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Understanding Late Pleistocene Landscapes of Central Italy: a Multidisciplinary Approach

Gatta, Maurizio (2017) Understanding Late Pleistocene Landscapes of Central Italy: a Multidisciplinary Approach. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

It is now clear in archaeology that a full interpretation of sites cannot be realised if information about the environmental setting and constraints of the surrounding context are not available. The Latium coast (central Italy) has been extensively investigated since the 19th century and is one of the regions with the highest number of prehistoric sites in Italy. In spite of this, multidisciplinary environmental reconstructions of this region are still absent. This thesis deals with investigations of the travertine quarry Cava Muracci (Latium, central Italy), where excavations were carried out between 2012 and 2016. Seven caves were discovered, coprolites, a large faunal assemblage and a small lithic collection were found at one of them (i.e. Area 3) which was revealed to be a cave hyena den dating between 44–34 ka BP. A holistic palaeoecological study has been undertaken to increase our knowledge of the environment of the coastal Latium, the so-called Pontine Plain. Pollen analysis of cave hyena coprolites, an extremely undervalued resource, has been carried out for the first time in the region. This study has provided new insights into the vegetation and climate of the Pontine Plain, previously known only through distant pollen records. The faunal assemblage from the den has also been exhaustively studied. The environmental inferences have then been combined with the pollen data and geological information. The results returned a complex reconstruction of the local landscape, with at least three main habitats and a wide biodiversity. Finally, the role of the Pontine Plain as an ecological refugium has been examined. The results of this research suggest the region had milder environmental constraints, providing an optimal place to live to several faunal and vegetational taxa also during the harshest millennia of Late Pleistocene.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Mr. Maurizio Gatta
Date Deposited: 04 May 2018 16:02
Last Modified: 04 May 2018 16:02
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19830

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