Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Date: Monday, 26/Feb/2018
1:00pm - 1:45pmWelcome and Registration
1:45pm - 2:30pmOpening Ceremony

Prof. Daniela Quaglino, Director of Unimore Department of Life Sciences

Prof. Consolata Siniscalco, President of Società Botanica Italiana/Italian Society of Botany

2:30pm - 4:00pmS1: Detecting human impact: the ABG (archeo-bio-geo) research
Session Chair: Jaromír Beneš
Session Chair: Anna Maria Mercuri
2:30pm - 3:00pm

Settlements, Crops, Woods. Land use and resources in a changing environment at the time of the Terramare (XVI - XII century BC, N Italy)

Mauro Cremaschi

Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

This paper discusses the initial results of an on-going research carried out in the framework of the SUCCESSO-TERRA Project (PRIN20158KBLNB), aimed at elucidate the reasons, dynamic and timing of the collapse of the Terramare civilization (XVI–XII cent. BC, Northern Italy). The results from archaeological, geoarchaeological, archeobotanical and archeozoological studies are interpreted in a multidisciplinary perspective, and point out that exploitation of natural resources and climatic factors strengthened the crisis of the Terramare system.

3:00pm - 3:15pm

Emptyscapes: filling an 'empty' Mediterranean landscape mapping the archaeological continuum

Stefano Remo Luigi Campana, Ken Saito

University of Siena, Italy

The Emptyscapes project (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF n. 628338) is an interdisciplinary programme designed to stimulate new developments in Italian landscape archaeology. It achieves this through the integration of traditional approaches with multidisciplinary studies, to which are added the relatively new techniques of large-scale geophysical survey, airborne laser scanning and geo/bio-environmental analysis. The effectiveness of such an approach has been borne out by results from central Italy. These show that the underlying 'archaeological continuum' can be detected even in an area where archaeological evidence was previously thought to be absent.

3:15pm - 3:30pm

Recent surveys of ancient human impact on soil chemistry in Messara Plain, Crete

Ladislav Smejda

Czech University Of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic

A large-scale mapping of elemental composition of topsoil was used to detect chemical anomalies in topsoil that may indicate locations of past settlements, cemeteries or other activity areas. Two landscape transects in Messara Plain, Crete, were surveyed by means of multi-element geochemical mapping and surface collection of artefacts. Potential relationship between ancient settlement pattern and chemical composition of contemporary topsoil was investigated. It was found that squares rich in pottery fragments are usually located in or near the areas with higher concentration of phosphorus. Other elements showed different spatial patterns, which can be shaped either by local geology or human activities. This type of research is relatively underdeveloped in the Mediterranean-type semiarid environments. Better knowledge of long-term human impact on soils can improve our understanding of environmental sustainability.

3:30pm - 3:45pm

Towards an Environmental Resources Archaeology, escaping from site (and ‘off-site’)

Alessandro Panetta1, Valentina Pescini1, Roberta Cevasco2, Nicola Gabellieri3, Carlo Montanari4, Diego Moreno5

1University of Genoa, Italy - DAFIST; LASA (Laboratory of Archaeology and Environmental History); 2University of Gastronomic Science, Pollenzo, Italy; 3University of Genoa, Italy - DISFOR; LASA; 4University of Genoa, Italy - DISTAV; LASA; 5LASA

This contribution is focused on the evolution of basic concepts like “off-site” and “on-site” in studies concerning the archaeology of landscape. A careful analysis of these misleading archaeologist’s "constructions" reveals how they were used to repeat the mechanical template of the Man/Nature dichotomy (often referred to as Site/Environment). A contrast that is detrimental to a real understanding of the relationships that have historically occurred in the landscape.

We also present some case studies in which we tried to reconstruct not only historical features but also historical processes, starting from the archaeological traces of the ecology of past social practices involved in management, production and consumption of environmental resources.

Our final goal is to abandon the (false) problem of the disciplinary definition (environmental archaeology, archeobotany, landscape archaeology etc.), focusing on a new specific archaeological object: the ecology of environmental resources.

3:45pm - 4:00pm

1st millennium BC forest ecosystem transformation in Bohemian sandstone areas: Were humans involved?

Petr Pokorný1, Petr Šída1, Lucie Juřičková1, Michaela Ptáková2, Jan Novák1, Přemysl Bobek2

1Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; 2Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the CR, Czech Republic

A multi-proxy case study performed in sandstone areas of the Czech Republic demonstrating that already in the Bronze Age, grazing activities were a significant factor in the formation process of novel forest ecosystems of Central Europe. Nevertheless, origin of these forests is much more complex and includes intrinsic biotic dynamics, as well as external forcing factors other then grazing. The following ones we have recognized as the most influential: changing fire regimes and long-term retrogressive soil development under gradually changing climate.

4:00pm - 4:30pmCoffee Break
4:30pm - 6:00pmS2: Detecting human impact: the ABG (archeo-bio-geo) research
Session Chair: Laura Sadori
Session Chair: Chiara Molinari
4:30pm - 5:00pm

Cultural landscape and local economy in central Sicily: Philosophiana between the Roman and Middle Byzantine periods

Emanuele Vaccaro1, Michael MacKinnon2, Anna Maria Mercuri Mercuri3

1University of Trento, Italy; 2University of Winnipeg, Canada; 3University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

Begun in 2009, the Philosophiana Project focuses on the urban-style settlement and mansio of Sofiana and on its environs in central Sicily, at only six aerial kilometers from the Villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina, one of the richest and most famous late Roman villa of the western Mediterranean. Through the application of an interdisciplinary approach the project tackles the reconstruction of settlement and economic patterns in the long period between the early imperial and the Middle Byzantine period (1st century BC-9th century AD) and aims to investigate the impact of local economic strategies on the cultural landscape.

A territory of central Sicily that, on the basis of textual sources, has been traditionally associated to large-scale grain production for Rome is revealing a wider diversification of production activities in which mixed animal husbandry played a major role.

5:00pm - 5:15pm

Palynological approach to pastoral activities reconstructions in S Italy: a palaeoecological contribution to support biodiversity awareness

Assunta Florenzano

Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy

This research deals with palynological approach to reconstruct pastoral activities in Southern Italy, focusing on pasture indicators (pollen and NPPs) from archaeological samples dated from 6th cent. BC to 15th cent. AD.

The palynological data point to the impressive role that pastoralism has had as agent of shaping the Mediterranean landscape in the last three thousand years.

5:15pm - 5:30pm

Agriculture, forestal resources and Late Neolithic daily life at the pile-dwelling site of Palù di Livenza (NE Italy)

Mauro Rottoli1, Michele Bassetti2, Nicola Degasperi2, Nicoletta Martinelli3, Roberto Micheli4

1Laboratorio di Archeobiologia Musei Civici di Como, Italy; 2CORA Ricerche Archeologiche snc Trento; 3Dendrodata sas Verona; 4Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio del Friuli Venezia Giulia

Palù di Livenza wetland is located in the Pordenone area (north-eastern Italy) at the foot of the Cansiglio plateau. The geomorphological peculiarity of the basin, the abundant availability of water and the wealth of natural resources have made the area particularly favorable to human settlement, which was frequented from late glacial Würm to late Neolithic when a large pile-dwelling was built.

Thanks to the exceptional conservation of organic materials it has been possible to perform xylothomic, dendrochronological and palaeoetnobotanical analyzes on the site, which allowed to precisely reconstruct site's chronology, environmental aspects and agricultural production.

