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Mercuri A.M.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Torri P.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Florenzano A.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Marchesini M.,Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dellEmilia Romagna
Quaternary Science Reviews

The sedimentary infilling of the moat surrounding the Villaggio Piccolo of the Terramara Santa Rosa di Poviglio was analysed in order to obtain palaeoenvironmental inferences from sediments and pollen assemblage. The high-resolution stratigraphic sequence preserves evidence of the environmental changes that occurred in the Po Plain, in Northern Italy, during the Late Holocene. Our interdisciplinary approach permitted to study climatic and anthropic contributions to the environmental changes in this region. The relationships between these changes and land-use changes were investigated focussing on adaptive strategies of the Terramare people during the Middle and Recent Bronze ages (1550-1170 yr BC). The Terramare are archaeological remains of banked and moated villages, located in the central alluvial plain of the Po river. The Terramara of Santa Rosa consists of two adjoining settlements (Villaggio Grande and Villaggio Piccolo); the moat that separates the two parts of the site is c. 23 m large and reaches a maximum depth of 4 m from the extant ground level. The stratigraphic sequence VP/VG exposed by archaeological excavation inside the moat was sampled for pedosedimentary, thin section, and pollen analyses. Chronology is based on archaeological evidence, stratigraphic correlations and radiocarbon dating. Pedosedimentary features and biological records (pollen of aquatics and algal remains) demonstrate that shallow water, probably subjected to seasonal water-level oscillations, has always been present in the moat. In the lower units of the sequence, the laminations indicate standing water, while occurrence of reworked pollen testified the supply of sediments to the plain from catchment zones located in the Apennine. Open vegetation was widespread; economy was based on wood management, fruit collection on the wild or from cultivated woody plants, crop fields with a fairly diversified set of cereals especially increasing in variety during dryness or phases of water crisis. Probably, grapevines were cultivated near the moat, where the wet habitat was favourable to the growing of wild plants. The extraordinary high-resolution of this sequence makes visible the management of woods (including coppicing) at the Middle Bronze and early Recent Bronze ages. The economy of Santa Rosa di Poviglio should have been probably less based on animal breeding than it was in the other Terramare villages already studied for pollen. This research also confirms the chronological correspondence between an environment stressed by dry conditions and the collapse of the Terramare civilization. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Bersani D.,University of Parma | Lottici P.P.,University of Parma | Virgenti S.,University of Parma | Sodo A.,Third University of Rome | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Raman Spectroscopy

A ceramic factory with at least three kilns, active from the 14th centuryuntil the 17th century, was recently found close to the city walls of Parma(Italy). A series of measurements by different techniques was performed onpottery fragments belonging to the first and last production period. Micro-Ramanspectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopywere used to study the glazes and the painting materials, while time-of-flightneutron diffraction and X-ray diffraction were used to characterize the ceramicbodies. The bodies are mainly composed by quartz, diopside, Na- and K-richalkali feldspars, gehlenite, calcite, and silica-alumina glass; the redcoloration is due to hematite. The glazes were obtained using a lead-silicaglass, with a fictive temperature of about 600 °C. The main pigments wereidentified. The ceramics were produced from illitic calcareous clays andannealed in an oxidizing atmosphere at an estimated temperature of 900-1000°C. Different amounts of magnesium in ceramics of the 14th and 17th centurysuggest the use of different quarries. The white pigment in the 17th centuryceramics, showing the Raman spectrum of nearly pure anatase, is due to atitanium-bearing clay. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Marvelli S.,Laboratorio Of Palinologia E Archeobotanica | De'Siena S.,University of Ferrara | Rizzoli E.,Laboratorio Of Palinologia E Archeobotanica | Marchesini M.,Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dellEmilia Romagna
Annali di Botanica

Grapevine remains show that this plant has been important for humans since ancient times. this paper presents a synthesis of archaeobotanical studies on grapevine remains (pollen, wood, charcoal, seed/fruit and other botanical remains) from epigravettian to bronze age sites. carpological remains are the most important ones, because they often allow to distinguish cultivated and wild grapevines. Grapevine findings are rare in Mesolithic sites, they increase during Neolithic period and become frequent in bronze age. archaeobotanical data show that during Neolithic and in the early bronze age a good level of knowledge concerning grapevine utilization was already acquired; during Middle and late bronze age the grapevine diffusion increases. based on archaeobotanical data, the wild grapevine evolution by indigenous people was probably accompanied by an input of allochtonous vines from Mycenaean world, and then from hellenic world. therefore, the critical period of grapevine domestication can be placed between bronze age and early iron age. 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

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

Cremonini S.,University of Bologna | Labate D.,Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dellEmilia Romagna | Curina R.,Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dellEmilia Romagna
Quaternary International

For about four decades in Italy local, scientific literature has occasionally dealt with fluvial avulsions, suggesting they should be considered as genetically linked to a peculiar climatic worsening that occurred in the late-6th century AD (the so-called "Paul the Deacon Deluge"). Research performed by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Emilia-Romagna over the last few years has allowed better definition of the timing of a more articulated alluvial history, mainly concerning the Roman Imperial age and Late-Antiquity (1st-6th century AD). The main stratigraphic details of fourteen selected archaeological excavation sites (eleven recently surveyed and three reviewed from the literature) performed in the cities of Modena, Bologna and related surroundings have been summarized. Eleven 14C dates, ranging between the years 130 AD and 810 AD, allowed us to chronologically delimit a first framework for the riverbed network behaviour during ancient times in the central part of the region. The alluvial process appeared to be continuous throughout the time span examined. The fan trench was the most sensitive reach of the river system. It started to aggrade during the 4th century AD. During the 5th century AD and probably after the end of the 6th century AD, a number of avulsions occurred. This indicates that the fluvial system was in a metastable equilibrium, whose behavioural threshold was finally overcome. Hence, the importance of the supposed year 589 AD crisis (the "Deluge") appears to be less than previously supposed. The riverbed aggradation became evident immediately after the Roman Empire's economic and demographic crisis of the 3rd century AD, and it was probably due to the loss of the land preservation systems in the mountain catchment areas. The long duration of the aggradation phase suggests that more than one human settlement phase in the minor catchment areas and/or a minor climatic worsening pulse probably occurred during the 5th century AD. The starting of the aggradation also coincided with the end of the Petit Maclu 1 high level phase of the European lakes. Notwithstanding this, the climate's role as a forcing co-factor can still be hard to evaluate positively due to the lack of local proxy data. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. Source

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