2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


SMITH, Jennifer R.1, GIEGENGACK, Robert2, FADEM, Cynthia M.1, NAHILL, Natalie2, FRIEDMAN, Jessica L.1 and MARGUS, Drago3, (1)Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington Univ in St Louis, Campus Box 1169, One Brookings Drive, St Louis, MO 63130, (2)Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Univ of Pennsylvania, Room 251 Hayden Hall, 240 S. 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (3)National Park Management, Krka National Park, Trg Ivana Pavla II No 5, Sibenik, 22000, Croatia, jensmith@levee.wustl.edu

The eponymous Karst terrain of the Dalmatian coast of Croatia is characterized by a succession of broad, NW-SE-trending, filled valleys (poljes) separated by ridges of exposed carbonate rocks, the consequence of (primarily solution) erosion of a stack of Triassic-Paleogene rocks thrown into a belt of tight folds and thrust slivers during the later stages of Alpine orogenesis. The relatively flat floors of at least some poljes have been farmed throughout Neolithic, Roman, and Medieval times, and are currently under cultivation. Seasonal ponds occupy portions of the polje floors under the modern climatic regime, and would have persisted even during times of drier climate. Danilo Polje (8 km from the Adriatic coast) may have been an especially advantageous location, due to proximity to both coastal and inland resources. Seasonal surface runoff today carries sediment from carbonate ridges to be deposited on polje floors, but most such valleys drain to the subsurface to feed a complex and poorly defined cavernous drainage network. Thus, poljes are generally aggradational features. However, headward growth of surface streams flowing to the Adriatic has begun to integrate the regional subsurface drainage into a series of cross-axial incised valleys. One such stream, the Potok Dabar, has breached the SW margin of Danilo Polje, possibly in post-Neolithic time, and has exposed a stratigraphic horizon on the polje floor that has yielded Neolithic pottery and lithic artifacts, house foundations, evidence of domestic flora and fauna, and human skeletal remains. We have used GIS analysis to identify other places in Dalmatia where the geomorphology suggests that sufficient recent erosion has occurred within primarily depositional settings to expose the sedimentary record of Neolithic occupation. Another, larger, cross-axial drainage system in Dalmatia, the Krka River, is partitioned into a chain of shallow lakes along its lower reaches by a series of calcareous tufa dams, precipitated along the river where conditions favor the loss of carbon dioxide from river water. We intend to use the record of climatic and hydrologic events preserved in modern and ancient tufa in the Krka canyon to establish an environmental and chronologic framework for the evolution of early farming in Danilo Polje.