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Brandolini P.,University of Genoa | Faccini F.,University of Genoa | Robbiano A.,Studio Associato di Geologia Tecnica e Ambientale | Bulgarelli F.,Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Liguria
Geoingegneria Ambientale e Mineraria | Year: 2011

The strong relationship between an area's natural resources and its human activities has dramatically affected the cultural and economic development of entire populations. From this perspective, the management and use of stone materials are extremely important for preserving an area's history and enhancing local stones. An important archaeological site exists in the Ponci valley, in the Western Liguria (Italy) hinterland with geological and environmental peculiarities of international interest. The Via Iulia Augusta, an internal alternative to the Via Aurelia, was built along this valley 2000 years ago. The road is crossed by five bridges that make it among the most important and monumental evidence of Roman communication routes in Liguria. This paper highlights the value of this site with respect to the successful management of local stone supplies within the context of building a strategic communication route and structures related to it during the Roman period. Source

Bini M.,University of Pisa | Bruckner H.,University of Cologne | Chelli A.,University of Parma | Pappalardo M.,University of Pisa | And 2 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2012

The Roman city of Luna founded in 177 BC (2127 BP) and located in NW Italy was famed for its port, from which the prized "marble of Carrara" was shipped. Despite decades of archaeological surveys, the exact location of this harbour is unknown to date. Progress in the palaeogeographic reconstruction of the Magra Valley coastal plain surrounding the ruins of Luna has been possible thanks to the collection and analysis of six cores, supported by radiocarbon dates and microfauna analyses. The late Holocene evolution of the Luna surroundings was reconstructed starting from the maximum Holocene transgression. The latter was identified from lagoonal sediments which are chronologically connected with the most landward position attained by the shoreline after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Lagoon sediments are topped by swamp and floodplain deposits. A climate fluctuation was identified in the stratigraphic record, which correlates with the first Neoglacial cooling episode. The coastal plain underwent major landscape changes over the last three millennia. A few centuries before the colony was founded, the territory was characterized by a complex delta architecture, made of swamps and marshes limited by dune ridges and fluvial sand bars. The positions of these morphological features were not fixed; they shifted, depending on the spatial interaction between the coastline and the drainage network of the plain. In this paper, we present new data to improve our understanding of the environmental constraints determining the position and setting of the ancient harbour of Luna. We suggest that its location could be searched for in the water basin once present west of the city, at a distance of more than 0.25. km. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

Douka K.,University of Oxford | Grimaldi S.,University of Trento | Boschian G.,University of Pisa | del Lucchese A.,Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Liguria | Higham T.F.G.,University of Oxford
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2012

The rockshelter of Mochi, on the Ligurian coast of Italy, is often used as a reference point in the formation of hypotheses concerning the arrival of the Aurigancian in Mediterranean Europe. Yet, the site is poorly known. Here, we describe the stratigraphic sequence based on new field observations and present 15 radiocarbon determinations from the Middle Palaeolithic (late Mousterian) and Early Upper Palaeolithic (Aurignacian and Gravettian) levels. The majority of dates were produced on humanly modified material, specifically marine shell beads, which comprise some of the oldest directly-dated personal ornaments in Europe. The radiocarbon results are incorporated into a Bayesian statistical model to build a new chronological framework for this key Palaeolithic site. A tentative correlation of the stratigraphy to palaeoclimatic records is also attempted. © 2011. Source

Arobba D.,Museo Archeologico del Finale | Bulgarelli F.,Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Liguria | Siniscalco C.,University of Turin | Caramiello R.,University of Turin
Environmental Archaeology | Year: 2013

The results of an analysis on plant remains (fruit, seeds, pollen and wood) found in sediments in a Roman well in Vada Sabatia (Vado Ligure, Liguria, Italy), dated between the first and fourth centuries AD are presented. The remains are well preserved and constitute an exceptional record of the Ligurian area. Five layers have been recognised: three corresponding to the well when in use and two to the well when it was no longer in use. The vegetational cover of the area has been found to be similar to that observed in the coastal plain near Albingaunum (Albenga) pertaining to the same period. Moreover, the two superficial layers have cumulated a large amount of macroremains related to the period in which the well was no longer in use. The principal tree and vegetable crops and cereals of the coastal plain were present, due to the influence of maritime and mercantile trade, as were the prevailing ruderal and weed species and the tree cover. The presence of carpological remains of Castanea sativa, Secale cereale, Beta vulgaris and Cucumis sativus is reported for the first time in the Roman Age in Liguria. The influence of the arrival of the Romans can be seen from new crops, such as Prunus persica, and the introduction of exotic fruit like Phoenix dactylifera and Ziziphus jujuba. Several wooden artefacts, for example, a rack for drying lucerne and a tool handle, made of Cornus or Viburnum and Viburnum cf. lantana respectively, have been found. The well has proved to be an ideal location for the preservation of plant remains compared with other studied archaeological situations in Liguria and in Southern France, as it presents a higher variety of cultivated fruits, vegetables and cereals. © Association for Environmental Archaeology 2013. Source

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