Despite their importance for understanding the Romanization process in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, dispersed rural settlements have attracted little attention and, until recently, have been analyzed incorrectly. Between the 2nd and the 1st century B.C. settlements on the central coast and in the interior of Catalonia, like in other areas of the region, underwent a radical reorganization. These changes are evident in the distribution, density and functions of the settlements, although their rhythm and importance differ in each area. This process assumes the simultaneous disappearance of a number of different types of settlements and the creation of a new settlement hierarchy, especially characterized by the increase in the number of small dispersed agricultural villages. This situation must be viewed in relation to the overall gradual changes resulting from the inclusion of the territory in the Roman provincial system and the development of new socioeconomic structures. This process of change can be most clearly seen on the coast closest to Tarraco, which was becoming one of the centres of republican Hispania.