Conveners: Pierluigi Rosina, Maurizio Zambaldi
| Tue, 13 Sep, 11:00–16:30, 17:00–19:00|Room Sala Inês de Castro-C1E
| Attendance Tue, 13 Sep, 16:45–17:00 | Display Mon, 12 Sep, 09:00–Tue, 13 Sep, 19:00|Poster area

Orals: Tue, 13 Sep | Room Sala Inês de Castro-C1E

Chairpersons: Maurizio Zambaldi, Opeyemi Adewumi
Opeyemi Adewumi, Luiz Oosterbeek, Josep Vallverdú i Poch, Mário Quinta-Ferreira, Pierluigi Rosina, Telmo Pereira, and Sara Garcês

Cadaval cave is located in a karstic canyon of the Nabão River, in the right margin of the Tagus River basin, municipality of Tomar, Centre of Portugal. The site encompasses a long stratigraphic sequence from present days to, at least, the Middle Palaeolithic. Major excavations were made during the 1980’s and restarted in 2019 under the scope of the FCT funded project - Moving tasks across shapes: the agro-pastoralists spread from and into the Alto Ribatejo (MTAS), (PTDC/EPH-ARQ/4356/2014).The Holocene sequence has three main sedimentary units: Layer E (without human occupation), Layer D (with Late early to Middle Neolithic necropolis) and Layer C (with a Late Neolithic necropolis). Because of the lack of detailed geoarchaeological studies, the process of deposition and modification of sedimentary layers remains in question, this being very important to better interpret natural vs human dynamics, including site formation processes. For instance, Layer E is supposed to correspond to an earlier Holocene stage (Greenlandian), a period in which other caves from the region have dwelling and funerary occupations. This can be related to the low demographic density at the time, but also to the roof collapse event, an idea reinforced by the presence of some Middle Neolithic burials on the top of some large slabs. Nevertheless, a better characterization of its formation and the degree of anthropic impact in the diagenetic process will allow for a clearer interpretation of this and other situations.The main objective of the first author`s ongoing PhD project is to characterize the Late Pleistocene and Holocene sedimentary processes and the site formation processes of the archaeological record in the basin of the Tagus River, namely assessing its anthropic component.  For this, a detailed geoarchaeological investigation is being carried out in several sites, including Cadaval cave, giving particular emphasis to the use of micromorphology.

Keywords: Micromorphology, Cave sediments, Neolithic, Stratigraphy, Holocene.

How to cite: Adewumi, O., Oosterbeek, L., Vallverdú i Poch, J., Quinta-Ferreira, M., Rosina, P., Pereira, T., and Garcês, S.: Micromorphological Insight into the Cave Sediments of Cadaval Cave, Tomar, Portugal., 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-262, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-262, 2022.

Marcin Frączek, Tomasz Kalicki, and Adam Wawrusiewicz

The evolution of these regions included several stages of transformation during the last two Pleistocene glaciations and two interglacial periods – Eemian and Holocene. The origin and age of Biebrza Basin (Podlasie) were associated with erosional processes connected with Oder and Wartha (Saalian) ice sheet or Vistulian – Świecie stadial before LGM.

Results of studies indicate some periods of climatic changes and an increase in morphogenetic processes. The oldest phase of cool and humid climate was dated at Preboreal/Boreal period (Lipsk site) and the beginning of Atlantic (growth of peat bogs in valley floor, river channel cut off at Lipowo site). The next humid period at the end of the Atlantic indicated subfossil trees (trees couldn’t grow on a peat-bog in the valley bottom at the Krasnoborki site). The youngest humid period and beginning of peat accumulation on Subboreal colluvia (delluvia) occurred about 3200-3100 BP (comparison with the Krasnoborki site). Climate fluctuations correlate very well with phases distinguished in Centraleuropean river valleys. 

Geoarchaeological research in the Podlasie region confirmed the common settlement points of hunter-gatherer communities from the middle and late stone ages. 

We can decline two types of settlement: first hunter character (Krasnoborki, Lipowo, Lipsk), and second much more complicated and multifunctional site (Grądy-Woniecko).

 The Subneolithis population inhabited dry elevations at the bottom of the river valley and over the water reservoir. Encampments were established in places with the highest biodiversity at the boundary between flooded and non-flooded, forested, and non-forested areas. Environmental changes did not significantly affect subneolitic settlement. Also, the impact of this population on the environment was negligible, which was related to the type of assimilated economy based on hunting and gathering. Subneolitic populations have started the aeolian processes (Grądy-Woniecko site) and the dunes have been transformed, while the colluvial (delluvial) cover at the slope of the sandy elevations is likely to be younger than the period of functioning of the Niemen culture.

Investigations of subneolitic sites on sandy elevations surrounded by organic sediments allow capturing homogenous groups of artifacts of the Niemen culture. Organic layers with well-preserved ecodesign make an opportunity to determine the economical and food characteristics of the societies surveyed, which in the case of "classic" sandy sites is unreachable.

Well-preserved organic remains allow to determine the environmental conditions of settlement and, above all, allow obtaining the absolute chronology thanks to 14C dating.

How to cite: Frączek, M., Kalicki, T., and Wawrusiewicz, A.: The environmental context of Subneolithis settlement of Nieman Culture in Podlasie region (NE Poland), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-703, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-703, 2022.

David Thomas, Sallie L. Burrough, Sheila Coulson, Sarah Mothulatshipi, David J. Nash, and Sigrid Staurset

Central southern Africa is often viewed as an archaeological void, especially when compared to the continent’s heavily researched coastal regions. This is in part due to its geomorphological context: the Kalahari basin is a flat depositional void with few archaeological sites due to limited traditionally-favoured preservation contexts. Yet recently, the Kalahari’s Makgadikgadi mega-palaeolake basin has been controversially proposed, through DNA research, as the ‘ancestral homeland’ of modern humans, prior to MSA dispersal c130k yr ago, with only small residual populations remaining thereafter (Chan et al., 2019), despite the absence of supporting archaeological data.

Rather than being archaeologically-sterile, we provide new data from four field seasons that demonstrate the richness (hundreds) of MSA sites in the Makgadikgadi basin, their unique context on the palaeolake floor, and the significance of geomorphological processes in explaining their location, high preservation quality, and modern exposure at the surface. Six sites have been excavated, including extensive undisturbed silcrete MSA lithic spreads. One can be dated to within 81-68 ka, another occurred after 57ka, both resting on, and then buried by, OSL-dated palaeolake sediments derived from high lake stands. Human use of the basin floor occurring during low, or seasonally dry, phase of the basin’s complex hydrological history. Sites are being exposed at the surface of today’s dry basin through processes of aeolian deflation, removing ancient lake sediments from one of Africa’s major atmospheric dust sources.

Our work shows that without a clear understanding of Makgadikgadi’s geomorphological history, and of the processes operating in the system, it is difficult to appropriately explain the preservation and quality of the MSA sites in the basin. Our work shows a more complex environmental dynamic, and likely a more complex early human history, that previous research has suggested.

Reference: Chan EKF et al 2019 ‘Human origins in a southern African palaeo-wetland and first migrations’. Nature 575, 185-189

How to cite: Thomas, D., Burrough, S. L., Coulson, S., Mothulatshipi, S., Nash, D. J., and Staurset, S.: Buried by lake sediments, revealed by deflation: the MSA of Makgadikgadi, central southern Africa, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-730, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-730, 2022.

Yohan Chabot, Vincent Lefevre, and Coline Lefrancq

If the Geological Survey of Bangladesh has been very active for more than 40 years, the principal missions of the organization are linked to the management of mineral resources and other climatic problems like the rising of sea level, scarcity of drinking water, etc. There exist few research projects on the paleoenvironment connecting archaeologists and geomorphologists even if the trend is changing. For Mahasthangarh, the archaeological mission did not explore this matter much since the pioneering work conducted by Christine Jacqueminet and Jean-Paul Bravard in the 1990’s.

Since February 2022, the Mahasthangarh mission includes a paleoenvironment component. This new project was motivated by a specific archaeological an environmental context. Mahasthangarh is an important ancient fortified city founded around the 4th centuries BC. The site was the capital of Pundravardhana province, in Northern Bengal, before being gradually abandoned from the 14th century AD on. Mahasthangarh is located on the eastern margin of the Barind Tract, a Pleistocene elevated alluvial terrace, along the Karatoya River. Today, the Karatoya is a small river but in the ancient times it was a major river (up to three times wider than the Ganges in the 12th century AD). According to written sources and ancient maps, the Karatoya River seems to have undergone many changes over the past 2000 years and especially over the last two centuries. As well as, some parts of the site seem to have been damaged by floods according to archaeological findings. However, this active dynamic has never been recorded by sedimentary studies and the available data are incomplete and lack clarification.