5:30pm - 5:45pm

Chewing tar at the Late Neolithic pile-dwelling site of Palù di Livenza (NE Italy)

Roberto Micheli1, Michele Bassetti2, Federico Bernardini3, Nicola Degasperi2, Vanni Lughi4, Mauro Rottoli5, Lisa Vaccari6, Franco Zanini6

1MiBACT - Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio del Friuli Venezia Giulia - Trieste, Italy; 2CORA Società Archeologica srl - Trento, Italy; 3Multidisciplinary Laboratory, The "Abdus Salam" International Centre for Theoretical Physics - Trieste, Italy, 3 Centro Fermi, Museo Storico della Fisica e Centro di Studi e Ricerche “Enrico Fermi” - Roma, Italy; 4Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Architettura, Università di Trieste, Italy; 5Laboratorio di Archeobiologia, Musei Civici di Como, Italy; 6Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste S.C.p.A., Italy

Palù di Livenza is a Late Neolithic pile-dwelling site located in a wetland zone at the foot of the Cansiglio plateau in the Pordenone area. Since organic materials showed a good state of preservation in the site we focused on systematic sampling of plant macro-remains. Among the huge amount of organic materials, we found three small hardened lumps displaying teeth impressions and a larger amorphous piece. In order to define their micro-structure and composition we have analysed them using X-ray computed micro-tomography (microCT) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). According to the obtained results, the small lumps are almost entirely composed of birch bark tar, detected on the surface of the larger amorphous piece too. This is the oldest evidence so far discovered of use and production of this substance in a waterlogged Italian site.

5:45pm - 6:00pm

Structure and useful plant dynamics on Prague Castle: archaeobotanical and ethnohistorical perspective

Jitka Kosňovská1, Věra Čulíková2, Veronika Komárková1, Adéla Pokorná2, Jaromír Beneš1

1Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic; 2Institute of Archaeology Prague, CAS

Prague Castle belongs to the most important historical sites in Central Europe. Archaeobotanical research here was started at the first half of 20th Century in context of long time archaeological field investigation. Archaeology recorded here the vast knowledge about the historical development stretching from the early medieval hillfort of Czech dukes throughout medieval residence of kings to the early modern age. Paper presents first result of useful plant assemblage’s analysis from Prague Castle showing dynamic structural changes from common species in the early medieval times to luxury species in the early modern period. These archaeobotanical data came from different archaeobotanical deposits as cesspits, ditch, waste layers and vault infills, however, multidimensional analyses enables their distribution in time and space. From ethnohistorical point of view Prague Castle belongs to the most diverse sites of the Central Europe.

6:15pm - 7:15pmVisit of the Complesso San Geminiano (taken by Dott. Giulia Squadrini, SNMM - Società Naturalisti e Matematici di Modena)
Date: Tuesday, 27/Feb/2018
9:00am - 10:45amS3: Long-term environmental reconstruction for landscape management
Session Chair: Petr Pokorný
Session Chair: Gianluca Piovesan
9:00am - 9:30am

Holocene vegetation dynamics and land-cover estimates in Auvergne: key tools to landscape management

Yannick Miras1,2, Michela Mariani3, Paul M. Ledger2, Léo Chassiot4,5, Marlène Lavrieux4,6

1CNRS - HNHP (UMR 7194), Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, 1 rue René Panhard, 75013 Paris, France; 2CNRS, Université Clermont Auvergne, GEOLAB, F-63000 Clermont–Ferrand, France; 3School of Geography, University of Melbourne, 221 Bouverie Street, Parkville VIC 3010, Australia; 4ISTO, UMR 7327 CNRS / Université d'Orléans / BRGM, 1A rue de la Férollerie, 45071 Orléans Cedex 2, France; 5INRS - Eau Terre Environnement, 490 rue de la Couronne, Québec, QC, G1K 9A9, Canada; 6University of Basel, Department of Environmental Sciences, Bernoullistrasse 30, 4056 Basel, Switzerland

Multi-proxy palaecological investigations were undertaken at high spatio-temporal resolution in the Auvergne mountains (France). They allow to scrutinize the Holocene trajectories of landscape evolution arising from the interplay between human impact and adaptability, climate oscillations and environmental evolution. Mechanistic models for regional vegetation reconstruction provide the first attempts to quantitative reconstruction of land cover. Results obtained allow an improved understanding of past vegetation dynamics and a discussion of: (1) the natural variability of the vegetation to climate oscillations, (2) the development of the cultural landscape and the land uses involved, (3) the timing and the extent of the landscape openness, and (4) the richness in vegetation units within the landscape mosaic measured by the floristic diversity. These long-term changes highlight the vulnerability of these mountainous landscapes forming socio-ecosystems which are shaped over millennia. It is therefore crucial to consider this ecological and cultural heritage when devising future sustainable management plans.

9:30am - 9:45am

A mid-mountain landscape shaped during fourteen centuries in the heart of Toledo Mountains (central Iberia): the Bermú peat bog record

Reyes Luelmo-Lautenschlaeger1,2, José-Antonio López-Sáez1, Sebastián Pérez-Díaz1

1Human and Social Sciences, National Spanish Research Council, CSIC, Spain; 2Department of Geography, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain

Mid-mountain ecosystems present broad resource diversity, heterogenic relief and a climatic mildness of high usefulness to human interests, allowing strategies such as terracing the slopes and a huge crop diversification. This relationship leads to a parallel co-evolution with human societies, being fire and grazing the most effective management tools.

This work presents the results obtained from the multi-proxy study of the Bermú peat bog, a minerothrophic mire located in Quintos de Mora National Bound, a particular property at the oriental border of the Toledo Mountains in central Spain whose bottom is dated in the Islamic Period (ca. 711‐1100 cal AD) and which reveals the increasing human pressure through the landscape and the resilient strategies followed by vegetal and human communities to face the different hazards

9:45am - 10:00am

The disappearance of cultural landscapes: the case of wooded-meadows in the Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy)

Chiara Molinari1, Carlo Montanari2

1Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Sweden; 2Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e della Vita, Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy

The “wooded-meadows system” is a multifunctional use of vegetation resources widespread in Europe since the Neolithic, and well documented in the Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy) between the Medieval times and the first half of the 19th century. The management of wooded-meadows included: collection of dead branches later used for fuel, mowing, grazing, making twig-leaf sheaves for winter fodder, coppicing/pollarding and collection of secondary products.

Three sites were studied through biostratigraphic analyses for identifying specific palynological assemblages associated with this practice in beech woodlands. Thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, our investigations dated the use of the wooded-meadows system between 500 and 1600 AD. Compared to the post-cultural phase, the period affected by this particular land-management was characterized by lower percentages of trees, higher percentages of herbs and anthropogenic pollen indicators and higher biodiversity values. This research represents a contribution to issues of nature-conservation policy for the preservation of cultural landscapes.

10:00am - 10:15am

The past plant ecosystems of Northern Apennines inferred from soil charcoal analysis

Alessandra Benatti1,2, Marie Bal1, Philippe Allée1, Giovanna Bosi2, Anna Maria Mercuri2

1University of Limoges, France; 2University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

A pedoanthracology study was carried out in two of the highest mountains of the Northern Apennines: Monte Cimone and Corno alle Scale, with the aim of studying the vegetation dynamics at the scale of the slope, and the relationships between pastoral societies and their environment. These mountains have been, in fact, exploited by sheep pastoral activity which was practiced until the mid-20th as indicated by historical sources and suggested by the presence of pastoral structures. Pedoanthracological analysis in association with radiocarbon dates show that during the Late Holocene the plant landscape was similar to the present one at Monte Cimone and quite different at Corno alle Scale.

10:15am - 10:30am

Land-use change and exploitation of outfield resources at the Høg-Jæren plateau, SW Norway, during the last 6500 years

Lisbeth Prøsch-Danielsen1, Christopher Prescott2, Erik Daniel Fredh1

1University of Stavanger, Norway; 2The Norwegian Institute in Rome-UiO, Italy

The coastal upland region, Høg-Jæren (SW Norway) is today an outfield area with a mosaic of heathland, grassland and boggy areas. Though marginal in terms of cultivation and game, the area has previously been exploited as for pastures, mowable fens and peat cutting on a seasonal basis, though in certain periods with year-round settlement and summer farms. The palynological data comes from six sampling site. The Local Vegetation Estimates (LOVE) model is used to quantify land-cover at local scales in 500-year time intervals from 4500 BC. To quantify the regional land-cover Regional Estimates Abundance from Large Sites (REVEALS) are applied. The development of heathland is pivotal, and initial impact horizons are found 4500-4000 BC and sometime around 2500 BC. Four episodes of agro-pastoral expansion occur from 2400-2000BC. These phases compare with cultural historical events, and represent increasingly sophisticated use of a varied landscape in response to ecological, social and technological factors.

