- The Agro Pontino region, refuge after the Early Bronze Age Avellino eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Italy?
- Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
In recent years it was discovered that the Middle to Late Holocene infi ll of the Agro Pontino graben (Central Italy) held a tephra layer originating from the Avellino eruption of the Vesuvius volcano. The eruption is dated to 1995 ± 10 calBC and took therefore place during the Early Bronze Age. This was a violent eruption, covering large parts of Campania, the region in which the volcano is situated, with
its ashes. The local population had time to fl ee, but did not return for a period of hundreds of years. One of the possibilities is that people fl ed to the quiet Agro Pontino, at a distance of 120 km, to settle.
The fact that the low-lying parts of the graben hold wet, organic deposits of the appropriate age, containing the Avellino tephra layer, provided an opportunity to assess whether an infl ux of new inhabitants is discernable directly after the Avellino event, as a substantial number of newcomers might be detected by an intensifi cation of anthropogenous stress on the environment. The question is tackled by means of pollen analysis, plant macro-remains, malacology and a small excavation.
The outcome of these investigations shows that some impact on the environment is visible, but that it is far from clear whether this effect is due to people from abroad or due to an increase of the local population.
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