This presentation will share an update on the available data and an overview on the new objectives of the research, the methodology (based on a geomorphological approach) and the preliminary results of the first campaign (based on 15 boreholes, 6 stratigraphic sections and 253 samples) in order to reconstruct the environmental history of Mahasthangarh during the different chronological periods of the site occupation.


How to cite: Chabot, Y., Lefevre, V., and Lefrancq, C.: The paleoenvironment of Mahasthangarh (Bangladesh) during the Pre-Modern Period., 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-75, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-75, 2022.

Mauro Bonasera, Francesco Parizia, Francesco Gregorio, Stefania Lanza, Luigi Perotti, Walter Alberto, Mario Vitti, Giandomenico Fubelli, and Giovanni Randazzo

According to Pliny the Elder, ancient Tyndaris, one of the most important Greek-Roman colonies overlooking the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, rapidly declined in the First Century AD because of natural disasters. In Naturalis Historia, he dedicated an entire chapter to the cities carried away by sea storms and waves. Historical bibliographic research and a geomorphological survey have been performed to shed light on the occurred phenomena, flanked by UAV flights and photogrammetry. The nadir and off-nadir UAV flights allowed to observe out-of-reach areas of Tyndaris promontory. The generation of a high-resolution DSM and orthophotos and the export of the 3D model provided a basis for the structural analysis of the coastal cliff and allowed to map geomorphological elements. In particular, the fieldwork along the coastline highlighted landforms related to gravity as rockfall, rock avalanche and debris flow deposits rich of archaeological remains. The results gave clear information on how the geomorphological evolution weighed upon Tyndaris urban features.

How to cite: Bonasera, M., Parizia, F., Gregorio, F., Lanza, S., Perotti, L., Alberto, W., Vitti, M., Fubelli, G., and Randazzo, G.: How geomorphological processes conditioned the historical evolution of the Greek-Roman city of Tyndaris (Messina Province, Northern Sicily, Italy), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-334, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-334, 2022.

Lunch break
Chairpersons: Maurizio Zambaldi, Opeyemi Adewumi
Avni Yoav, Oron Maya, Cohen-Sasson Eli, Porat Naomi, and Barzilai Omry

The Negev desert is a part of the northern Saharo-Arabian desert belt, a major physical barrier between Africa and southwest Asia. Its location at the crossroads of the two continents makes it a perfect region to trace the presence of early hominins on the route from Africa to the Levant in major dispersal events. Geomorphological mapping in the central Negev region allows a reconstruction of the Plio-Pleistocene landscape, and the processes that shaped the Negev desert. Features that characterize this arid to hyper-arid region are sequences of alluvial terraces and small-scale wetland deposits, covering the last 2 Ma, now evident in the present-day landscape as a series of abandoned alluvial terraces standing 100-5 m above the active stream channels, containing conglomerates, fine silty sediments and travertines. In this study we integrate alluvial terraces with scattered outcrops of travertines and wetland deposits, marking the locations of past water resources in the central Negev. The environmental reconstruction enabled us to conceive a conceptual model and produce a detailed map that predicts the preferable locations for archaeological sites from the Lower and Middle Paleolithic periods. The outcome of this study is a validated model for tracing Paleolithic sites in their geomorphological contexts and a better understanding of the role of the Negev in Middle Pleistocene hominin dispersals.

The geoarchaeological survey, supported by luminescence ages, demonstrates that the Q1 surface, composed of several individual alluvial terraces, is 310-350 ka, corresponding to the Lower Paleolithic Acheulian handaxes. The Q2 surface shows two sub-terraces deposited between 150-90 ka, that correspond to Middle Paleolithic occurrences while the Q3 surface is composed of a single terrace deposited between 70-18 ka, corresponding to the last glacial event. This terrace contains the MP-UP transition. This study demonstrates the advantage of integrating geomorphological mapping, numerical dating of alluvial terraces and prehistoric surveys. This approach substantially increased the number of Lower and Middle Paleolithic sites and findspots in a region that had been surveyed in the past. The results show both Mousterian and Acheulian presence in the Central Negev area are associated with specific dated geomorphological surfaces. This alone, in our view, is an important addition to the archaeological knowledge gathered in previous works. The presence of Lower and Middle Paleolithic localities in the study area suggest that the Negev was inhabited during the Middle Pleistocene dispersal events, but this topic needs to be further studied by archaeological excavations. The dating of alluvial indicates that during the Middle and Late Pleistocene, the same sequence of alluvial terraces (Q1-Q3) developed in drainage basins regardless of their final drainage outlet (Eastern Mediterranean or Dead Sea). Our model for tracing Paleolithic sites in their geomorphological contexts can be valid in other desert regions of the Levant, and possibly in other arid regions world-wide.

How to cite: Yoav, A., Maya, O., Eli, C.-S., Naomi, P., and Omry, B.: Chrono-sequences of alluvial terraces and fossilized water bodies as a predictive model for detecting Lower and Middle Palaeolithic sites in the Negev desert, Israel, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-116, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-116, 2022.

Luís Almeida, Maurizio Zambaldi, Cristina Gameiro, João Leónidas, Nelson Antunes, Natacha Nogueira, and Nuno Neto

In the framework of a preventive archaeological excavation at the Unidade de Execução de Entrecampos - Parcela A (UEE-PA) in central Lisbon, Portugal, a sedimentary succession preserving evidence ranging from Prehistory to the 20th century was unearthed. In order to better understand the site stratigraphy, two trenches (N-S/E-W) of about 40 m long and 5.50 m deep were opened in February 2022 by mechanical means allowing us to identify a sedimentary succession ranging from the Miocene bedrock to Holocene deposits.  Considering the importance of this stratification and its almost unique state of preservation for the city, we decided to follow a broad geoarchaeological approach, including geomorphological, sedimentological and lithic techno-typological analyses, as well as radiocarbon and OSL dating. Here we present some preliminary data, while further microstratigraphic analysis and physical-chemical and mineralogical characterisation of the deposits (grain size analyses, pH and organic matter content, XRD of clays) are ongoing. The alluvial plain deposits at the UEE-PA at Entrecampos are framed in the upper basin of the Ribeira de Alcântara valley and are related to a branch of the hydrographic drainage network of the Lumiar and Campo Grande plateau, on the right bank of the Tagus River close to its Atlantic mouth; their geomorphological expression is evident in the smooth base profile and the quite large deposits resulting from the erosion and transport of tertiary bedrock softest formations. The infill and incision are presumably in accordance with the Quaternary fluvial model of the Lower Tagus River sedimentary record. At the site, the depositional dynamics consist of aggradation related to a high dynamic discharge recorded at the base of the alluvial deposits, with a progressive reduction of the transport flux capacity to the top, resulting in turn in a silty loam floodplain deposit. The latter preserves a consistent number of lithic artefacts at its base (Palaeolithic and/or Mesolithic), pointing to a late Pleistocene or early Holocene chronology. This situation suggests the occurrence of  subsequent intermittent depositions that marked the initial stage of the suspended watercourse load, followed by the activation of soil formation processes which slightly affected the underlying sandy deposits as well. Further investigation will provide an absolute chronology for the main depositional events and will therefore help to reach a better understanding of the local paleoenvironmental and geoarchaeological contexts during the Quaternary in a central area in Lisbon city.

How to cite: Almeida, L., Zambaldi, M., Gameiro, C., Leónidas, J., Antunes, N., Nogueira, N., and Neto, N.: Geoarchaeology of the alluvial plain deposits at Entrecampos, Lisboa: first insights for a stratigraphic reconstruction, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-386, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-386, 2022.

Tara Beuzen-Waller

In Oman, quaternary climatic fluctuations alternated between humid and arid periods. As humid periods triggered increasing rainfall and fluvio-lacustrine activity, allowing for less restrictive arid conditions, they are a key component in the landscape evolution and in the early human-environment history. Fluvial archives are of great interest for understanding the hydrosystems’ local responses to Holocene regional climatic fluctuations and water ressources availability and reachability. For the Holocene, little data are available in Northern Oman to examine the impact of the Holocene Pluvial Phase on hydrosystems and the timescale of the onset of arid conditions around 5.500 BP. Here, we will present fluvial records from southern part of the Hajar Mountains’ piedmont. Geomorphological mapping, morphostratigraphic analyses of natural and excavated sections, malacological analyses and age-dating supported by OSL and radiocarbon methods provided us a better understanding of aggradations phases in link with fluvial activity and increasing rainfall. Phases of aggradation has been identified between around 11,500 cal. BP, between 6,610 cal. BP and 5,400 cal. BP and around 2,700 cal. BP. We will compare and discuss the hydro-climatic data obtained with fluvial archives to archaeological sites distribution and development of hydraulic system during the Bronze age and the Iron age in several archaeological areas of the southern piedmont of the Hajar mountains (Bisyah, Adam, Al Khashbah)

How to cite: Beuzen-Waller, T.: Holocene fluvial archives and contributions for the study of prehistoric and protohistoric periods, southern piedmont the Hajar Mountains (Oman), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-84, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-84, 2022.