10:30am - 10:45am

Impact of the Lusatian culture on landscape of last glaciations area: a case study from the upper Drwęca river basin (N Poland)

Tomasz Kalicki1, Mariusz Chrabąszcz2, Igor Maciszewski3, Paweł Przepióra2

1Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Institute of Geography, Dept Geomorphology, Geoarcheology and Environmental ManagementPoland; 2Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Institute of Geography, SRG Geomorphologists „Złoty Bażant”; 3ASINUS Igor Maciszewski

The examined area is located between two parallel tunnel valleys. Are drained by the upper Drwęca and Grabiczka river. The site is located on the wavy till plain. They were formed during one of the phases of the Vistulian ice sheet recession around the Pomeranian phase. In the upland area there are marked circular depressions. In smaller of them a melting of dead ice began at the end of the Younger Dryas. Recently remains of glacial kettles (potholes) are swamps and peatbogs. In the middle of the site on the slope of endorheic depression, was found a buried soil covered with delluvia. During the archaeological rescue research of the site several settlement phases were found: Lusatian culture from Early Iron Age, Wielbark culture from Roman period, Early Medieval from 11-12th c., Late medieval and Modern time.

10:45am - 11:15amCoffee Break
11:15am - 12:30pmS4: Northern Africa archaeo-environmental changes
Session Chair: Mauro Cremaschi
Session Chair: Savino di Lernia
11:15am - 11:45am

Etaghas: an unprecedented evidence for agricultural landuse in the hyperarid central Sahara

Savino di Lernia1,2, Isabella Massamba N’Siala3, Anna Maria Mercuri3, Andrea Zerboni4

1Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy; 2University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; 3Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia; 4Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

The etaghas are well-defined areas within the Tadrart Acacus massif (central Sahara), whose physiographic features make recession cultivation possible and allow people living there (Kel Tadrart Tuareg) to ob¬tain directly, today as in the past, occasional yields. Ethnoarchaeological, geoarchaeological, and botanical investigations shed new light on this specific landuse of the desert, suggesting the possibility that this subsistence practice dates back at least to early historical times.

11:45am - 12:00pm

"Mind the Gap" to Reconstruct Patchy Records of Archaeology & Environmental Changes in the NE Sahara

Kathleen Nicoll

University of Utah, United States of America

Conducting integrated paleoenvironmental and archaeological research in Saharan North Africa is difficult due to the variable quality and patchiness of continuous organic-rich sedimentary records, extensive removal of sediments by wind erosion, and the paucity of well-preserved, dateable material in deserts. Despite these obstacles, archaeological, chemical, palaeontological, and geomorphological investigations have yielded a corpus of data that includes chronostratigraphic analyses of sediments and their associated flora, fauna, and cultural artifacts. Regional correlations based upon stratigraphic succession, archaeology, and dates indicate periods of playa, lake, and paleosol formation during "pluvial" wet conditions. Aeolian sediments were deposited during droughts and arid intervals during which the desert was less hospitable. This synthesis of converging lines of evidence demonstrates how "gaps" in the available records of environmental conditions and material culture reflect the pace and tempo of the African continent's changing water balance throughout the Quaternary.

12:00pm - 12:15pm

Herding Barbary Sheep in Early Holocene Sahara

Rocco Rotunno1, Rita Fornaciari2, Michela Boscaini2, Anna Maria Mercuri2, Savino di Lernia1,3

1Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy; 2Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 3School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

The Takarkori rockshelter (SW Libya) offers a unique context with a chrono-cultural sequence spanning from the hunter-gatherer-fishers of the Late Acacus (LA) period up to the Late Pastoral Neolithic (LP), lasting from approximately 10,200 to 4600 cal BP. The recovery in the stratigraphic sequence of well-preserved animal coprolites enabled this study refining palaeoenvironmental aspects and animal management strategies among Early Holocene Saharan foragers.

Dimensional measurements and spatial investigation, through descriptive statistical methods and GIS software, have been applied for synthetizing and highlighting some specific patterns of the sample together with palynological studies for environmental reconstructions.

Multidisciplinary analysis confirms forms of wild animal management, likely Barbary sheep, among the Early Holocene dwellers of rockshelter. The spatial distribution of coprolites in the LA levels, highlights specific structures and facilities linked to animal management, whereas the palynology permits inferences about plant exploitation and paleaeoenvironmental setting

12:15pm - 12:30pm

(Pre)colonial urban sustainability in coastal Africa: environmental and social aspects

Monika Baumanova

Uppsala University, Sweden

This paper explores the notion of urban environment as an inclusive theme, which encompasses the natural, the built and the social aspects of urban space. Coastal regions have always been major meeting points, as centres in what is essentially a liminal zone, which have flourished from access to trade routes. This paper aims to highlight what constituted urban sustainability on African coasts, and how the aspects of transition and permanence which characterize the social life in this ecological zone were translated into the context of urban space. The presented data and analyses (satellite imagery, GIS, network and visibility analyses) show how the natural elements in urban landscapes were actively used as well as complemented with development of the built environments to materially constitute and negotiate people’s access to trade and spaces associated with trade.

12:30pm - 2:30pmLunch
2:00pm - 2:45pmPOSTER: Poster Session (20 posters: see the short abstracts at the end of this program)
2:45pm - 4:00pmS5: Mediterranean archaeo-environmental changes
Session Chair: Ladislav Smejda
Session Chair: Arthur Glais
2:45pm - 3:00pm

Adding fuel to the fire: Archaeobotanical evidence for olive pomace use at Roman Utica

Erica Rowan

Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom

During the Roman period, Tunisia was an important exporter of olive oil, fish sauce and pottery. From 2012 to 2014 a lime kiln and eight pottery kilns, dating from the 1st-2nd century AD, were excavated at the site of Utica. Large quantities of carbonized olive stones found surrounding the kilns attests to the use of olive pomace (pressing waste), in addition to charcoal, as kiln fuel. The recovery of these olives stones situates Utica firmly within the Roman tradition of using this alternative fuel source in North Africa. While environmental sustainability was unlikely to have been one of the conscious objectives, the use of this fuel sources was vital to the continued production of Roman ceramics, particularly in more arid areas. Enormous quantities of ceramics were produced with little evidence for permanent environmental damage. This paper focuses on the important lessons can be learned from these ancient practices.

3:00pm - 3:15pm

Multidisciplinary research in naval archaeology: the shipwreck of Santa Maria in Padovetere (Ferrara, N Italy)

Carlo Beltrame1, Alessandra Forti1, Michele Maritan2, Antonella Miola2, Paolo Mozzi2, Alessandro A. Rucco1, Andrea Vavasori1

1Università Ca' Foscari, Italy; 2Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

We present combined research on wood remains, biochemical analysis on pitch samples, pollen and NPP analysis, fiber and macro - remains investigation from the Late Roman river shipwreck of Santa Maria in Padovetere (FE), Italy. This approach shows that the river shipwreck was made using local timber (deciduous oak and elm) and that the landscape was modified by human impact as suggested by the presence of pine and hemp.

