EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Upper Pleistocene sea level changes and human peopling at the northern margin of the Mediterranean Sea: the S-P-Heritage Project

Andrea Zerboni1, Irene M. Bollati1, Luca Forti1, Silvia Gazzo2, Abdelkader Moussous3, Giovanni Muttoni1, Fabio Negrino2, Olivier Notter3, Manuela Pelfini1, Alessandro Perego1, Serena Perini1, Luca Ragaini4, Eleonora Regattieri5, Elena Rossoni-Notter3, Alessio Rovere6, Deirdre Ryan4, Marco Serradimigni4, Elisabetta Starnini4, Matteo Vacchi4, and Marta Pappalardo4
Andrea Zerboni et al.
  • 1Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy (
  • 2Università di Genova, Genova, Italy
  • 3Musée d’Anthropologie préhistorique de Monaco, Monaco
  • 4Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  • 5CNR-IGG, Pisa, Italy
  • 6Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia, Italy

Since the Pleistocene, the Mediterranean is a hot spot for climate change and human migrations, thus offering the opportunity to investigate how human populations have responded to environmental changes and sea level variations. This is the main topic of the SPHeritage Project (MUR grant: FIRS2019_00040, P.I.: M. Pappalardo) that proposes an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the human-environment interaction (in particular sea level variations) over the last 400,000 years using a combination of micro-invasive methods. The Project is re-investigating the well-known archaeological area of ​​the Balzi Rossi (Ventimiglia, at the border between Italy and France), which represents a unique assemblage of archaeological sites dating to the Palaeolithic, distributed in a geomorphological setting rich of markers of past sea level changes. As most of the local archaeological sequences have been extensively investigated at the beginning of the last century and large part of the deposits removed, we will combine the analyses of materials preserved in museums (including strips of sediments) and the remnants still preserved inside many rockshelters and caves of the archaeological complex. Moreover, our geomorphological survey identified new sedimentary sequences preserving information on relative sea level changes. This approach will permit to obtain innovative data submitting small samples to state-of-the-art methods for dating and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, thus offering the opportunity to better constrain the time and steps of climate change, sea level oscillations, and human settlements. Moreover, data will converge into geoheritage analyses aimed at finding the best practices for promoting and protecting the site. Here, we present an overview of the project and preliminary results from some of the major archaeological sites.

How to cite: Zerboni, A., Bollati, I. M., Forti, L., Gazzo, S., Moussous, A., Muttoni, G., Negrino, F., Notter, O., Pelfini, M., Perego, A., Perini, S., Ragaini, L., Regattieri, E., Rossoni-Notter, E., Rovere, A., Ryan, D., Serradimigni, M., Starnini, E., Vacchi, M., and Pappalardo, M.: Upper Pleistocene sea level changes and human peopling at the northern margin of the Mediterranean Sea: the S-P-Heritage Project, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4794,, 2022.