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P. Romanoa,*, M.A. Di Vitob, D. Giampaolac, A. Cinquea, C. Bartolic, G. Boenzic, F. Dettaa, M. Di Marcoc,
M. Giglioc, S. Iodicec, V. Liuzzaa, M.R. Ruelloa, C. Schiano di Colac


a Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e delle Risorse, Università di Napoli Federico II, Largo S. Marcellino 10, 80138 Naples, Italy
b Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, sezione Osservatorio Vesuviano, Via Diocleziano 328, 80124 Naples, Italy
c Soprintendenza Speciale ai Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, Italy

 

Intersection of exogenous, endogenous and anthropogenic factors in the Holocene
landscape: A study of the Naples coastline during the last 6000 years

 
Quaternary International xxx (2013) 1-13
 
 
Abstract
 

Neapolis Chiaia 2013New data on the ancient landscape of Naples (southern Italy) during the middle and late Holocene from geo-archaeological excavations associated with public transport works were used to reconstruct the hill
and coastal environment to the west of the ancient Graeco-Roman polis, where remains of human settlements date to the late Neolithic. The rich stratigraphic and archaeological records that emerged from
the digs and from previous boreholes were measured and analysed by combining sedimentary facies analysis, tephrostratigraphy and archaeological data. Between the 5th and 4th millennia BP, a rocky
profile with a wave-cut platform cutting across pyroclastites emplaced from the surrounding volcanoes was predominant in the coastal landscape. During the 3rd millennium BP, this rocky coast was progressively
replaced by a sandy littoral environment primarily due to marine deposition, with a coastline located some hundred meters inland with respect to the modern one. The sedimentary record of the
Greek and Roman periods indicates short-term fluctuations of the coastline, leading to the establishment of a backshore environment towards the end of the 6th century AD, when prograding river mouths and
lobes of debris flows contributed to the advancing trend of the shoreline. The frequent archaeological remains from these periods indicate a stable settled area since Roman times. The shoreline was still
subject to short-lived fluctuations between the 12th and 16th centuries, and attained its present position during the modern era with man-made reshaping of its profile. The construction of Relative Sea Level
curves for two coastal sites reveals that the persistence of the foreshore environment in the Naples coastal strip during the 5th and 4th millennia BP was controlled by the counterbalancing effect of either
the concurrent eustatic sea level rise or subsidence. On the other hand, the morpho-stratigraphic record for the last two millennia shows a significant correlation between sedimentation rate and settlement
history, accounting for the dominant role of the anthropogenic forcing-factor in late Holocene landscape history. In particular, land mismanagement during Late Antiquity seems to have triggered a slope
disequilibrium phase, exacerbating soil erosion and increasing the sediment accumulation rate in both foothill and coastal areas. Nonetheless, the environmental changes of the Chiaia coast during the last
2000 years clearly show volcanicetectonic perturbations influencing coastline development up to the modern era.

 

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