Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


HEINZEL, Chad1, ARREOLA, Victoria1, CHESLEY, John2, KOLB, Michael J.3 and TUSA, Sebastiano4, (1)Earth Science, University of Northern Iowa, Latham Hall, Cedar Falls, IA 50614, (2)Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, (3)Anthropology, Northern Illinois University, Grant Tower South A - Room 509, DeKalb, IL 60115, (4)Servizio Soprintendenza per i Beni culturali e ambientali del Mare, Regione Siciliana, Palazzetto Mirto - Via Lungarini, 9, Palermo, 90133, Italy,

A team comprised of researchers from Italy and the U.S.A. seek to further delineate the interrelationships between western Sicily’s prehistoric (Paleolithic to Copper Age) anthropogenic, climatic and landscape sediment-assemblage developments. A three-week (Summer 2013) geoarcheological survey was conducted in the area of Partanna, Sicily (12°55'0.1"E/37°43'31.2"N). The survey’s purpose was to begin developing a geologic and archaeological knowledge base of the Belice River Valley that will serve as the foundation for a long-term (2013-2016) multidisciplinary investigation. The Belice Valley is well-known for its prehistoric archaeological record (e.g. Stretto di Partanna and Castello di Pietra). This preliminary survey has identified an extensive and varied geologic record including: Stone (tufa, marl, flint, sandstone, and extensive evaporates/gypsum), Clay (marine, alluvial, and colluvial), Water (perennial streams/rivers, artesian springs, and small ponds), and soil (paleosol). Material cultures ranging from Neolithic to Medieval were numerous and identified within stratigraphic and surficial contexts. A well-preserved paleosol was located, characterized, and sampled. The Avvoltoio Paleosol was laterally extensive (20 meters), contained well-defined horizons, prismatic to sub-angular blocky structure, possessed root-traces, and was buried by colluvium/slope-wash with abundant lithic and ceramic artifacts. A Geographic Information System was initiated combining the area’s natural resources (stone, clay, water, soil), known archaeological sites, and location of this survey’s material culture finds. A series of analytical tests (e.g. Particle-size, XRF, and SEM) are being used to further characterize both geologic and archeological samples.