3:15pm - 3:30pm

Contributions of a multiscalar approach to human-environment relationships reconstruction, around the tell of Dikili Tash (Greece)

Arthur Glais1, José-Antonio Lopez-Saez2, Laurent Lespez3, Zoï Tsirtsoni4, Pascal Darcque4

1LETG-Caen Laboratory UMR 6554, University of Caen Normandy, France; 2Archaeobiology Group, Institute of History, CCHS, CSIC, Spain; 3Laboratory of Physical Geography (LGP) UMR 8591 CNRS, University of Paris-East Créteil; 4Arscan, Maison de l’archéologie et de l’Ethnologie, University of Paris 10, Nanterre, France

Following palaeobotanical (pollen, NPPs and macrocharcoal), sedimentological and archaeological research recently conducted on and around the tell of Dikili Tash (Eastern Macedonia, Greece), we present continuous palaeoenvironmental data thanks to a sedimentary archive recovered in the vicinity of this multi-period site. These results are then compared with archaeological data from the Early Neolithic to the Antiquity . The data give an overview of the original environment prior to the Neolithic near the former Tenaghi-Philippon marsh, the first evidence of human agropastoral activities on the landscape associated with the Early Neolithic communities since at least 6400 cal BC and thereafter a comprehensive view of the first human impacts on the vegetation cover in local lowland areas, until the anthropogenic landscape setting up during the Antiquity.

3:30pm - 3:45pm

Dryland Tells in Wetlands of Macedonia: Pelagonia and the site of Vrbjanska Čuka as case study

Goce Naumov

Goce Delčev University, Center for Prehistoric Research, Republic of Macedonia

For many decades the tell-sites were considered as part of 'dryland' archaeology and were studied as such. The major focus was on material culture and architecture and on the determination of archaeological cultures attributed to these sites. In regard to initial stages of prehistoric archaeology in the Balkans this was the important step, but apparently insufficient in order to understand the first farming communities that established these settlements. The recent study of valleys inhabited by vast number of Neolithic tells indicate that these settlements were disposed around wetland areas that provided a variety of resources for food, building and transport, and initiated a potent symbolic understanding of the environment. Therefore this paper will consider the environmental issues regarding the establishment of tells in wetlands of Pelagonia with major focus on Vrbjanska Čuka and its landscape, architecture and material culture.

3:45pm - 4:00pm

Onsite Bioarchaeological Knowledge of the Neolithic settlements in the Balkans: The case of Vrbjanska Čuka, a tell-site in Pelagonia, Republic of Macedonia

Jaromír Beneš1, Goce Naumov2, Tereza Majerovičová1, Kristýna Budilová1, Ivana Živaljević3, Vesna Dimitrijević3, Jiří Bumerl1, Veronika Komárková1, Jaromír Kovárník1, Michaela Vychronová1, Sofija Stefanović3

1University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic; 2Goce Delčev University, Republic of Macedonia; 3Belgrade University, Serbia

The first part of the paper comprises of an outline of bioarchaeological studies connected with the Neolithic settlements in the Balkans. A substantial proliferation of environmental studies is recorded in the last decade concerning archaeobotanical and archaeozoological evidence. Main attention is paid to archaeobotanical and archaeozoological studies which consider settlements and their bioarchaeological context. The second part of paper is focused on the Neolithic tell-site of Vrbjanska Čuka in Pelagonia, Republic of Macedonia, where authors have been performing bioarchaeological research since 2016. In this paper, we present the results of the analyses of botanical macroremains and microremains (starch, phytoliths) and faunal remains collected in season 2016 in the broader context of the Neolithic Balkans in order to estimate the bioarchaeological potential of the site.

4:00pm - 4:30pmCoffee Break
4:30pm - 6:15pmS6: Recostructing past landscape: flora insights from archaeological sites
Session Chair: Assunta Florenzano
Session Chair: Francesco Ciani
4:30pm - 5:00pm

Growing diversity of archaeophytic flora as a consequence of progressive habitat diversification in Central Europe

Adéla Pokorná1,2, Petr Kočár1,2, Veronika Komárková3, Tereza Šálková3,4, Pavla Žáčková2, Zdeněk Vaněček5

1Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, v.v.i., Czech Republic; 2Department of Botany, Faculty of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; 3Laboratory of Archaeobotany and Palaeoecology (LAPE), Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic; 4Institute of Archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic; 5Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

We focus on the increase of species diversity in the fossil flora caused by the immigration of archaeophytes. However, the species composition implies also an increasing number of co-existing habitats since the Neolithic to Medieval periods. Three temporal phases represented by waves of increased immigration followed by their distinct drops were distinguished in our data: (i) the Neolithic to the Eneolithic; (ii) the Bronze Age to the Migration Period; and (iii) the Early Middle Ages. The first phase was characterised by the prevalence of generalist species that are currently abundant in both ruderal and segetal vegetation. Since the Eneolithic, specialised weeds of cereal fields emerged. In ruderal flora, the successive development was directed from the predominance of species indicative of less fertile soils to species of nutrient-rich substrata. Similarly, the grassland species indicated changes from short lawns of disturbed and/or trampled sites to meadows and pastures.

5:00pm - 5:15pm

The wild vascular plants buried by the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius

Adriano Stinca1,2, Massimo Ricciardi3

1Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, via Vivaldi 43, 81100, Caserta, Italy; 2Center “Musei delle Scienze Agrarie - MUSA”, University of Naples Federico II, via Università 100, 80055 Portici (Naples), Italy; 3Department of Agriculture, University of Naples Federico II, via Università 100, 80055 Portici (Naples), Italy

In the present study the wild vascular plants buried by the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius found in Oplontis (southern Italy) are analyzed.

The carbonized plant remains were identified according to standard floras and by comparison both with living and herbarium specimens. The material, although completely carbonized, is excellently preserved.

A total of 128 taxa representing 107 plant species, 79 genera and 31 families has been identified. The richest families are Fabaceae (38 taxa) and Poaceae (22).

The floristic composition of the studied materials as compared with a sample of the present day Vesuvian flora seems to confirm that, even if only on rather restricted cultivated areas, the same plants growing to day occurred in the same habitats in the 1st Century AD From these data, it seems that there is no evidence for important climatic changes in this area during the last 2,000 years.

5:15pm - 5:30pm

The recent history of cypress ('Cupressus sempervirens' L.) in Italy: archaeobotanical data from the Ancient Campania

Alessia D'Auria, Gaetano Di Pasquale

Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II

Classical biogeographical theory asserts that cypress was native from east Mediterranean but genetic data recently show the presence of ancient populations of this species so in the central Mediterranean. In the Vesuvian area archaeological excavations have brought to light the highest quantity of botanical remains of this species in the whole central-western Mediterranean. The aim of this paper is to understand the significance of these botanical remains in terms of cypress history.

Our results suggest that this tree was well known during the Roman period and that cypress probably was cultivated in the ancient Campania mainly for timber production (building and shipbuilding) and street tree. The timber indicated only the use and not the provenience, and the trunks, according to archaeological documentation, came from plantations. For this reason the presence of cypress in the ancient Campania forest have to be clarified.

5:30pm - 5:45pm

Archaeobotanical analysis of a pit in Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome

Claudia Moricca, Laura Sadori, Alessia Masi, Lia Barelli, Raffaele Pugliese

Sapienza - Università di Roma, Italy

Archaeobotanical analyses carried out in a Renaissance pit of a tower in the Santi Quattro Coronati complex (Rome) are presented. The carpological materials, preserved by mummification through desiccation, are roughly dated between the 16th and 17th centuries, with prevalence for the former. Approximately 6,000 well-preserved fragments of seeds and fruits, belonging to 35 taxa, mostly identified at species level and ascribed to 18 different plant families were identified in sediments retrieved in two stratigraphic units. Pastinaca sativa L. (parsnip), Juglans regia L. (walnut) and Vitis vinifera L. (grape) prevail. Many edible cultivated species were found, along with one ornamental species and two wild species. New World species represent the most peculiar findings, representing one of the earliest attestations of such type in Europe, shortly after the America discovery. The plant assemblage gives an overview on plant use during the Renaissance in a high-level residence of Rome.

5:45pm - 6:00pm

Multiproxy approach for the analysis of the Roman funerary ritual in Mutina (N Italy)

Federica Maria Riso1, Rossella Rinaldi1, Stefano Vanin2, Donato Labate3, Giovanna Bosi1

1Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Huddersfield University(UK); 3Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Città Metropolitana di Bologna e le province di Modena, Reggio Emilia e Ferrara

The research focused on the foodstuffs, the offers that were widespread during the Roman funerary rituals. An interdisciplinary method involving different disciplines of archeology was carried out on the necropolis of Mutina and the ager Mutinense, analysing hundreds graves, especially cremation type.In addition to traditional methods, such as sieving, new technologies helped to study the archaeobotanical remains, in particular the CT-scan for the analysis of the internal structure and the SAXS for the study of the burning temperature.

