ANTHROPOGENIC POLLEN INDICATORS (API) FROM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AS LOCAL EVIDENCE OF HUMAN-INDUCED ENVIRONMENTS IN THE ITALIAN PENINSULA

A. M. Mercuri, M. Bandini Mazzanti, A. Florenzano, M.C. Montecchi, E. Rattighieri, P. Torri

Abstract


Pollen data from twenty-six archaeological sites are reviewed to investigate the development of human-induced environments through the presence of selected Anthropogenic Pollen Indicators (API). The sites are located in six Italian regions - Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicily - and in the Republic of San Marino. Their chronology spans from the Bronze to the Renaissance ages, from approximately 4200 to 500 years BP. The API which are common in these sites are properly considered important markers of human activity and anthropization in the Mediterranean area. The most frequent API taxa in pollen spectra are seven: Artemisia, Centaurea, Cichorieae and Plantago are ubiquitous and therefore they have the major relevance, followed by cereals and Urtica, and by Trifolium type. The spread of plants producing these pollen grains is sometimes marked by high percentage values in pollen spectra. Pollen records show that, as expected, cereals and wild synanthropic herbs were widespread near archaeological sites but local differences are evident. Ecological and chrono-cultural reasons may be at the base of the observed differences. In general, the synanthropic plants well represent the xeric environments that developed as a result of the continuous human pressure and changes in soil compositions. These changes have occurred especially during the mid and late Holocene.


Keywords


pollen; anthropogenic indicators; synanthropic plants; cultural landscape; archaeological sites; Italy; Mediterranean

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4462/annbotrm-10316

Annali di Botanica is published by the Department of Environmental Biology - University La Sapienza of Rome, Italy. The journal is printed by Sapienza Università di Roma - Centro Stampa Università.

ISSN: 2239-3129