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Students from the “Dante Alighieri” junior high school in Nonantola (Modena) experimented with archaeological and natural history research methods to get to know up-close an ancient and unique land management system. The project dedicated to “The partecipanza agraria collective ownership system in Nonantola: a thousand years of history from archaeology to the environment” – selected as part of the third edition of the “I love cultural heritage” competition of ideas (2013-2014) – focused the students’ attention on the history of an institution that began with a 1058 Charter by the Abbot Gotescalco of Nonantola. The charter gave the inhabitants of Nonantola the right to use agricultural land within the boundaries of the town. Currently the Partecipanza covers a surface area of about 760 hectares, devoted mainly to agriculture.
After some historical research, the students acquired field experience thanks to a natural history visit to the Partecipanza woodlot and archaeological digs at the Roman site of Via Oppio, located on Partecipanza land, where they were able to participate first-hand in archaeological work.