New article published by Cruz Ferro-Vázquez, Rebeca Blanco-Rotea, Jorge Sanjurjo-Sánchez, Sonia García-Rodríguez and Marco V. García Quintela in Land.
Landscape multifunctionality is increasingly recognized as an important aspect in sustainability and developmental debates. Yet, how and why a multifunctional landscape configuration develops over time has not been sufficiently studied. Here we present the geoarchaeological investigation of the Santa Mariña de Augas Santas site, in northwestern Spain. We focus on the role of religious practice, and of its interplay with productive strategies, in landscape transformation. A geochemical, mineralogical, and geochronological characterization of the pedo-sedimentary record (including XRF, EA-IRMS, XRD, OSL and 14C measurements) allowed to characterize catchment scale sedimentation processes in relation to agricultural activities. The geographical and chronological coincidence of production functions with documented religious activities demonstrate that both aspects shared geographical spaces during the last millennium. Current landscape multifunctionality at Santa Mariña is thus not the final outcome of a specific evolution, but an essential aspect of traditional land use strategies through history and a driver of change. This work highlights the need of a long-term study of the processes of landscape configuration when assessing the sustainability of traditional productive systems.