This paper highlights results of a multidisciplinary and multi-analytical study of Holocene archaeological soils around Cecita Lake (Sila massif, Calabria, southern Italy), which represents a typical upland Mediterranean environment. It is focused on assessment of climatic and environmental changes that took place since late Neolithic to Roman times, trying to discriminate natural from anthropogenic signals. Based on an integration of archaeological, geomorphological, stratigraphic, pedological, volcanological and soil charcoal (pedoanthracological) data, the following paleoclimatic/environmental reconstruction is proposed: a warm and humid, seasonally contrasted climate, with an overall geomorphological stability suited for soil development, characterized the late prehistoric environment (Holocene climatic optimum), dominated by a widespread oak forest. The main pedogenetic processes consisted in organic matter accumulation, clay illuviation, phyllosilicate and short-range order mineral neogenesis from weathering of granite and volcanic ash, sourced from late Pleistocene-Holocene eruptions of the Aeolian Islands. One or more mid-Holocene episodes of climate deterioration towards drier conditions (indicated by a decrease of clay translocation processes and possible irreversible dehydration of poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates into phyllosilicate clay minerals) promoted intense land degradation. This was in turn enhanced by increasing human activities for settlement and resource exploitation (among which deforestation and ploughing for agriculture), which led to a shift of the vegetation cover towards a dominant pine forest between 3 ka BP and the Roman epoch. Humid and possibly cooler climatic conditions during the late Holocene are indicated by the decrease of clay illuviation, coupled with short-range order components prevailing over phyllosilicate clays during Roman soil formation

Multidisciplinary study of Holocene archaeological soils in an upland Mediterranean site: Natural versus anthropogenic environmental changes at Cecita Lake, Calabria, Italy

SCARCIGLIA, Fabio;ROBUSTELLI, Gaetano;LA RUSSA, Mauro Francesco;
2013

Abstract

This paper highlights results of a multidisciplinary and multi-analytical study of Holocene archaeological soils around Cecita Lake (Sila massif, Calabria, southern Italy), which represents a typical upland Mediterranean environment. It is focused on assessment of climatic and environmental changes that took place since late Neolithic to Roman times, trying to discriminate natural from anthropogenic signals. Based on an integration of archaeological, geomorphological, stratigraphic, pedological, volcanological and soil charcoal (pedoanthracological) data, the following paleoclimatic/environmental reconstruction is proposed: a warm and humid, seasonally contrasted climate, with an overall geomorphological stability suited for soil development, characterized the late prehistoric environment (Holocene climatic optimum), dominated by a widespread oak forest. The main pedogenetic processes consisted in organic matter accumulation, clay illuviation, phyllosilicate and short-range order mineral neogenesis from weathering of granite and volcanic ash, sourced from late Pleistocene-Holocene eruptions of the Aeolian Islands. One or more mid-Holocene episodes of climate deterioration towards drier conditions (indicated by a decrease of clay translocation processes and possible irreversible dehydration of poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates into phyllosilicate clay minerals) promoted intense land degradation. This was in turn enhanced by increasing human activities for settlement and resource exploitation (among which deforestation and ploughing for agriculture), which led to a shift of the vegetation cover towards a dominant pine forest between 3 ka BP and the Roman epoch. Humid and possibly cooler climatic conditions during the late Holocene are indicated by the decrease of clay illuviation, coupled with short-range order components prevailing over phyllosilicate clays during Roman soil formation
Geoarchaeology; Pedology; Anthracology
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/138692
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