Aziz Ballouche, Mathilde Stern, Emmanuel Weisskopf, David Landry, Aline Garnier, Hamady Bocoum, and Luc Laporte

In the Sudano-Sahelian context, where strong seasonal contrasts characterize the climatic and hydrological regimes, palaeoenvironmental studies are faced with a real challenge, because the exacerbated hydro-sedimentary functioning generally limits the conservation of quality records. In the middle valley of the Bao Bolon River (Region of Kaffrine, Central Senegal), fluvial sediments constitute useful archives for characterizing past hydrosystems, their paleoenvironments and their hydro-climatic changes. These archives can also record the contemporary landscape dynamics of ancient societies. The region is characterised by human presence for at least two millennia, as evidenced by the megalithic World Heritage Site of Wanar. This megalithic complex has been the subject of archaeological excavations since 2005, recently coupled with geoarchaeological analyses (field geomorphology and soil analysis, chronostratigraphy, sedimentology, geochemistry, organic matter analysis, bio-indicators, fire signal) in order to reconstruct the evolution of the environment at different time scales under natural and anthropogenic forcing. The numerous profiles studied (cores, sections, transects) reveal a richness and consistency of fluvial sedimentary records at the Holocene scale, rare in West Africa.

At the Holocene scale, regional climatic fluctuations explain the construction of a chronostratigraphic sequence marked by about ten phases of sedimentary aggradation, separated by periods of crisis, even erosion. The last two millennia, which have seen in particular the development of Megalithism, are fairly well documented and make it possible to cross hydro-sedimentary dynamics and anthropogenic action. The periods of funerary activity on the site of Wanar (10th-13th centuries) witnessed significant erosion in the watershed near the site. During the 20th century, the integration of this region into the “Groundnut Basin” of Senegal, with a transition towards increasingly intensive agriculture, led to a drastic change in environmental dynamics by an exacerbation of hydro-geomorphological processes: colluviation and slope-wash, gullying and filling of valley bottoms.

This coupling of the long and short time scales clearly accounts for a gradual transition from a Holocene operating logic to an Anthropocene model.

How to cite: Ballouche, A., Stern, M., Weisskopf, E., Landry, D., Garnier, A., Bocoum, H., and Laporte, L.: Long- to short-term environmental changes in the Bao Bolon River valley (Senegal). A geoarchaeological perspective on a World Heritage site (Wanar)., 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-580, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-580, 2022.

Dorota Czerski, Daphné Giacomazzi, and Cristian Scapozza

Understanding the past river dynamics, their relationship with the climate oscillations, and their impact on humans as a resource and/or natural risk, is very crucial. In recent times many studies were carried out to determine the evolution of the hydro-sedimentary dynamics of Alpine rivers in the past, trying to predict the future effect of the increased fluvial activity leading to repeated floods, especially in the current context of climate change.

The present contribution is the object of a recent publication (Czerski et al. 2022, Geogr. Helv. 77) on the evolution of the fluvial environments of the Ticino river alluvial plain (Southern Switzerland). The research is based on historical sources, previous investigations on three sites based in the Ticino river floodplain, and data collected on six archaeological sites located on four alluvial fans. The results revealed a complex interaction of the Ticino river and its lateral tributaries with the human communities since the Neolithic (5400–2200 BCE). The lithostratigraphy and the archaeological evidence described on the field were constrained by radiocarbon dating, providing the interpretation of the depositional context of the studied sequences and their correlation with the geological epochs and the cultural periods defined for the Southern Swiss Alps. The combined approach allowed for the definition of 13 phases of enhanced hydro-sedimentary activity covering a period between the Neolithic and the contemporary period. The palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic causes of these phases and their impacts on the human settlements are evaluated.

Most of the enhanced hydro-sedimentary phases could be linked to the regional or continental palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic context, recorded in correspondence with periods of climate degradation with the establishment of cold and humid conditions, evidence of glacier advances in the Swiss Alps, and/or by an increase in the flood activity on the southern side of the Alps. The more recent phases, in particular, are attributed to the coldest and moistest phases of the Little Ice Age (LIA) climate oscillation. The collected data allowed us also to assess the impacts of these enhanced alluvial phases on the human communities and to explain many of the sedimentological and archaeological observations on the field. For example, the torrential events attributed to the LIA had a strong impact on the construction and destruction phases observed for the archaeological site of Giubiasco Palasio.

The study is still ongoing; the summary on the evolution of the hydro-sedimentary dynamics of the Ticino river and its tributaries presented herein will be continuously refined and updated with further sedimentological and archaeological observations.

How to cite: Czerski, D., Giacomazzi, D., and Scapozza, C.: Evolution of fluvial environments and history of human settlements on the Ticino river alluvial plain (Southern Switzerland), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-218, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-218, 2022.

Guillaume Jouve, Cécile Vittori, Gilles Brocard, Matteo Pili, Camille Gonçalves, Amber Goyon, Brahimsamba Bomou, Kévin Jacq, Maxime Debret, Laurent Mattio, Lionel Darras, Christophe Benech, Quentin Vitale, Adèle Bertini, Marco Leporatti-Persiano, Fabio Cianchi, Christine Oberlin, Pierre Sabatier, Valérie Mesnage, and Jean-Philippe Goiran

At the end of the Bronze Age, technical improvements have made possible the rise of the first generation of major sea powers around the Mediterranean realm, such as Etruria in Italy. The Etruscan coast was fringed by large lagoons, of which only one survives today: the lagoon of Orbetello. This peculiar lagoon is held between two sand spits that connect the former island of Argentario to the mainland. A third sand spit lies in the middle of the lagoon, and supports the Etruscan city of Orbetello. Archeological investigations suggest that the lagoon was connected to the sea through a natural outlet until the 9th century BCE, when an integrated management plan of the lagoon was implemented to optimize fishing. Subsequent closure of the natural outlet implies that lagoon management heavily subsequently relied on man-made openings to maintain the lagoon connected to the sea and nearby rivers. Today, three canals connect the lagoon to the sea. Management plans were implemented in the late 20th Century to fight a massive phase of eutrophication driven by excess release of fertilizers. Eutrophication as responsible for extensive fish kills, and to the release of mercury in the water column. Little is known about lagoon management and the evolution of the city before the 17th century CE, but it is clear that the wealth of the city of Orbetello and the health of its lagoon have been strongly correlated over the past three millennia.

               To track this coevolution, we conducted a coring campaign coupled to sub-bottom imaging in the very shallow (<1.5m) waters of this extensive (30 km2) lagoon. iXblue Echoes 10 000 sub-bottom profiler reveals individual layers that can be traced across the lagoon, allowing stratigraphic correlations between cores, and highlighting the environmental significance of the sedimentary facies. Architecture of the deposits reveals a pronounced transgression of the lagoon over its shallowly inward-dipping margins since Antiquity. This led to the flooding of an array of regularly-spaced Roman farms along its southern shorelines, and to a more important flooding of Etruscan structures. Lagoon level rise was driven by a combination of regional sea level rise and fluctuations in the hydraulic balance of the lagoon, controlled by the opening and closure of canals. Sub-bottom imaging reveals buried structures tentatively interpreted as docks and canals used for navigation and salinity control.

               Sediment analyses under XRF scanning, Rock Eval, and hyperspectral imaging reveals that sedimentation is marked by an alternation of black, shelly organic silty clays and decimeter-thick layers of broken shells. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the cores capture up to five millennia of sedimentation. Ongoing analysis of mercury and phosphorus content, ostracods and pollen assemblages, and chromatic pigments in the organic fractions are expected to document the links between sediment facies, eutrophication and salinity crises, and the rise and demise of land and lagoon management through the past three millennia.

               A sub-bottom profiling campaign in June 2022 is aimed at mapping the observed structure. Further coring is planned near putative man-made structures next Fall.

How to cite: Jouve, G., Vittori, C., Brocard, G., Pili, M., Gonçalves, C., Goyon, A., Bomou, B., Jacq, K., Debret, M., Mattio, L., Darras, L., Benech, C., Vitale, Q., Bertini, A., Leporatti-Persiano, M., Cianchi, F., Oberlin, C., Sabatier, P., Mesnage, V., and Goiran, J.-P.: Stratigraphic record of lagoonal management since Antiquity: insights from sediment core analysis and sub-bottom profiling, lagoon of Orbetello, Italy, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-333, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-333, 2022.

