Written in the landscape. Places, traces, and memories of the World War I in the Sesto Dolomites (WiL)

With funding from the Research Südtirol/Alto Adige 2019

The events of World War I (WWI) are deeply inscribed in the landscape of the Sesto Dolomites as well as in the local communities. Nevertheless, the countless and extensive material traces of WWI, such as trenches, crew quarters, bunkers, inscriptions, paths, cable cars, and supply structures, have hardly been documented and scarcely researched until now, being barely visible. These elements as well as the collective and individual memories connected to them and to the war are significant for civil society– as part of both the history and the stories of the local families and communities. Places, traces of buildings, and intergenerational oral memories of WWI constitute a “hurtful” and “dark” heritage for people in a territory that is mostly famous for being Unesco World Natural Heritage and an attractive tourism destination.

Research project

This pioneering interdisciplinary project aims to unveil the complexity of the Dolomites landscape, going beyond the dichotomy natural/cultural heritage to investigate and rescue the living memories of the war embedded in sites and places. The project draws on different methodological approaches, such as conflict archaeology, archival historical documentation, socio-cultural investigation based on community-based action research, and active participation of local communities in dissemination and in co-production of a common heritage.


The Platform Cultural Heritage Cultural Production of the Faculty of Design and Art (unibz) leads the research activities in collaboration with the Faculty of Education.

The society for archaeological research Arc-team, and four associations of experts in the fields of regional and military history (Austrian Society for Fortification Research, Museum of the War of Rovereto, Bellum Aquilarum Onlus), and cultural anthropology (EVAA-Anthropological Association South Tyrol), together with the Tourism Association of Sesto, support the research and dissemination activities of the project. The expertise of the research group’s members in diverse fields, such as archaeology and history of the conflicts, cultural anthropology and geography, sociology, heritage studies and conservation, art and design, is key to the project’s interdisciplinary approach.   


This project will have a highly positive impact at the local, national and international levels, in the academic environment along with the civil society and public arena. The traces of the World War I in the Dolomites front have so far been only partially known and merely through written documents. This research project and the dissemination of its outcomes will allow local people and visitors to gain new critical insights into the dark and conflictual heritage of the war landscape, giving more significance to the Unesco World Natural Heritage Dolomites, promoting shared knowledge and social participation.

Work with Us

The project will be hiring five research assistants across various disciplines to join the research team. Please check here regularly for updates on job postings.

Research Assistant 1 (Website and App design)

Research Assistant 2 (General project management and curation)

Research Assistant 3 (Political Sociology)-This call is open through 10.12.2020

Research Assistant 4 (Contemporary History)-This call is open through 10.12.2020

Research Assistant 5 (Methods of Archaeological Research)-This call is open through 23.10.2020