Debates surrounding late antique societies have attracted renewed interest from an archaeological perspective. Attention given to this period between the fifth and the eighth centuries reflects present-day issues closely related to urban landscapes and long-term change in the human occupation of space. The aim of the ULP.PILAEMA Project is to examine the interaction of new elites on urban life between the late Roman and early Middle Ages through the study of the main components of townscape. The project is articulated around a series of key Spanish case studies selected on the basis of the quality of their architecture and topography and the reconstructions that this evidence facilitates for late antiquity. Taken together, the examples chosen present a coherent and up-to-date perspective of how cities transformed as symbolic places. The goal of the project is to explore ways in which topographies of governance were configured and to identify urban patterns to compare with other places and regions in Western Europe. Understanding the rise of bishoprics, monasteries and official buildings and their built environment as an expression of social interactions has allowed us to explain the origins and development of early medieval centres of power in Spain.