Deirdre Ryan and the SPHeritage Project

The caves complex of Balzi Rossi (Ventimiglia, adjacent to the Italian-French border) is recognized as an important site for the study of Paleolithic settlements within the Mediterranean and Europe. As such, it has been subject to archaeological investigation for over a century but with little regard for the associated coastal and marine deposits. Possibly four Pleistocene interglacial periods have been documented there, with three coastlines located at distinct altimetric altitudes. One objective of the SPHeritage project is to precisely identify, describe, and geochronologically constrain these palaeo-coastlines. Constraining the sea-level record within the region will assist in understanding how Paleolithic human populations responded to environmental variations related to Pleistocene sea-level fluctuations and help establish the contribution of vertical Earth movements to paleo and predicted sea-level change. This outcome will be achieved through high-resolution topographic surveys, the reassessment of natural and archaeological stratigraphic sequences (including, through remnants preserved at museums, those completely removed by former archaeological excavations), and a multi-pronged approach to date the marine deposits. We will present the preliminary results and continuing work from our interdisciplinary team that includes geomorphologists, geologists, stratigraphers, paleontologists, and archaeologists. We hope this presentation will serve as an example of multidisciplinary approach to geoarchaeology and stimulate discussion within the community on the influence of relative sea-level changes to the peopling of coastal areas.

How to cite: Ryan, D. and the SPHeritage Project: Ongoing Investigations of the Pleistocene sea-level fluctuations at the Balzi Rossi archaeological area, Ventimiglia, Italy, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-523, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-523, 2022.

Coffee break and poster session
Chairpersons: Maurizio Zambaldi, Opeyemi Adewumi
Nurit Shtober-Zisu, Anna Brook, and Boaz Zissu

During the 5th and the 6th centuries, the prosperous city of Gaza gained its reputation as a port of call for merchants and pilgrims to the Holy Land and as a port for shipment of products to the west. The economic hinterland of Christian Gaza included villages, monasteries and various agricultural estates that provided agricultural merchandise to the city residents (fruits, vegetables, field crops), along with the famous “Gaza Wine” exported across the Mediterranean. The houses in these settlements were built of unfired mud-bricks, while water was collected from roofs and courtyards into underground cisterns.  The cisterns were typically dug into the soil and made of a hardy mixture of cement, rubble, and gravel and coated with layers of hydraulic plaster. The cisterns were cylindrical, with a base diameter of 3-4.5 meters and a maximal depth of ca. 6-8 meters. About a meter below the rim, the cylinder structure tapered upwards into a cone shape, up to a diameter of 0.5 meters, where a stone slab with a square opening covered the cistern.

This study aims to examine to which extent the abandonment of agricultural fields in the late Byzantine - early Muslim period caused significant landscape and soil properties change.

We mapped ca. 150 water cisterns, typical of the period. Most cisterns are located north of the Nahal Gerar channel and along the lower catchment of the Nahal Besor. Mean annual precipitation in the area is 300-350 mm/year. Streams are ephemeral, characterized by flash floods during the winter.

While almost nothing remained of the flourishing above-ground settlements, soil erosion exposed the cisterns, which now serve as well preserved indicators of the presence and location of Late Antique houses and villages. The abandoned water cisterns protrude above the surface and may enable us to calculate the erosion rates since the settlement collapsed. Study results indicate that the abandonment of agriculture intensified soil erosion: rates of erosion along the steep (10-20%) river banks and gullies are up to 2.5 m (1.7 mm/yr), while along the interfluves and over the low-angle slopes (2-5%) rates of erosion reach 1.2 m (0.8 mm/yr).

Soil properties were also affected by human activity. In the Horvat Gerarit area, soil results from mud-brick degradation. Field identification is based on (1) relatively increase of fine fraction (clay and loam) within the villages sites, while median values changes from loam within the mud-bricks, to medium-sand over the agricultural fields; (2) mulch, that was added to the bricks to reduce cracking and increase tensile strength is incorporated into the soil; (3) direct observations of several degraded bricks into the soil.

How to cite: Shtober-Zisu, N., Brook, A., and Zissu, B.: Land abandonment and soil erosion following Late Antiquity in the northwestern Negev, Israel, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-251, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-251, 2022.

Joel Roskin, Lotem Robins, Adam Ostrowsky, Revital Bookman, and Itamar Taxel

“Plot-and-Berm” (P&B) agroecosystems consist of relatively unrecognized but sophisticated in-situ agricultural utilization of a high water table within loose, aeolian sand sheets situated in agricultural hinterlands in arid to Mediterranean climates in the Middle East, north Africa and Iberia, the latter historically dating between the Middle Ages to Early Modern times. The agroecosystem is comprised of a checkerboard array of agricultural plots sunken between 3-8 m high berms. The earliest recognized P&B agroecosystems are Early Islamic to early Crusader (9th-early 12th centuries a.d.) within several coastal sand bodies of Israel, that were abandoned by unclear reasons. We focus on the agroecosystem at the southern outskirts of ancient Caesarea that include limekilns, walls, and small structures with small amounts of in-situ artifacts. Our methods include geospatial mapping, relative and absolute luminescence chrono-stratigraphy, and analysis of pedological, geochemical, archaeological, archaeobotanical, and artifactual finds from surveys and three excavations coupled with a review of medieval Arabic agricultural manuals (kutub al-filāḥa) as well as other relevant literary sources.

The plot level enables easy and year-round access to the groundwater for crop roots and for digging shallow and open pit-like wells for manual irrigation. The current water table at the Caesarea was found to be uniformly 1 m beneath the anthrosol in several plots. The confined plots are hypothesized to also provide enhanced climatic conditions for agriculture: increased solar insolation while being protected from winds. Imported fine-grained refuse from nearby town dumps enrichen the inert plot sand forming distinct 30-50 cm thick, dark grey, sand-loam anthrosols that served agriculture. The plot anthrosols are not uniform in their geochemistry, texture and compaction. Initial OSL ages of the anthrosol suggest a ~200 year span of agriculture practice.

The berms are coated with a similar but less dense mix of sand with refuse, forming a dark anthrosediment. Atop the anthrosediment is a thin coat of 2-15 cm wide ceramic and artifacts that protect the berms from aeolian and slopewash erosion and therefor berm slopes were probably not utilized for crops. Berms are found to be fully made of sand mixed with refuse, with hints of Roman activity at the level of their basal sand.

Despite the current absence of historical documentation regarding the Early Islamic agroecosystems, and based on gross calculations of the immense efforts to construct the berms and import refuse, we suggest that these enterprises required administrative support. The presence of several agroecosystems along the coast of Israel, two of which date by OSL and artifacts to the same timespan, strengthen our understanding that a regional governance was behind the development of these agroecosystems. These agroecosystems are proposed to have been developed in response to religio-administrative calls for a type of mawāt (Arabic: “dead”) land reclamation. This effort was probably combined with an economic agricultural incentive and demand for a certain productive, rewarding and possibly unique crop whose type remains a pressing mystery.

How to cite: Roskin, J., Robins, L., Ostrowsky, A., Bookman, R., and Taxel, I.: Pattern, structure, archaeology, chronology and functionality of the Early Islamic Plot-and-Berm agroecosystem by ancient Caesarea, Israel, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-72, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-72, 2022.

Laurentiu Tutuianu, Mihaela Dobre, Diana Hanganu, Tiberiu Sava, Luminiţa Preoteasa, Sorin Ailincăi, Cătălin Lazăr, and Alfred Vespremeanu-Stroe

The stratigraphy of the lower reaches and floodplains store mineral sediments, organic matter, pollen, and charcoal which are important proxies for understanding the environmental evolution that directly interacts with human activity.

The present study is based on four sediment cores (7 to 19 m long) from the Lower Danube floodplain in NW Dobrudgea, close to Galați-Măcin area. The cores were carefully described and sampled for grain size, loess on ignition, magnetic susceptibility, charcoal, pollen and radiocarbon dating to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental changes in a key region for Neolithic cultures dispersal across SE Europe. The results of these combined analyses from the four cores with a special focus on Jijila mastercore (placed in a lake derived from a former embayment) bring new data about the mid and late Holocene floodplain environmental changes and a new perspective regarding the first settlements emplacement in the study area. Lower Danube floodplain inhabitation is still a hotly debated subject. The archaeological findings suggest the first settlements date from the Bronze Age (La Grădini – Jijila; Brăila), whereas recent human bones datings point to an earlier inhabitation during the Mesolithic-Neolithic period (Brăiliţa). The newly obtained charcoal and pollen profiles on Jijila core show two intervals of higher intensity human activity, the first during the Neolithic period and the second during the mid and late Bronze Age. Both periods are highlighted with peaks in charcoal particles and pollen grains (cereals) indicative of human activity.

How to cite: Tutuianu, L., Dobre, M., Hanganu, D., Sava, T., Preoteasa, L., Ailincăi, S., Lazăr, C., and Vespremeanu-Stroe, A.: Geoarchaeological approach of the prehistoric inhabitation reconstruction of a key-region (Brăila-Jijila) from the Lower Danube Valley, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-673, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-673, 2022.

