The main aim of the ANTIGONE project is to investigate how the disappearance of practices for managing shared environmental resources played a role in the abandonment and political marginalisation of European mountain areas from the 18th c onwards. The legacy of these processes can be seen in population levels in these areas, and in the worsening of their natural and cultural heritage. Current policies – aiming to promote their ‘heritagisation’ – do not seem likely to be more effective, in the long-term, as development interventions than the drive for rationalisation in the 19th c. and modernisation in the 20th c. A new historical perspective is needed which addresses the process of abandonment and marginalisation in its entire complexity. ANTIGONE will analyse the critical period from the 18th to the 21st c. and provide new insights into the links between individuals, communities, central States and landscape, grounded in a new understanding of the relationship between practices, resources and objects. By means of archaeological, historical, environmental, ethnological analyses, and through the comparison of case studies from European mountain areas, ANTIGONE aims to verify if alleged ‘improvement’ practices involved not just changes in management technique, but also contributed to decline in the sharing of work, time and space, with knock-on effects on the social dimension of the whole historic system. Through its multidisciplinary approach ANTIGONE aims at provide: new knowledge on the historical mechanisms underlying the abandonment of mountain and, more broadly, rural areas, as a key to understanding marginalisation; new knowledge on landscapes, practices and their features; a new methodological toolbox for interdisciplinary investigations driven by archaeology; a new role for archaeology, beyond the acknowledged one as a heritage science; new contributions to community based policies for local sustainable development and landscape management.