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Santangelo N., Di Donato V., Lebreton V (b)., Romano P., Russo Ermolli E. (2012)


Palaeolandscapes of Southern Apennines during the Early and Middle Pleistocene


QUATERNARY INTERNATIONAL, vol. 267, p. 20-29, ISSN: 1040-6182,

doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.02.036


a Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Napoli Federico II, Largo San Marcellino 10, 80138 Napoli, Italy

b Département de Préhistoire du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, USM103 MNHN, UMR7194 CNRS, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, 1 rue René Panhard, 75013 Paris, France







A palaeolandscape reconstruction of the Southern Apennine chain for the late Early and the Middle Pleistocene is presented with the main aim of highlighting the evolution of this sector of the chain during a key-period for the diffusion of Palaeolithic humans in the Italian peninsula. During the Calabrian stage (1.8e0.78 Ma) Italy was an elongated peninsula, narrower than present, extended between the Tyrrhenian and the foreland seas with two big islands (nowadays Gargano and Murge) in the central part of the foredeep basin. This area started to emerge at the end of Early Pleistocene (1.2e0.78 Ma) when occasional communications among the islands and the Southern Apennine peninsula may have occurred, probably in conjunction with eustatic low-stands. This scenario opens interesting questions on the migration pathways followed by ancient Palaeolithic humans to reach the site of Pirro Nord (1.6e1.3 Ma; NW Gargano). The definitive emersion of the studied area was completed at the beginning of the Ionian stage when several lakes punctuated the axial portion of the chain together with two great active volcanoes: Roccamonfina and Vulture. In the surroundings of the palaeo-lakes, Palaeolithic humans started moving from 600 to 200 ka, as indicated by the artefacts of Acheulean tradition recovered, among others, at Isernia La Pineta and Notarchirico.