Laura Vezzoni, Maurizio Zambaldi, Francesco Carrer, and Diego Angelucci

The geoarchaeological study of site MZ051S (Val di Sole, Trentino, Italy), carried out by the project ALPES (Alpine Landscapes: Pastoralism and Environment of Val di Sole), is presented here as a case-study for reconstructing human occupation of the uplands in the central-eastern Alps in late Prehistory and understanding the relationships between human and natural dynamics in the past.

The site, located in Val Porè, consists of a large dry-stone enclosure placed on a small, glacial plateau at 2240 m a.s.l. and has been dated to the early and middle Bronze Age.

Between 2015 and 2019, archaeological excavations were carried out and, following an interdisciplinary approach, numerous data were collected in order to reconstruct site history and site formation, including data from palaeobotany, stratigraphy, soil science, and the analysis of cultural assemblages.

Much importance was given to the geomorphological context and the deposit. The geoarchaeological and soil micromorphological study showed the presence of two buried soils, respectively dating to the ancient (2122-1773 and 1878-1693 cal BCE at 2σ) and middle (1750-1430 cal BCE at 2σ) Bronze Age. Both soils were buried by colluvial sediments deriving from slope dynamics. Although limited, the evidence recorded in the deposit, together with the results obtained from the distinct analyses, allow us to hypothesize that these processes could be determined by the human exploitation of the uplands. 

It can be argued that human occupation had a significant impact on the landscape since late Prehistory, revealing that the mountain environment is the result of complex interactions between anthropogenic and natural factors.

How to cite: Vezzoni, L., Zambaldi, M., Carrer, F., and Angelucci, D.: Geoarchaeological data from a Bronze Age upland site: MZ051S (Val di Sole, Italy), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-171, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-171, 2022.

Barbara Woronko, Krzysztof Jakubiak, and Mateusz Iskra

Climate variability may have played a significant role in the rise and collapse and reorganisation of many ancient civilizations. Such changes had a particularly strong impact on the political and cultural development of societies inhabited various parts of the Middle East during the first millennium BC. In this context, the South Caucasus, located on the Middle Eastern border zone, belongs to the most attractive areas for multidisciplinary research in the field of climate geology and archaeology.

Metsamor is a fortified protohistoric settlement located in the bottommost part of the Araxes valley (S Armienia). Results of geological survey coupled with interpretation of archaeological and palynological data collected at the study area, indicated great climate fluctuations which could impact the life of local community. These fluctuations were identified with 2.7 ka climatic event based on the age dating and detailed stratigraphy of sediment at the study site. According to Singha et al. (2019), the interval between ~ 2800 and 2690 yr BP is considered as one of the wettest period in the Near East over the past 4000 years. It was followed by a ~ 125-years period of aridity interval. Transition from wet to dry climate conditions is referred to as a 2.7 or 2.8 ka BP event. From the archaeological perspective, its impact on Metsamor can be found in the record of various processes related to gradual abandonment of the settlement,  and changes in the subsistence economy of its inhabitants. As a consequence, their livelihoods shifted from agriculture to cattle and goat breeding.

This work was supported by the National Science Centre Poland. Grant no. 2018/29/B/HS3/01843.

How to cite: Woronko, B., Jakubiak, K., and Iskra, M.: Impact of 2.7-ka climatic event on the local inhabitants of the Ararat Plain seen from the Metsamor perspective (S Armenia), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-525, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-525, 2022.

Tomasz Kalicki and Krzysztof Żurek

The main aim of the presentation is to present the results of the geoarchaeological research of a network of 27 new discover objects of the Lusatian ash-field community from NE Poland (Podlasie voivodeship) and man-environment interaction in this time span. The functioning of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age structures in the Biebrza and Narew river basins is a new issue, the knowledge of which is the result of only of the last few years of research. The breakthrough in archaeology brought about by the spread of laser scanning imaging made it possible to discover and inventory such structures.

This region dominated by groups of communities with a hunter-gatherer economy only at the turn of the Subboreal and Subatlantic becomes an oecumene of Lusatian culture. It seems that this community is the first a centre of coherent network of sites, which can be associated with a stable settlement network and intensive agricultural use of the environment. It is reflected in the valley bottom sediments. The network of these Prehistoric structures has relatively uniform location and structure, type of construction and dimensions. They are mainly located in the glacial basins or in the valleys of two main underfit rivers of the region - Biebrza and Narew on the erosional remnants inside or near the large peat bogs. Their construction have a circular arrangement with two areas a protective area consisting of a system of ditches and embankments and a central area consisting of a flat central square with only some archaeological traces of economical activity.

Determining the function of the objects in this network is extremely difficult. Some possible interpretation will be presented. Their structure does not indicate the defensive function of the objects, and their location near peat bogs may suggest their use as corals for grazing animals. There are many indications that we are dealing here rather with a kind of stable socio-administrative-religious centre concentrating dispersed in the microregion population of the Lusatian ash fields culture.

How to cite: Kalicki, T. and Żurek, K.: Lusatian circles on wetlands in NE Poland - results of geoarchaeological research, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-702, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-702, 2022.

Ireneusz Malik, Małgorzata Wistuba, Paweł Rutkiewicz, and Zbigniew Pawlak

In this study, we used DTMs from airborne LIDAR data to reveal an unexpectedly high concentration of relict mining shafts and relict charcoal hearths, small landforms that record past metallurgy and can potentially provide new data on its history and environmental impact. We determined the number and distribution of relict shafts in the mining area of Tarnowskie Góry and Bytom (Silesian Upland, southern Poland) and relict charcoal hearths in the adjacent Mała Panew River valley (Silesian Lowland, southern Poland). We also aimed to explore details of relief and structure of selected shafts and hearths located in past mining and smelting centres, date their age with the radiocarbon method and compare dating results with existing historical data. On the mining field under study, we have found 13 864 relict mining shafts spread over 10,5 km2, varying in size (2-50 m in diameter) and relief details (with common features such as central depression and surrounding collar-shaped spoil heap). Radiocarbon dates of selected relict shafts indicate mining in the following periods: Roman Period (since the beginning of the Common Era, up to 5th century AD), Early Medieval to Medieval Period (7th-13th century AD) and Modern Period (15th-17th century AD). At the same time, historical documents provide information only about medieval and modern mining (since the 12th century). In the Mała Panew valley, we have found as many as 166 356 relict charcoal hearths, resulting in an extremely high concentration of 184 relict charcoal hearths per 1 km2 on avg. A typical single relict charcoal hearth in the area under study is 14 m in diameter, c 2 m high with a volume of c 205 m3. Around the central mound of each relict charcoal hearth, 4 to 9 depressions are present (each 2–3 m in diameter and around 0.5 m deep). Most of the radiocarbon dates obtained for selected relict charcoal hearths correspond well with historical data on the nearest individual smelting centres (15th-19th century). However, in some cases, radiocarbon dates from relict charcoal hearths can indicate that the smelting plants may have been established earlier (12th-13th century) than historical sources suggest or that charcoal was used for another kind of activity. The considerable number and concentration of relict mining shafts and relict charcoal hearths record large-scale relief changes caused by silver, lead and iron mining in the study area, as well as significant changes in the environment (i.e. forest cover) caused by wood exploitation for charcoal.

How to cite: Malik, I., Wistuba, M., Rutkiewicz, P., and Pawlak, Z.: High concentration of relict mining shafts and relict charcoal hearths as a geomorphological legacy of ancient-modern metallurgy in southern Poland, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-652, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-652, 2022.

Display time: Mon, 12 Sep 09:00–Tue, 13 Sep 19:00

Poster: Tue, 13 Sep, 16:45–17:00 | Poster area

Chairpersons: Maurizio Zambaldi, Opeyemi Adewumi
Poster Session
Andres Diez-Herrero, David Alvarez-Alonso, Julio Garrote, Jesus F. Jorda Pardo, Mario Hernandez-Ruiz, Maria de Andres-Herrero, Alfonso Sopeña, Yolanda Sanchez-Moya, and Gerardo Benito

Over the last three decades, more than a dozen sites with Pleistocene palaeoflood deposits in  river valleys of the central Iberian Peninsula (basins of the Duero and Tagus rivers and their tributaries) have been located, described, dated and interpreted. Some palaeoflood sediments were deposited next to, or within, Neanderthal occupation sites and, as in the present, those floods impacted on human activities, judging by the flood beds containing and covering Mousterian remains. Here, we characterize and spatio-temporally correlate these palaeoflood deposits within archaeological sites, including analysis of the topographic and geomorphological position of flood beds; detailed stratigraphic descriptions, sediment peels of the stratigraphic profiles; textural analysis, mineralogy and palynological sampling; and sediment dating (luminescence, radiocarbon).

