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Rottoli M.,Laboratorio Of Archeobiologia
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

Archaeobotanical and archaeozoological research about Early Middle Age in Northern Italy testify a very diversified use of vegetal and animal resources. Several types of cereals and legumes are cultivated; fruits and vegetables are grown and at same time spontaneous plant species are collected. Together with the breeding of pigs, goats, sheep and cattle, hunting and fishing are widespread. We discuss the possible causes of the utilization of such a broad spectrum of resources in relation to social and economic factors (such as the political instability, the absence of trade, the population decline). We suggest that the hypothesis derived from archaeobiological data could modify and moreover enrich the hypothesis made on the basis of historical sources. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. Source

Mercuri A.M.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Allevato E.,University of Naples Federico II | Arobba D.,Museo Archeologico del Finale | Mazzanti M.B.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | And 24 more authors.
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Year: 2015

Over the lastmillennia, the land between the Alps and theMediterranean Sea, characterized by extraordinary habitat diversity, has seen an outstanding cross-cultural development. For the first time, this paper reports on the census of the Holocene archaeological sites that have been studied as part of archaeobotany in Italy (continental Italy, the Italian peninsula and islands) over the last quarter in a century. Pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, seeds and fruits, woods/charcoals and other plant remains have all been analysed in multidisciplinary researches. A list of 630 sites has been provided by more than 15 archaeobotanical teams. The sites are located across the 20 regions of Italy, and in the Republic of San Marino (356 sites in northern Italy, 118 in central Italy, 156 in southern Italy and on the islands). They belong to several cultural phases: 321 sites are only pre-Roman, 264 are Roman/post-Roman, and 45 sites cover a broader range of time, present in both time spans. Site distribution is plotted in maps of site density according to geographical districts and the main chronological phases. The reference list helps to find analytical data referring to the descriptive papers thatmay be scattered throughoutmonographs and specific books on the matter. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Kaltenrieder P.,University of Bern | Procacci G.,Laboratorio Of Archeobiologia | Vanniere B.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Tinner W.,ETH Zurich
Holocene | Year: 2010

We reconstruct the vegetational and fire history of the Colli Euganei and northeastern Po Plain from c. 16 500 cal. BP to the present using AMS-dated sedimentary pollen, microscopic and macroscopic charcoal records. Our study site, Lago della Costa, is the only natural water basin with an undisturbed late-Quaternary sediment accumulation in the northeastern Po Plain. Mixed coniferous-deciduous forests occurred since at latest 14 500 cal. BP. Gradual expansion of e.g. Alnus glutinosa and Carpinus betulus is documented after c. 11 000 cal. BP. A further expansion of Abies alba and Alnus at 9200 cal. BP coincided with a population buildup of these species in the Insubrian region c. 200 km northwest of our site. A further increase of Alnus about 6400 cal. BP was accompanied by an expansion of Castanea sativa and Juglans regia as well as meadow and field plants. This vegetational change was contemporaneous with a huge increase of regional and local fire activity. Our data suggest that fire disturbance favoured strong and moderate re-sprouters, e.g. Alnus, Carpinus and Castanea, whereas fire-sensitive taxa, e.g. Tilia and Abies were disadvantaged. The close link between crops, weeds and fire activity suggests human impact as the main source of changes in Neolithic vegetation and fire regime. To our knowledge these are the oldest palaeobotanical data suggesting the cultivation of Castanea and Juglans in Europe and elsewhere. Our pollen and charcoal records document the subsequent cultivation of Castanea, Juglans, Olea and Cerealia t. during the Bronze Age (4150-2750 cal. BP). Subsequently, intensification of land use continued during the Iron and Roman Age and Medieval times. In contrast with other northern Italian sites vegetation around our site was always rather open with a substantial proportion covered by grassland. We explain this peculiarity of the site by its location near river banks and floodlands. © The Author(s) 2010. Source

Rottoli M.,Laboratorio Of Archeobiologia | Castiglioni E.,Laboratorio Of Archeobiologia
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany | Year: 2011

This paper reviews the remains of plants (cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables) used as offerings in cremation burials in northern Italian Roman cemeteries between the 1st century b. c. and the 3rd century a. d. The custom of burning plant offerings on the funeral pyre was widespread in the Iron Age, but in the Roman Empire such offerings became more frequent and abundant, with fruit being prevalent and also the recurrent use of various prepared foods (bread, cakes and suchlike). In each cemetery this general scheme exhibits variations probably due to individual, social, ritual and economic differences, but this impression must be still confirmed. The absence of a systematic sampling strategy does not permit a statistical approach to offering data. The aim of this article is to encourage archaeologists and archaeobotanists to pay more attention to methodology in sampling. This would also permit careful comparison of the archaeobotanical data with archaeological, anthropological and historical information and that from written sources. The consistently recorded presence of fruit in cemeteries makes it possible to investigate some aspects of the introduction, cultivation and marketing of certain food plants in northern Italy. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

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