An anthracological essay eas carried out in order to analyse the pyre structure.

6:00pm - 6:15pm

Bronze and Iron Age pit-fillings of high-alpine burnt offering sites

Marlies Außerlechner1, Andreas Putzer2, Klaus Oeggl1

1Universität Innsbruck, Austria; 2Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum

Numerous burnt offering sites occurred in the (sub)alpine environments of the inner Alpine areas at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age. The reason for the relocation from the valley bottoms to the high elevations is obscure. Bronze and Iron Age plant materials from three high-alpine offering sites and one dwelling site were investigated to provide further insights into rite and prehistoric land-use in high-alpine terrain.

Cultivated plants, indicative for the Bronze and Iron Age, together with gathered plants were offered. They seem to be representative of local rites, most probably deriving from different economics and trades. The observed wild plants are a proper subset of the local alpine vegetation. These, as well as data obtained from charcoal-analyses, reflect a situation at the timberline ecotone. Dissimilarities of the charcoals from the pit-fillings point to a change in wood preference, which appears to be governed by anthropogenic shaping.

8:00pm - 11:30pmSocial Dinner at the Museum of Modena (hosted by the Musei Civici)
Date: Wednesday, 28/Feb/2018
9:00am - 10:45amS7: Interdisciplinary methods for Environmental Archaeology interpretation
Session Chair: Alessia Masi
Session Chair: Andrea Zerboni
9:00am - 9:30am

AMS Radiocarbon dating for the study of past ecosystems: consolidated tools and recent developments

Gianluca Quarta, Lucio Calcagnile

CEDAD-Department of Mathematics and Physics "Ennio de Giorgi"-University of Salento, Italy

The detection of 14C by accelerator-based techniques has celebrated the last year its 40th anniversary considering that the first experimental demonstration was published in 1977. Since then Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating has become a well established and robust experimental technique widely used in several different research areas spanning from traditional ones such as archaeological sciences and geochronology to environmental, marine, Earth and Forensics sciences, just to cite some of them.

When reviewing the tremendous developments seen by AMS radiocarbon dating in the last years one has to account for both the development in the “radiocarbon dating” method and in the AMS techniques.

9:30am - 9:45am

Human mobility across the Last Glacial Maximum: enamel Sr isotopes from Grotta Paglicci (S Italy)

Federico Lugli1, Anna Cipriani1,2, Giulia Capecchi3, Stefano Ricci3, Francesco Boschin3, Paolo Boscato3, Stefano Benazzi4,5, Annnamaria Ronchitelli3

1Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA; 3Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell'Ambiente, Unità di Ricerca Preistoria e Antropologia, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy; 4Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy; 5Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

We have analyzed Sr isotopes in human (Homo sapiens) deciduous and animal teeth from the Grotta Paglicci Upper Paleolithic site (Southern Italy). They span a time range across the Last Glacial Maximum from ca. 40.9 to 13 ka cal. BP. The Sr isotope composition of the human teeth varies with times showing a monotonic change from lower to higher 87Sr/86Sr ratios, while that one of the fauna and local rodents do not show any significant variation.

Our data depict the presence, at Grotta Paglicci, of humans not identifiable with the local Sr isotope signature during the Early Epigravettian. These humans most likely have arrived from a different location or exploited different resources.

We present here the first Sr isotope data for LGM anatomically modern humans from Italy and show a diverse mobility pattern between Gravettian and Epigravettian individuals, likely related to a climatic improvement across the LGM.

9:45am - 10:00am

Insights on some East/South Mediterranean species in Italian Flora: natural presence or Greek/Phoenician heritage?

Pietro Minissale, Saverio Sciandrello

University of Catania, Italy

The aim of this paper is to investigate some native Italian species mainly having an eastern Mediterranean distribution, which, thanks to in-depth investigations, on their Italian sites of occurrence, sometimes associated with archaeological sites, can be assumed as the result of ancient introduction during the Greek or Phoenician colonization. Some of these taxa have been already examined from this point of view, others never before; but for each one, new data are provided. The investigated species are Salvia fruticosa Miller, Origanum onites L., Ferulago nodosa (L.) Boiss., Sarcopoterium spinosum (L.) Spach, Platanus orientalis L., Rhus tripartita (Ucria) Grande, and Ziziphus lotus ( L.) Lam. Our research is based on literature, herbarium specimens and field data aimed at pointing out the exact distribution and their integration into existing vegetation contexts.

10:00am - 10:15am

"Mediterranean forest": towards a better definition for vegetation history

Marta Mariotti Lippi1, Anna Maria Mercuri2, Bruno Foggi1

1Università di Firenze, Italia; 2Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italia

Palaeobotany and Archaeobotany deal with the reconstruction of flora and vegetation changes over time. Starting from studies of limited cases, wide-ranging issues overcome local events to improve knowledge on the cause-and-effect patterns determining broad palaeoenvironmental events. Local studies are not only the basis for general reconstructions, but their synthesis can confirm, shape or even modify the current reference schemes of vegetation history. Reaching a coherent reconstruction requires to reassemble different information within the same scheme, a laborious job hiding many difficulties. Among the biggest difficulties is the inhomogeneity of terminology concerning plant communities. Several problems arise when these terms are used in a generic way or have different meaning according to different botanists and palaeoecologists. Many relevant cases where found related to the Mediterranean concept: climate, forest, flora and so on.

This contribution, based on personal experiences, wants to focus on this problem, without making no claims to solve it.

10:15am - 10:30am

Human-induced spread of 'Araucaria' forest out of their natural range in the southern Brazilian highlands

Mark Robinson, Jonas de Souza, Iriarte Jose

University of Exeter, United Kingdom

The presentation introduces the late Holocene environmental and cultural sequences of the southern Brazilian highlands that indicated that major changes in the socio-political organisation of southern proto-Je groups (increase in number and size of villages, arrival of monumental architecture and the appearance of oversize pithouses) are associated with the expansion of Araucaria forest around AD 1000. We model the ‘natural’ distribution of Araucaria forests and combined archaeology with stable carbon isotopes, charcoal, pollen and phytoliths to show that the spread of Araucaria forest beyond their natural range was human-induced. These findings have implications for conservation biology.

10:30am - 10:45am

What can pre-Columbian polyculture agroforestry systems tell us about sustainable Amazonian futures? Tales from Amazonian Dark Earths and the ‘Geoglyph Builders’

Jose Iriarte

University of Exeter, United Kingdom

The research introduces the pre-Columbian Amazonian Dark Earth (ADE) and the ‘Geoglyphs-builders’ polyculture agroforestry systems, their legacy and its implications for management and conservation efforts on Amazonian sustainable futures under current threat from climate change and development. New multi-proxy palaeoclimate, palaeoecological and archaeobotanical data from three mid to late Holocene records (ca. 4500 to 500 cal. yr BP) of land use history of ADE in Santarem (Lower Amazon), the Middle-Purus Madeira River (Central Amazonia) and the Bolivian Amazon and the case study of the ‘Geoglyph-builders’ in Acre state, Brazil, will be reported.

10:45am - 11:15amCoffee Break
11:15am - 12:30pmS8: Environmental sustainability in a changing world: lessons from the past
Session Chair: Emanuele Vaccaro
Session Chair: Adéla Pokorná
11:15am - 11:45am

Historical ecology and sustainable forest management: revealing key periods in the landscape transformation of the Italian peninsula

Scott Mensing, Irene Tunno, Anna Maria Mercuri, Elda Russo Ermolli, Laura Sadori, Edward Schoolman, Gianluca Piovesan

University of Tuscia - Dafne, Italy

Palaeoecological analyses are increasingly widespread in various environments and are sometimes developed with particularly detailed temporal resolution providing historical ecology a new multidisciplinary focus. In the case of the Italian Peninsula high resolution plaecological records of the last two millennia describe for some periods (e.g. antiquity and high medieval times) alternative scenarios of some classical views derived strictly from the interpretation of historical documents. The aim of this contribution is to discuss what unites and what differentiates the historical landscape evolution along peninsular Italy comparing the available multidisciplinary records with historical and archeological records.