These palaeoflood sites share some common characteristics, namely (i) geomorphological context of deposition in caves and rock shelters within fluvio-karst canyons cut on tabular and slope reliefs in Cretaceous carbonate rocks; (ii) location at high elevations (+11 to +25 m) in relation to the present position of the riverbed;  (iii) depositional sets with submetric to metric thickness, with alternation or succession of fluvial and colluvial beds; (iv) flood sequences made of sand, silt and clay, with sedimentary structures typical of slackwater depositional environments, such as stagnated flow and eddies; (v) chronology dated to the Late Pleistocene with a mode between 45,000 and 50,000 years ago; (vi) very high specific peak flows, between 6,02 m3·s-1·km-2 (Duratón River) and 12,32 m3·s-1·km-2 (Jarama River), based on estimations using the present topography; but these high specific peak flows significantly decreased when variations in valley geometry (based on geomorphological criteria) from Pleistocene to present are taking into account.

The high geographic extent of the Mousterian flood deposition around the Spanish Central System, covering multiple river basins (e.g. Eresma, Jarama, Duratón rivers), flood clustering in time, high magnitude and paleoflood sedimentology suggest common regional causes and effects of the triggering events. Two flood-producing mechanisms may explain such palaeoflood characteristics, (i) meteorological floods from intense precipitation episodes of mesoscale convective systems (isolated depressions at high levels), and (ii) breaches of proglacial lakes (outburst floods) dammed by moraine deposits or large landslides during the interglacial stage of Central Spain.

From their spatio-temporal correlation, it is not only possible to analyse the frequency and magnitude of catastrophic floods in a changing climate and to reconstruct the geomorphological configuration of these valleys during the Pleistocene-Holocene incision, but also to broaden the knowledge of their distribution and disruption on the Neanderthal populations.

This work has been developed in the framework of the archaeological research project: “Primeros pobladores de Segovia” (First settlers of Segovia) funded by the regional government (Junta de Castilla y León).

How to cite: Diez-Herrero, A., Alvarez-Alonso, D., Garrote, J., Jorda Pardo, J. F., Hernandez-Ruiz, M., Andres-Herrero, M. D., Sopeña, A., Sanchez-Moya, Y., and Benito, G.: Spatio-temporal correlation of Pleistocene palaeoflood deposits in Late Mousterian archaeological sites of Central Spain, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-196, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-196, 2022.

Maurizio Zambaldi, Luca Dimuccio, Diego E. Angelucci, and Cristina Gameiro

In Portugal, evidence of human occupation dating to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), between 27-19 ka BP, is well-known from caves and rock-shelters, while geoarchaeological data referring to open-air contexts are still scarce. Here we present the preliminary results from the ongoing interdisciplinary investigation at open-air site Portela 2 (Maceira, Leiria, Central Portugal), which is situated in an elongated and semi-closed topographic depression with fluviokarst characteristics, opened in Middle Jurassic carbonate bedrock.

A rescue archaeology intervention in 2009 led to the discovery of the site where, among eight hundred lithic artefacts, fifteen Vale Comprido points were recovered, suggesting a Proto-Solutrean occupation of the area. These finds, poorly known in south-western Europe, prompted new systematic stratigraphic excavations in 2021, in the framework of the PALEORESCUE project (PTDC/HAR-ARQ/30779/2017).

In this study, we follow a broad geoarchaeological approach to address site stratigraphy and formation processes reconstruction, including geomorphological, sedimentological, soil micromorphological and geochronological analyses. Some manual boreholes were performed to verify the thickness of the local sedimentary succession around the site, and thus delimit the extension of the archaeological deposit. The sedimentary succession exposed after the archaeological excavations at the Portela 2 site, together with the remains of the post-Jurassic siliciclastic covers that discontinuously overlay the carbonate bedrock around the depression, were sampled to carry out sedimentological routine analyses. In addition, undisturbed samples from the Portela 2 succession were cut into thin sections and used for microstratigraphic observations under the petrographic microscope. Bulk sediments were dry-sieved and observed under a stereomicroscope to evaluate grain composition and morphology. Grain-size data were obtained through sieving at ½ φ intervals. On average, one hundred quartz grains per sample were randomly selected from the 1.0-0.5 φ fraction, recording surface aspect (frosted or bright) and roundness degree; heavy mineral discrimination in 3-4 φ fraction was performed as well, using Frantz magnetic separator and optical inspection (also estimated by X-ray diffraction). Luminescence dating and laser diffraction particle-size analysis of the fraction smaller than -1 φ are in progress.

The preliminary results indicate sedimentological, mineralogical, and petrographic affinities between the siliciclastic infillings at the Portela 2 archaeological site and the Cretaceous and Pliocene covers. Overall, the studied sedimentary succession consists of remobilized Cretaceous or Pliocene deposits, sometimes mixed between them, and locally affected by soil formation processes during the Holocene. At the moment, direct aeolian inputs cannot be excluded either. Furthering this investigation will provide an absolute chronology for the Portela 2 deposit and a better understanding of the regional paleoenvironmental context, resulting in new insights into the studies of the relationships between human occupations and natural dynamics at the turn of the LGM in the western Iberian Peninsula.

How to cite: Zambaldi, M., Dimuccio, L., Angelucci, D. E., and Gameiro, C.: Deciphering stratigraphy and formation processes at the open-air Portela 2 archaeological site (Central Portugal), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-243, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-243, 2022.

Andrea Zerboni and the SPHeritage Project

The main topic of the SPHeritage Project (MUR grant: FIRS2019_00040, P.I.: M. Pappalardo) is an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the human-environment interaction over the last 400,000 years in the Balzi Rossi archaeological area of northern Italy. The well-known archaeological area of ​​the Balzi Rossi represents a unique assemblage of archaeological sites dating to the Palaeolithic, distributed in a geomorphological setting rich of markers of past sea level changes. Moreover, since the Pleistocene the area was a hot spot for climate change and human migrations, thus offering the opportunity to investigate how human populations have responded to past environmental changes and sea level variations. 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 undisturbed blocks of archaeological sediments) and the remnants still preserved inside many rockshelters of the archaeological complex. Our approach combines a territorial geomorphological survey and mapping and the application of state-of-the-art geoarchaeological methods to archaeological sequences to disclose the complexity of the human-environmental nexus in the area.

How to cite: Zerboni, A. and the SPHeritage Project: New geoarchaeological investigation at the Balzi Rossi archaeological area (Ventimiglia, Italy): the contribution of the SPHeritage Project, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-437, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-437, 2022.

Jesús F. Jordá Pardo, Pilar Carral, Carlos Duarte, Adolfo Maestro, Alfredo Maximiano, Juana Molina, Ramón Obeso, Colectivo Espeleológico L´Esperteyu Cavernícola Espeleo Club, and Esteban Álvarez-Fernández

The karstic cavity of Cova Rosa (Sardéu, Ribadesella, Asturias), developed in the La Escalada limestones (Moscovien, Carboniferous), contains an important archaeosedimentary sequence covering the Late Upper Pleistocene and the Lower Holocene. This sequence, excavated during the second half of the 20th century by Jordá Cerdá and Gómez Fuentes (1982), presents levels of Solutrense, Lower and Upper Magdalenian and Mesolithic. The sequence was studied sedimentologically by Hoyos Gómez (1979). In the last years members of a large research team are working again on this site and its materials (Álvarez-Fernández and Jordá Pardo, 2018) and in this contribution we present the new lithostratigraphic sequence that has been studied again with geoarchaeological methodology. In addition, thanks to the 22 radiocarbon dates obtained (Álvarez-Alonso et al., 2021), we can place the sequence on the Quaternary chronostratigraphic scale.


 Álvarez-Fernández, E. y Jordá Pardo, J.F. (Eds.) (2018). El poblamiento prehistórico en el valle del Sella. Cincuenta años del descubrimiento de la cueva de Titot Bustillo y 60 de las primeras intervenciones del profesor Francisco Jordá en las cuevas de El Cierro y Cova Rosa (Ribadesella, Asturias). Asociación Cultural Amigos de Ribadesella, Universidad de Salamanca y UNED, Ribadesella, 208 p.

Álvarez-Fernández, E.; Jordá-Pardo, J. F.; Arias, P.; Bécares, J.; Martín-Jarque, S.; Portero, R.; Teira, L. C.; Douka, K. (2021). Radiocarbon dates for the late Pleistocene and early Holocene occupations of Cova Rosa (Ribadesella, Asturias, Spain), Radiocarbon, 63 (3): 1053-1072. DOI: 10.1017/RDC.2021.18

Hoyos Gómez, M. (1979). El karst de Asturias en el Pleistoceno superior y Holoceno. Estudio morfológico, sedimentológico y paleoclimático. Tesis doctoral, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 446 p.

Jordá Cerdá, F.; Gómez Fuentes, A. (1982). Cova Rosa-A. Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, 108 p.

How to cite: Jordá Pardo, J. F., Carral, P., Duarte, C., Maestro, A., Maximiano, A., Molina, J., Obeso, R., L´Esperteyu Cavernícola Espeleo Club, C. E., and Álvarez-Fernández, E.: Cova Rosa revisited. New geoarchaeological research at the Upper Pleistocene – Lower Holocene site of Cova Rosa (Sardéu, Ribadesella, Asturias, Spain)., 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-110, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-110, 2022.

