2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


HEINZEL, Chad1, KOLB, Michael2, POWELL, Ross1, STRAVERS, Jay1 and KONEN, Michael E.3, (1)Dept. of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Northern Illinois Univ, DeKalb, IL 60115, (2)Dept. of Anthropology, Northern Illinois Univ, DeKalb, IL 60115, (3)Geography, Northern Illinois Univ, 212 Davis Hall, DeKalb, IL 60115, cheinzel@geol.niu.edu

This work integrates geological and archaeological techniques to answer significant historical/pre-historical questions regarding the anthropogenic and geomorphic Holocene development of western Sicily. The Sicilian Scandinavian Archaeological Project has identified substantial diagnostic artifact concentrations, settlement structures, and tombs of the Late Bronze (1200 BC), Early Iron (1100 BC), and Roman Ages (100 BC) within the Salemi study region through extensive and intensive surveys followed by excavations. This extensive anthropogenic record is set within an intriguing geologic setting. Geologic investigations have identified a well-preserved Late Pleistocene and Holocene alluvial stratigraphic record. Massive, 3 to 30 meters, Pleistocene alluvial debris fans dominate the upper and lower slopes of Montange Grande. Fan sedimentation appears to have been relatively cyclical with individual depositional layers averaging 25 cm in thickness. Paleosol development is evident from laterally extensive horizonation within fan stratigraphy. Late Bronze Age, 1200 BC, fan reactivation is represented by cut and fill channel structures containing diagnostic ceramics, equine skeletal fragments, and terrestrial mullusc shells. The study area's main fluvial channel, the Fasso di Collura, contains a diverse stratigraphic record. Stratigraphy varies from limestone gravel (Montange Grande, North) to sandstone cobbles and boulders (Monte Polizzo, South). Twenty-five described fluvial stratigraphic sections, 1 meter wide by 3 meters deep, from the main channel indicates two periods of increased sedimentation. Lower beds (0 to 1.8 m) included inter-bedded layers of sandstone cobbles/boulders and reddish brown silt/mud containing diagnostic Late Bronze and Early Iron Age ceramics. The upper beds are generally more fine-grained and contain a mix of limestone and sandstone gravel with a matrix of sand and silt (7.5 YR 4/3). At least one fluvial section contains a paleosol dating to the early Roman occupation, 100 BC, of the study area.