11:45am - 12:00pm

Medieval environmental changes and flood management in the Central Po Plain (N Italy)

Filippo Brandolini, Mauro Cremaschi

Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

The landscape development of the Central Po Plain has a long-lasting connection with human activities. After the collapse of the Roman Empire that coincides with a climate changing phase, the natural depressions on the right side of the Po River turned in vast swamp basins. This lacustrine environment characterised the landscape until the land reclamation that started in Renaissance and was completed only in 20th century AD. During the Middle Ages, humans coped with the environmental change using land and water management practices for agriculture purpose which modified the palustrine landscape. In particular, the exploitation of fluvial sediments had the effect to fill the swamps obtaining new farmland. The application of geoarchaeological tools has made possible to recognise anthropogenic landforms derived from this sustainable landscape management in the Middle Ages.

12:00pm - 12:15pm

The beginning of new farming system (mid-9th century AD): local fire events and vegetation changes in southwestern Tuscany

Mauro Paolo Buonincontri1,2, Pierluigi Pieruccini3, Carmine Lubritto4, Giovanna Bianchi1, Gaetano Di Pasquale2

1Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche e dei Beni Culturali, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy; 2Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy; 3Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy; 4Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali, Biologiche e Farmaceutiche, Università degli Studi della Campania, Italy

Soil charcoal analysis, combined with radiocarbon dating, was performed in the Pecora river plain (southwestern Tuscany) to investigate local fire events and changes in forestry conditions with a highly-detailed spatial resolution. From the mid-9th century AD, fire events occurred mainly in the mixed floodplain forest and riparian vegetation along the riverbed, wetlands, and alluvial plain of the Pecora river. Foothill areas, characterized by thermophilous deciduous forest, were fire-affected to a lesser extent and mainly during the mid-12th century AD. Comparing our results with previous paleoenvironmental data, fires were used mainly for clearing and reclaiming woodland for a new farming system characterized by the cultivation of cereals, olive and chestnut groves, starting the modern agroforestry landscapes of Tuscany.

12:15pm - 12:30pm

The Environmental Resource Archaeology (ERA) approach: Punta Mesco case study (Liguria, NW Italy)

Valentina Pescini1, Alessandro Panetta1, Nicola Gabellieri2, Roberta Cevasco3, Carlo Montanari4

1University of Genoa, Italy - DAFIST; LASA (Laboratory of Archaeology and Environmental History); 2University of Genoa, Italy - DISFOR; LASA; 3University of Gastronomic Science, Bra; LASA; 4University of Genoa, Italy - DISTAV; LASA

An investigation approach developed in Liguria (Italy) by the Laboratory of Archaeology and Environmental History (LASA – University of Genoa) is presented: the Environmental Resource Archaeology (ERA). It considers the ecology of current environmental systems as an archaeological artefact: environmental resources are intended as “social products”, historically defined by activation and production practices and local environmental knowledge. To reconstruct the past agro-sylvo-pastoral system and its changes, ERA grounds on a multy-proxy methods, that includes archaeological investigations, charcoal and pollen analyses, documentary studies etc. Some results of a research developed for the restoration of a farm house set in a terraced landscape in the Cinque Terre National Park (Italy) are presented. This study provides an example of the use of several historical sources concerning grazing, charcoal production, viticulture, in order to achieve a more realistic picture of the past use of environmental resources and of the historical dynamics of landscapes.

12:30pm - 1:00pmAwards and Closing Ceremony

CEA2018 Award, open-access in the SI 'The Long-Term Perspective of Human Impact on Landscape for Environmental Change and Sustainability
SBI Award, Flora in Italia by C. Blasi and E. Biondi
IIPP Award, 4 prizes consisting of books: rock paintings by P.Graziosi, MelkaKunture of Ethiopia by M.Piperno, riparo Valtenesi by H.Bardfield, lithic technology by L.Longo
SNMM Award, the medal, affiliation2018 and a book
1:00pm - 2:30pmLunch
2:30pm - 6:30pmVisit to the Park of the Terramara di Montale
6:30pm - 7:30pmS9: Here is the list of POSTERS: read the short abstracts (please consider the session is Tuesday, 27/Feb/2018)

Stable isotope analysis between archaeology and palaeoenvironment: the case of Arslantepe (Turkey)

Cristiano Vignola, Alessia Masi, Laura Sadori

Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses have been applied on archaeobotanical remains from the archaeological site of Arslantepe (Turkey) in order to reconstruct climate change, water availability and soil fertility. The long lasting sequence of Arslantepe (from 4300 to 2000 BC) is a rare example of diachronic studies on isotope records from single archaeological sites. The carbon content in cereals evidenced temporal trends in water supplies and different cultivation practises applied for different crops (barley, emmer and wheat have been analysed). Nitrogen isotope composition revealed manuring and/or cultivation in pasturelands and the evidence of mixture crops. The carbon discrimination in deciduous oaks and junipers remains compared with modern analogue evidenced that past climate was wetter that today. Moreover, climate oscillations have been correlated with the evolution of past societies testified at the site.

Environmental conditions of ancient Paphos and the region - geoarchaeological research in SW Cyprus.

Sławomir Chwałek, Tomasz Kalicki, Marcin Frączek, Paweł Przepióra, Piotr Kusztal

Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Institute of Geography, Department of Geomorphology, Geoarchaeology and Environmental Management, Poland

Since 2014 the research team from Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce participate in the archaeological research in Paphos (SW Cyprus).

The studies are focus on interaction between human and environment in this region. The human activities were connected with the geology, relief, climate, hydrology, soils and vegetation. The main aim of study is reconstruction the coastline near the ancient city (study on site) and the influence of natural factors on functioning of ancient Nea Paphos and the region between Ezousas river valley on the south and Koskinas river valley on the north (study off site). In on site studies the surveyed area was the archaeological site in Paphos along with its surroundings. Several route sections were conducted.

The off site studies allows us to examinate geomorphology of two nearest Paphos valleys. One of the valleys surrounds the peninsula from the north (Koskinas), and the second one from the south (Ezousas).

Seeds/fruits data from the "Vasca Superiore di Noceto", an artificial mire of the Bronze Age in the Po Plain.

Rossella Rinaldi1, Barbara Proserpio1, Elisabetta Castiglioni2, Mauro Rottoli2, Marta Bandini Mazzanti1, Giovanna Bosi1, Mauro Cremaschi3

1Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2AR.CO. Società Cooperativa Como; 3DIpartimento Scienze della Terra "A.Desio", Università degli Studi di Milano

The Noceto wooden basin is an huge structure situated in the central Po plain, built during Middle Bronze Age. The waterlogged anoxic deposits and the fill characteristics preserved the structure and this particular condition allowed the good conservation of seeds and fruit remains. The position of the structure, the type of depositions and their distribution within the basin suggest ritual activities probably linked to agrarian and water cult.

Wetland plants from archaelogical sites of Ferrara (Emilia-Romagna, Northen Italy).

Marta Bandini Mazzanti, Giovanna Bosi

Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy

This paper presents the archaeocarpological studies carried out on the Medieval/Rinascimental deposits of Ferrara and Argenta (Po plain, N Italy).

The carpological record provided significant information about past plant biodiversity (more than 400 taxa were identified), including several wetland plants.

Considering both the ecological requirements of the species identified and the palaeoecological reconstruction of the environment in which they have been found, we are able to understand the possible causes of the presence or the demise of several taxa in the current landscape.

Mutina splendidissima: archaeobotanical data reveal the history of a town.

