protect monuments and enhance the historical landscape

M. Papafotiou, E. Kanellou, G. Economou
Vegetation is an integral part of archaeological sites contributing to their character and beauty. Often, however, abundant wild species grow uncontrolled causing various problems, both to the monuments and the functionality of the site, while conventional methods of weed control can cause additional deterioration to the monument and the environment. The aim of this program was firstly the development of environmental and monument friendly methods to control spontaneous vegetation and secondly the integration of these methods in the design of the archaeological site landscape. Seven archaeological sites scattered throughout Greece, selected according to their geographic location (climate), were surveyed, which resulted in the provision of information on the characteristics of the spontaneous vegetation. Flame weeding and soil solarization were adapted for effective use in archaeological sites, as alternative weed control methods, and methodology on selective use of herbicides and plant growth regulators to address specific weed problems was developed. Various mortars used as paving materials to accommodate visitor access and appropriate burial of mosaics not-displayed were evaluated as for their effectiveness to prevent weed emergence, safety for the monument and aesthetics. Fifteen native shrubby plant species characteristic of the east Mediterranean flora, known since antiquity, were selected for their suitability to enhance the archaeological landscape and the safe use towards monuments; propagation protocols and cultivation techniques were developed and their establishment and adaptability to archaeological sites were evaluated. Mixes of herbaceous plant species recorded in archaeological sites were evaluated in laboratory plots and in situ, as for the potential to establish a groundcover that prevents growth of destructive weeds and enhances the landscape. Two promising flower meadows and maintenance techniques were developed. Finally, guidelines that integrate environmental and monument friendly methods to control unwanted vegetation with design principles were developed to give new space, function and semantic structure to archaeological sites. Case studies for three archaeological sites were made.
Papafotiou, M., Kanellou, E. and Economou, G. (2017). Integrated design and management of vegetation at archaeological sites to protect monuments and enhance the historical landscape. Acta Hortic. 1189, 1-10
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1189.1
environmentally friendly weed control, flame weeding, solarization, inert materials, native plants, wild flower meadows

Acta Horticulturae