Francisco Ladeira

The arrival of humans in the Americas is a controversial topic, especially in South America. Several works have successively moved back the first arrival age in the Late Pleistocene, but little knowledge remains about the paleoenvironments associated with the first human settlements. Pedoarcheology approach on such cases may support paleoenvironmental reconstructions, combined with slope dynamics, to identify the paleosurfaces associated with archaeological sites. The Bastos archeological site is currently the oldest in the state of São Paulo, located at the foot slopes of an alluvial cone, and presents lithic artifacts ranging between 12.9 and 3.9 ka. A combination of soil morphological description, archaeological survey, chemical and granulometric analysis, soil micromorphology and Carbon-14 dating, was applied. Three profiles of buried B textural (Bt) and one the surface have been described. The buried profiles are separated by paleo-surfaces that truncated the A horizons from the three bottom profiles. The time intervals between deposits allowed the formation of Bt with well-developed blocky structures with abundant clay skins, indicating that the time interval (between 4,000 and 5,000 years) was sufficient to form thick Bt with highly developed pedofeatures. A concentration of lithic artifacts closes to the contact with the paleosurface, indicate colluvial deposition at 12.9, 8.7 and 3.9 ka. In addition to the upper deposits, the bottom alluvial deposit has undated archaeological artifacts indicating that maybe the settlement is earlier than 12.9 ka. The slope dynamics indicates that periodic short-term mass movements events mobilize soils from the upper slopes forming alluvial cones downslope, not necessarily associated with changes in climatic conditions.

Financing: Fapesp 2019/18664-9


How to cite: Ladeira, F.: Pedoarchaeology and hillslope evolution at a Late Pleistocene/Holocene human settlement in Southeastern Brazil: Bastos site study case, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-594, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-594, 2022.

Théophile Piau, François Bétard, and Fabienne Dugast

Located in the western part of the Paris Basin (France), the Eure catchment is a rather unexplored area in the palaeoenvironmental, (geo)archaeological and historical field, especially in its median section. Actually, the latter status, which is predominantly agricultural, gives rise to very few spatial planning projects and as a result to very few preventive archaeological excavations. This area therefore provides an appropriate context for new considerations about technical approaches to be put into in an effective and relevant manner to overcome data gaps, whatever the period or the scientific field.

The poster will present the results of the investigations that have been carried out at different spatial scales with a geoarchaeological perspective: (i) cartographic and geomatics analysis to propose a first theoretical modelling of historical land-use; (ii) geomorphological mapping in order to underline the impacts of geomorphological dynamics on taphonomy and remains of archaeological settlement; (iii) geophysical surveys (Electrical Resistivity Tomography, Ground Penetrating Radar), percussion drilling for sedimentary cores and sedimentological analysis to obtain a 2D picture of the sediment structures of the palaeochannels, as well as to reconstruct the hydro-sedimentary dynamics of the Eure river close to archaeological remains; (iv) remote sensing using airborne technics by drone (photogrammetry, LiDAR, Infrared) and point cloud analysis to map microtopographic features of some (geo)archaeological key sectors.

The first results suggest a synchronous metamorphosis of the fluvial continuum that seems to take place during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. The Eure channels are disconnected from the main fluvial flow axis and progressively filled by detrital sedimentation, suggesting a significant soil erosion within the catchment at this time. On the other hand, peat sediments can be locally detected between the Bronze Age and the Early Middle Ages as a result of "site effects". Within the sub-watersheds of the right bank of the Eure, that are widely opened in the Tertiary series, a new and more recent phase of silty sedimentation has been identified from the Late Middle Ages onwards, probably linked to the growing soil erosion under the effect of large-scale upland-clearing. Despite their constraints, the investigative methods open up to new perspectives with a view to the integration of geomorphological and archaeological research in a programmatic but not necessarily preventive approach.


How to cite: Piau, T., Bétard, F., and Dugast, F.: Geoarchaeological approach of the middle Eure valley (Paris Basin, France): benchmarks for reconstructing both palaeoenvironments and human occupations during the Mid- and Late Holocene, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-187, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-187, 2022.

Andres Diez-Herrero, Rosa M. Mateos-Ruiz, Daniel Vazquez-Tarrío, Antonio Lopez-Marcos, and Francisco J. Brao-Gonzalez

The old Roman town of Guadix is placed in the SE part of the Iberian Peninsula (Granada, Spain), being crossed by the Guadix River and some wadis locally called ramblas. There are numerous documentary records reporting multiple flash floods that have periodically partially inundated Guadix. The last extraordinary flood, which is still remembered by the population, took place in October 1973, causing severe damage in the historical city. More recently, there have been other floods in Guadix (e.g. September 2007, August 2009 and 2018), although with much less damage than the 1973 flood.

Going further back in time, geomorphological, geoarchaeological, sedimentological and palaeohydrological studies of the detrital deposits covering the ruins of the Roman theatre of the ancient city of Colonia Iulia Gemella Acci have succeeded in reconstructing the periodic recurrence of catastrophic floods in this city over the last two millennia. More specifically, by means of archaeological remains, radiocarbon dating and laser stimulation optical luminescence, at least three major flood events have been identified: two dating back to the beginning of the 1st century A.C. (period of the Pax Romana Empire); and the other one between the end of the 11th century (Islamic Zirid dynasty) and the beginning of the 12th century. The moments in which such extreme hydrological events occurred coincided with the end of two warm periods: the Roman Warm Age and the Medieval Warm Period. The meteorological fluctuations associated to climate changes during warming periods, such as the current one associated with climate change, produce this kind of extraordinary events, which were able to mobilise large amounts of solid load (sands, silts and clays), and produced changes in the planform configuration of the river system (channel avulsions, meander cut-offs and captures among tributaries) and alluvial fans in the tributaries mouths.

Therefore, flood risk management in the current town of Guadix, whose hazard and risk maps have been drawn up according to the criteria of the European Flood Directive, should take into account: (i) the millennial recurrent character of catastrophic floods in Guadix, well above the 500-year return period officially considered; (ii) the importance of the mobilisation of solid loads in flood hazard and risk, which can obstruct drains and reduce the capacity of channels and bridges; (iii) the geomorphological dynamics, capable of modifying the position of the channels and thus the hazard and risk zones; (iv) the role of non-permanent tributaries of the Guadix River during storms and heavy rain related to cuasi-stationary convective cells. Only in this way flood hazard and risk maps will be useful in territorial and urban planning, civil protection during emergencies and the reduction of damage from future catastrophic floods. In this regard, the present study highlights how geoarchaeological and paleoenvironmental records can be a highly valuable source of data for the improvement of flood hazard assessments.

This work has been developed in the framework of the RISKCOAST project: “Development of tools to prevent and manage geological risks on the coast linked to climate change” (Ref: SOE3/P4/E0868) funded by the Interreg SUDOE programme.

How to cite: Diez-Herrero, A., Mateos-Ruiz, R. M., Vazquez-Tarrío, D., Lopez-Marcos, A., and Brao-Gonzalez, F. J.: Extraordinary floods related to warm periods: geoarchaeological record of the Roman theatre of Guadix (SE Spain), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-193, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-193, 2022.

Holocene evolution of coastal dunes in western France: regional reconstruction from archaeological and historical data
Aneta Gorczynska, Pierre Stephan, Yvan Pailler, Clément Nicolas, Aurélie Penaud, Ophélie David, Muriel Vidal, and Bernard Le Gall
Konstantinos Vouvalidis, Vasilios Kapsimalis, Panagiotis Tsourlos, Olga Koukousioura, Konstantinos Almpanakis, Janusz Czebreszuk, Eleni Aidona, Sofia Doani, Dimitrios Vandarakis, and Grigoria-Vasiliki Dimou

Ancient Poliochni is one of the oldest excavated cities in the Aegean Sea and its connection with the sea is indisputable and diachronic during the city habitation from 3500/3300 BC to 2000/1900 BC. The research focuses on the palaeogeographical evolution of the city valley, the coastal zone, and the nearshore seabed. On land, the study area is the lower part of the river valley located between the archaeological site and the foothills of the Agia Triada coastal hill. Data were acquired by geomorphological and geophysical research, drillings (up to 14.5 m depth) stratigraphical and paleontological analysis, and high accuracy topography using GNSS receivers and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The marine survey extends to the entire Voroskopos (Poliochni) Bay including satellite image analysis, single-beam echo soundings, side-scan sonar seafloor detection and imaging, and visualization of special seabed features.

Ancient Poliochni was founded on a coastal terrace shaped by the erosive action of the waves on the hard formations of the Limnos Island geological basement. The seabed morphology and geology of the Poliochni Bay shows that it was part of the coast, during the city habitation, in a progressively flooded by the rising sea level coastal environment.