Giovanna Bosi1, Paola Torri1, Anna Maria Mercuri1, Rossella Rinaldi1, Maria Chiara Montecchi1, Assunta Florenzano1, Marco Marchesini2, Marta Bandini Mazzanti1

1Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Laboratorio di Palinologia e Archeobotanica - C.A.A.

The Roman Mutina was one of the most important urban centre of Northern Italy.

In 2017, on the anniversary of 2200 years from its founding, many events tried to highlight the strong imprint left by the Roman world in the history of the city to the present day.

Archaeobotanical studies carried out on the sites of Modena provided many information useful to reconstruct the environment, farming practices, diet and ritual uses associated to plants in Roman period.

First palynological data from the “Vasca Inferiore di Noceto”, an artificial mire of the Bronze age in the Po Plain

Eleonora Clò1, Marta Mazzanti1, Paola Torri1, Maria Chiara Montecchi1, Anna Maria Mercuri1, Mauro Cremaschi2

1Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Università Statale di Milano, Italy

An artificial basin of the Middle Bronze Age was unearthed in the spring of 2004 in Noceto, Parma. The “Vasca Inferiore” di Noceto, near Parma (Italy) was discovered under the 'Vasca Supriore' in 2015. Pollen analysis provides a detailed knowledge of the plant cover and the plants available for diversified human activities carried out near and around this unique archaeological evidence.

The site of San Michele di Valestra: new evidence of Apennines exploitation during the Bronze Age (XV–XII century BC, Northern Italy)

Mauro Cremaschi1, Anna Maria Mercuri2, Giorgio Baratti1, Federico Borgi1, Filippo Brandolini1, Stefano Costanzo1, Michele Degli Esposti1, Ilaria Isola3, Elena Maini4, Guido Stefano Mariani1, Angela Mutti5, Noelle Provenzano6, Eleonora Regattieri7, Paola Torri2, Giovanni Zanchetta7, Andrea Zerboni1

1Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy; 2Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 3Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy; 4Università di Bologna, Italy; 5Museo della Terramara Santa Rosa di Poviglio, Italy; 6Laboratoire méditerranéen de préhistoire Europe Afrique, CNRS, France; 7Università di Pisa, Italy

Human exploitation of the northern Apennine in the Bronze Age (XV-XII cent. BC) is poorly known, mainly due to the scarcity of archaeological excavations in the area. San Michele di Valestra is one of the few settlements investigated in the last decades, and the archaeological sequence has been recently (2017) re-investigated in the framework of the Successo-Terra Project (PRIN -20158KBLNB), following a multidisciplinary study combining geoarchaeology and palaeoenvironmental disciplines. The excavation uncovered occupational layers from different phases of settlement and abandonment. Preliminray dating confirms that the sequence covers a large span of time, encompassing the Early and Final Bronze Age. The site is probably the longest and best conserved sequence for the Bronze Age in the Apennines and offers the opportunity to understand the subsistence strategies in this environment; moreover, palaeoclimatic studies on local speleothems will explain the relationships between the main climatic changes in the area and human response.

Archaeological evidence of Pinus halepensis, P. brutia and P. pinea in Ancient Thrace

Lenka Parvoničová

Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Pinus halepensis is closely related to Pinus brutia (Pinus halepensis subsp. brutia (Ten.) Holmboe) as well as Pinus pinea. All these species share many of their characteristics, including that their resin was used to seal pottery vessels during transport via sea (or river). None of these species naturally occurred in the territory of Bulgaria, although during the Classical and Hellenistic period, archaeobotanical remains (pine nut shells) and chemical analyses of the organic residues from the material stored in the vessels suggest that their products were widely imported into Ancient Thrace. The abundant traces of the Aleppo Pine indicate the presence of conservation as well as the Greek wine retsina. This type of resin was used to give a unique flavor to white wine and it must have been imported from Greece mainland or the Aegean islands (e.g. Thasos, Rhodes) where the retsina was usually produced.

Archaeobotany and ancient biomolecules from the Early and Middle Holocene wild cereals in central Sahara

Rita Fornaciari1, Anna Maria Mercuri1, Laura Arru1, Savino di Lernia2,3

1Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy; 3University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Botanical remains recovered from archaeological sites point to a long-time exploitation of wild cereals. Archaeobotanical and biomolecular research has been carried out on spikelets found at the Takarkori rock shelter (central Sahara). The site has been excavated by the Italian-Libyan Archaeological Mission (Sapienza University of Rome), which chronology ranges from c. 10,200 to c. 4,600 calBP. The morphometrical analysis of Panicum laetum, Echinochloa colona and Sorghum bicolor subsp. verticilliflorum shows that each genus has uniform size. The ancient DNA analysis on Panicum, by means of the DNA barcoding approach, shows the phylogenetic relationships between ancient P. laetum and the modern species. The set of data obtained from this research allowed a better understanding of both the palaeo-environmental context, made by climate and human actions, and the past human behaviour in exploiting wild cereals.

The palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Terramara Santa Rosa di Poviglio from the Bronze Age to the XVIth century AD (SUCCESSO-TERRA project)

Anna Maria Mercuri1, Assunta Florenzano1, Eleonora Rattighieri1, Elisa Furia1, Paola Torri1, Mauro Cremaschi2

1Unimore, Italy; 2Unimi, Italy

The poster shows the palynological research carried out on the Santa Rosa di Poviglio (Northern Italy), an archaeological site recently at the centre of the national-funded project SUCCESSO-TERRA. In this project, the environmental and land-use changes have been investigated to understand their relationships over the last millennia. This site was a terramara during the Middle/Recent Bronze ages (1550–1170 BC). Pollen samples were collected from trenches excavated within the moat and ditch surrounding the site (from the oldest sequence: VP/VG, VP/VGII, VP/VGIII). The interdisciplinary geoarchaeological and archaeobotanical research wants to reconstruct environmental changes that occurred from the onset of the terramara to the following phases, until the XVIth century AD, taking this site as emblematic of the land transformations of the southern-central part of the Po Plain.

The environmental perspective from the Late Antique archaeological context of Villa del Casale and Philosophiana (central Sicily)

Maria Chiara Montecchi1, Eleonora Rattighieri1, Paola Torri1, Assunta Florenzano1, Daniele Dallai1, Emanuele Vaccaro2, Anna Maria Mercuri1

1Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Università degli Studi di Trento

Villa del Casale and Philosophiana are among the best evidence of rural contexts of the Roman period in Sicily. These sites have been recently studied with focus to the end of 3rd until the 7th century AD, a transitional period. Based on interdisciplinary projects, the on-site palynological analyses allowed to obtain the reconstruction of the agrarian and cultural landscape during Late Antiquity. Pollen and archaeological data confirm that this area had the role of major producer of cereal foodstuffs. In additon, pollen suggests a continuity of the agrarian landscape during this period, when landscape transformations lead the past vegetation to the modern landscape of this island.

On the question of the grapevine cultivation origin in Moravia

Michaela Latkova1, Mária Hajnalová2, Pavol Eliáš (jun.)3

1The Institute of Archaeology AV ČR, Brno, v. v. i., Czech Republic; 2Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra; 3Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra

The grapevine seeds belong to one of the most important cultivated fruit evidence in archaeobotanical records from historic period. This is why the issue of the origin of cultivation, including the presence of wild and domesticated subspecies in the same area, is one of the basic subjects of the archaeobotanical research. The poster presents data on the archaeobotanical pips from the Mikulčice site in Moravia.

The plant landscape of Roman Tuscany and the Peasant Agricultural Strategies in the Cinigiano area

Anna Maria Mercuri1, Eleonora Rattighieri1, Rossella Rinaldi1, Assunta Florenzano1, Emanuele Vaccaro2, Kimberly Bowes3

1Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Dipartimento di Lettere e Filosofia, Università di Trento, Italy; 3University of Pennsylvania, USA

This paper present the last results of the archaeoenvironmental study started with the interdisciplinary research of the Roman Peasant Project ( that deals with the Roman peasants living in small farmhouses of southern Tuscany, in central Italy. Data were obtained from seven rural sites excavated.

