Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM
A PRELIMINARY GEOARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF PARTANNA, SICILY (THE BELICE RIVER VALLEY)
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.