How to cite: Vouvalidis, K., Kapsimalis, V., Tsourlos, P., Koukousioura, O., Almpanakis, K., Czebreszuk, J., Aidona, E., Doani, S., Vandarakis, D., and Dimou, G.-V.: Ancient Poliochni Geoarchaeological Research: Its proximity to the sea and the possible location of an ancient harbor (North Aegean Sea, Greece)., 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-442, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-442, 2022.

Aurel Persoiu and Ioana Persoiu

Someşul Mic River (105 km long, 20 mc/s) drains the western edge of the Transylvanian Basin ultimately joining the Danube, via the later’s Tisa tributary. The river developed and maintained a narrow sinuous channel during the Holocene, with local development of meanders and anabranches, in response to both climatic and geologic controlling factors. Its floodplain and lower terraces are home to the oldest (~8500 cal. BP) Neolithic settlement in Romania. Subsequently, the region has been continuously inhabited throughout the mid-to-late Holocene, with local populations moving through the landscape in response to social, climatic and environmental pressures. Consequently, a complex pattern of settlement and communication networks emerged that is partly imprinted (and preserved) on the surface morphology of the valley.

Here we combine Neolithic through modern constructions to constrain the position of the river’s channels during the past ~8000 years and, in combination with geophysical, geomorphological and sedimentological investigations, determine the style and rate of fluvial processes in the floodplain. The overall approach was as follows: 1) mapping of fixed (e.g., settlements, roads, buildings, cemeteries) points in the floodplain for different periods (Neolithic, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Medieval and Modern), 2) for each period, constrain the maximum potential area on which the river did not flow since, 3) identify areas of extensive lateral channel movement (meandering, anabranching, anastomosis) and/or fixed position, 4) geophysical (ERT) and sedimentological investigation of the floodplain and channel infills. Additionally, we have combined existing paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental data to reconstruct Holocene climate and vegetation dynamics in the wider area as a backdrop for the fluvial dynamics. The geoarchaeological data allowed us to distinguish areas of long-term channel stability along the river, which we identified to be superimposed on small anticlines formed by salt diapirism, and of areas of active lateral channel movement (with removal of archaeological traces), induced by tectonic (e.g., slow tilting of the floodplain towards synclines), internal (i.e., river-specific) and climatic factors.

Summarizing, our aim is to show that geoarchaeological data can be used in a “reversed” approach, i.e., to reconstruct past fluvial dynamics, rather than to study the response of human societies to past environmental changes.

How to cite: Persoiu, A. and Persoiu, I.: A geoarchaeological perspective on the Holocene dynamics of Someșul Mic floodplain (Transylvanian Basin, Romania), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-534, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-534, 2022.

Hugo Gomes, Cristiana Ferreira, Rita Ferreira, Pierluigi Rosina, and Virginia Lattao

Within the scope of construction work conducted within an urban context for the creation of new buildings located in Rua das Olarias in Leiria, a selection of historical and archaeological remains attributable to different time periods were found. Such findings include; Levallois chips, ovens and modern or sub-modern ceramics, and a burial zone. Due to the presence of Palaeolithic evidence, the DGPC (Direção-Geral do Património Cultural) has requested a more in-depth analysis of the sedimentary deposits.

Geomorphologically, the area of intervention is located in the zone of the Typhonic Valley associated with the diapiric structure of Leiria-Parceiros, which is in the proximity of the Doleritic outcrop, where the Castle of Leiria was constructed. Concerning the stratigraphic-sedimentary component, from what was so far observed in the intervention carried out in the 3 sections researchers were able to identify that the sedimentary deposits of the area are composed, at the base, by marly and clayey layers (probably corresponding to the formations of the Dagorda Margas, from the Mesozoic), these are apparently "in situ" and are identified in the Geological Map (23C -Leiria).

It was not possible to identify layers of Neogene however, unconsolidated deposits were observed throughout the area with sedimentological characteristics which appear to be deposits of overburdening and flattening due to actions which took place in recent times. Most of the surface area of interest corresponds to the landform surface of the anthropic formation, where the deposits are thought to result from pottery activities (there is presence of clays and ceramics).

In the area of active archaeological intervention, coarser sediments were noted, but the more clastic deposits do not appear to have associated structures. So far it has not been possible to confirm the presence of a geological level to which the origin of the prehistoric archaeological material could be attributed.

Thus, the sampling program (sedimentological and palaeoenvironmental) will be oriented towards the recognition of possible natural Pleistocene layers (alluvial and fluvial deposits), the distinction between these, Mesozoic layers and layers of anthropic deposits. The methodology of sediment collection for geoarchaeological and palaeoclimatic purposes (in particular for sedimentological and palynological analyses) will follow established scientific procedures.  These analyses and further information about the terrain will only be possible with the help of sedimentological and palaeoenvironmental studies.

How to cite: Gomes, H., Ferreira, C., Ferreira, R., Rosina, P., and Lattao, V.: Emergency Geoarchaeology in an urban context, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-635, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-635, 2022.

Yuan Wang and Takashi Oguchi

The remains of archaeological and historical sites exist all over the world, and their existence provides the basis of research for many disciplines such as Archaeology, History, and Geography. The distribution of such sites is non-random since human behaviors are controlled by environmental conditions. People in the past depended much more on the natural environment than today because of the lack of advanced technology to cope with nature. Therefore, exploring the relationship between the locations of archaeological sites and surrounding environments is useful to understand why and how past people selected the location of sites. This research establishes a predictive model to determine factors affecting the distribution of the archaeological/historical sites in Japan and China and rank them according to the degree of relevance. Special attention is paid to the influence of topographic factors. The DEMs used for this study reflect the human transformation of land due to the construction of the archaeological/historical sites. To consider the geomorphological environment when the site location was selected, we vectorized the outline of each site, and data only outside of the polygon were used for analysis. Then the topographic condition around each archaeological site was evaluated based on buffer-ring analysis and zonal statistics. The results allowed us to construct a predictive model for the spatial distribution of the sites based on topographic conditions. The model utilizes the Attentional Factorization Machines (AFM) for pairwise factors exploration. Among the sites, 75% were used for model training, and 25% were used for performance tests. The resultant multivariate model suggests that topography and related hydrological conditions affected the site distribution, which is helpful to understand the interaction between ancient people and the environment.

How to cite: Wang, Y. and Oguchi, T.: Exploring the relations between archaeological/historical sites and topography in Japan and China by machine learning methods, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-499, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-499, 2022.

Luminita Preoteasa, Diana Hanganu, Anca Dan, Gabriela Florescu, Mihaela Dobre, Gabriela Sava, and Alfred Vespremeanu-Stroe

This study confronts local environmental proxies (i.e., pollen, charcoal, paleofauna) with ancient sources documenting Kilia/Lycostomo Byzantine-Genoese settlement at the mouth of the northern Danube's distributary to reconstruct environmental changes which render difficult the localization of the Middle Age settlement. Historical data seem contradictory, while systematic archaeological research has been extremely difficult on the Chilia branch, the modern border between Romania and Ukraine. Yet, after the complete reevaluation of all the sources in relationship with their reconstructed paleoenvironments, we propose to locate the major Byzantine and Early Modern trading centre Lykostomion/Licostomo as well as Chilia at Kilija/New Chilia (now in Ukraine), on the Bugeac plateau, on the left bank of the Danube’s northern branch (itself called Chilia, former Lykostoma). Old Chilia (now in Romania), whose name was always taken as proof of the location of the famous historical city of Chilia, lacks archaeological traces of urban occupation before the 19th-20th century. In fact, this loess island in the delta, on the southern shore of the Chilia branch, has been used only for subsistence activities (fisheries, agriculture, husbandry) and for supporting the storage capacities of the main harbour of Lykostomion/Licostomo-Chilia, situated under the modern harbour of New Chilia. Besides texts and some scarce archaeological reports, this localisation is now supported by two sedimentary cores (PAR 1 and KIL 1) which allow the reconstruction of the Chilia branch progradation, with an absolute chronology based on 14C dates. Vegetation, charcoal and microfauna occurrence in the KIL 1 sediments of the last ca. 700 yrs are excellent proxies for the high-resolution study of the local deltaic dynamics under natural and human pressure. For the first time, they reveal information about the maritime and riverine milieux developing at the place where this trading hub was founded, the living conditions (food, housing, heating) of its inhabitants and the ecological changes related to their demographic fluctuations. Most interestingly, they show the environmental impact of the military conflicts and urban re-foundations, which occurred in the 13th, 15th and 18th centuries at this major gate of SE Europe.    

How to cite: Preoteasa, L., Hanganu, D., Dan, A., Florescu, G., Dobre, M., Sava, G., and Vespremeanu-Stroe, A.: Geo-biological data complete historical and archaeological archives for documenting deltaic landscape transformations and human impact at Chilia-Lycostomo (Northern Danube delta), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-651, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-651, 2022.