From the Archaeobotanical study result a moment of intensive land use in the late Republican/early Imperial date and to possible use of convertible agriculture strategies.

These data point to a major moment of intensified use and management of the land,that returns, residues of convertible agricultural strategies in which pasture, including cultivated fodder, alternated with legumes and cereals.

Could seed image analysis be helpful in the archaeobotanical studies? The case of Vitis

Mariano Ucchesu1, Marco Sarigu1, Oscar Grillo2, Alessandro Usai3, Gianfranco Venora2, Diego Sabato4, Gianluigi Bacchetta1

1Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy; 2Stazione Consorziale Sperimentale di Granicoltura per la Sicilia; 3Soprintendenza Archeologia belle arti e paesaggio per la città metropolitana di Cagliari e per le province di Oristano e Sud Sardegna; 4GI Arqueobiología, Instituto de Historia (CSIC)

Application of computer vision techniques in archaeological plant remains, proved to be an effective tool for the identification of both charred and waterlogged seeds. Plant remains can give important information about the relationship between human and plants in the past, related to diet, plant domestication. In some cases, identification of remains is not easy because of the alteration of the morphology seed shape. Moreover, since the archaeological seeds of many domesticated plants are morphologically very similar to those of wild ancestors, it is very difficult to distinguish them. For example, the seeds of Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris and Vitis vinifera L. ssp. vinifera, are highly similar. In this study, the results about image analysis applied on waterlogged and charred grapevine seeds found in the archaeological sites of Sa Osa (Cabras, Sardinia) and Monte Meana (Santadi, Sardinia), respectively dated to the 12th- 10th BC and to the (2017–1751 cal. BC), are presented.

The dynamics of non-forested area in Ore Mts.: An effect of a short-lived medieval village on local environment

Ivana Pravcova1,2, Petra Houfkova1, Jan Horak3,4, Adela Pokorna5,6, Tomas Besta1, Jan Novak1, Tomas Klir3

1Laboratory of Archaeobotany and Palaeoecology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic; 2Institute of Archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic; 3Institute of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Czech Republic; 4Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Czech Republic; 5Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Czech Republic; 6Institute of Archaeology in Prague, v.v.i., Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic

Spindelbach was a short-lived and deserted medieval village located in a marginal area above 800 m a.s.l. on the ridge of the Ore Mts., NW Bohemia, Central Europe (CE). Colonization of the area started in the 2nd half of the 13th century AD, but the village was ceased no more than 200 years later. Our aim was (1) to trace the effect of a short-termed settlement on the local environment, (2) to describe the dynamics of associated non-forested areas, (3) to distinguish the sustainability of village´s agricultural background particularly during MWP and at the onset of LIA.

Archaeobotanical finds from the Brina medieval castle in the lower Magra valley (La Spezia - Italy): first results

Andrea Bertacchi1, Neva Chiarenza2, Monica Baldassarri3

1University of Pisa, Italy; 2Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la città metropolitana di Genova e le province di Imperia, La Spezia e Savona; 3Museo Civico di Montopoli in Val d’Arno (Pisa)

This paper presents the results of the first study of the archaeobotanical finds from the medieval settlement of Brina (X-XVI century A.D.) located in a hilly territory in the lower Magra valley near Sarzana (La Spezia - Italy) (Figure 1). These macroremains are mostly represented by a large amount of charred wheat caryopses and broad bean seeds, in addition to a small amount of seeds and / or fruits of wild species. All these macroremains were found in two distinct areas inside the settlement walls and in ground pits in a storage area and from vessels used in a sort of a ‘dry kiln’ used in the XI century AD. What remained belonged to agricultural production of crops that supposedly were not in close proximity to the settlement, given the topographical position of the castle yet in the same territory of jurisdiction of the castle .

Land cover and land use change in the archaeological sites of the Prato province (Tuscany, Italy).

Francesco Ciani, Lorella Dell'Olmo, Marta Mariotti Lippi, Bruno Foggi

University of Florence, Italy.

Spatial analysis of land cover and land use changes is one of the most important tools to detect the impact of human activity on the ecosystems. In this study, we analyzed the land cover changes of the Prato province (Tuscany, Italy) over the last sixty years using georeferenced aerial photographs. A set of 43 points has been selected, according to Archeological map of the Prato province, in order to study areas affected by human frequentation since Prehistory. The constant anthropic impact is shown by the regular reduction of cultivated areas and the increase of urbanized surface. This has led to an homogenization of the previous landscape mosaic and an increase in woodland areas, as has been also observed in other areas of Tuscany.

Image analysis technique for the identification of archaeological 'Prunus' fruit-stones of Sardinia

Marco Sarigu1,2, Mariano Ucchesu1,2, Oscar Grillo3, Alessandro Usai4, Ignazio Sanna4, Carla del Vais5, Guy d’Hallewin6, Giovanna Bosi7, Gianluigi Bacchetta1,2

1Banca del Germoplasma della Sardegna (BG-SAR), Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK), Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy; 2Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente (DISVA), Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy; 3Stazione Consorziale Sperimentale di Granicoltura per la Sicilia, Italy; 4Soprintendenza Archeologia belle arti e paesaggio per la città metropolitana di Cagliari e per le province di Oristano e Sud Sardegna, Italy; 5Dipartimento di Storia, Beni Culturali e Territorio, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy; 6Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari, Sassari, Italy; 7Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

In this work waterlogged Prunus fruit-stones from the archaeological sites of Sa Osa (1286-1115 BC), Santa Giusta (600-300 BC) and Via Satta-Sassari (1330-1360 AD) were compared with modern samples of P. spinosa and P. domestica collected in Sardinia by image analysys. Digital images were processed using the software ImageJ able to measure 26 morphometric features and 80 Elliptic Fourier Descriptors. Prunus remains from Sa Osa have been identified as wild in the 100% of the case while the fruit-stones of Santa Giusta were identify as P. spinosa (53) and P. domestica (11) respectively. Also, the fruit-stones remains found in Via Satta showed similarities with yellow modern varieties of P. domestica. These analyses indicated that the use and consumption of P. domestica was well established in Sardinia since the Phoenician and Punic period. Therefore, the use and consumption of P. spinosa was still a diffuse practice since the Prehistory.

A geoarchaeological perspective on human-environmental sustainability in arid lands of North Africa

Andrea Zerboni1, Kathleen Nicoll2, Mauro Cremaschi1

1Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy; 2University of Utah, USA

Geoarchaeology is the application of the methods of Earth Sciences to study archaeological contexts and landscapes, and it fundamentally contributes to the field of Environmental Archaeology. This paper considers the many possible contributions of Geoarchaeology for ancient landscapes reconstruction, sites distribution, and natural resources exploitation, including the main issue of human-environmental sustainability in arid lands of North Africa. One of the main challenges for Geoarchaeology in arid North Africa, where erosion is the prevailing surface process, is to detect the invisible and intangible traces of human occupation, landscape exploitation, and climate changes; geoarchaeologists must discuss the considerable geomorphological and ecological complexity of any site located in a desert, and to consider the larger region beyond the site as they very carefully reconstruct past environmental changes that affected the mutual human-environment sustainability.

New tool for identification of Mediterranean plant diaspores

Diego Sabato, Leonor Peña-Chocarro

GI Arqueobiología, Instituto de Historia, CSIC, Spain

The identification of plant remains is the basis of archaeobotanical research and atlantes are undoubtedly an excellent tool for this purpose. The first documents guiding the identification of seeds and fruits based on their morphology were published in the second half of the last century. Nowadays, new updated atlantes have recently been published focusing on economic plants and/or northern, central and eastern European floras, including only partially Mediterranean taxa.

After nearly 25 years of research, our laboratory holds a large seed collection comprising cultivated and wild species as well as many economic plants from the Mediterranean Basin. Driven by our desire to share the results achieved with scientists from all over the world, an idea was born of creating a new database with high quality images of seeds and fruits, especially intended to help the identification process.


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