Clastic sediments deposited in caves and rockshelters bear peculiar sedimentological characteristics and have seldom been considered as a high-resolution proxy record of climatic or environmental changes. The Romito Cave has its entrance at 275 m above the sea level about 25 km from the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, southern Italy. The new archaeological excavation performed since 2000 revealed a sedimentary succession spanning the record of Gravettian to Late Epigravettian cultures (Late Pleistocene). The present study focuses on the lower part (2.5 m thick) of the succession, where three main unconformity-bounded stratigraphic units have been recognized (labelled RM1-3). Each unit consists of water-lain deposits indicating high- to low-competence flow, capped with anthropogenic deposits. The gradual deactivation and reactivation of the water drainage between 23,475 ±190 yrs BP and 16,250 ±500 cal. yrs BP is correlated with the regional precipitation changes due to the onset of dry climatic conditions of the last glacial maximum. However, the deactivation of cave drainage after the deposition of unit RM3, around 15,400 ±500 cal. yrs BP, deviates from the regional hydrological trend of progressively increasing water discharges and is attributed to the drainage cut-off by probable cave-wall collapses.

The Late Pleistocene clastic deposits in the Romito Cave, southern Italy: a proxy record of environmental changes and human presence

GHINASSI, MASSIMILIANO;
2009

Abstract

Clastic sediments deposited in caves and rockshelters bear peculiar sedimentological characteristics and have seldom been considered as a high-resolution proxy record of climatic or environmental changes. The Romito Cave has its entrance at 275 m above the sea level about 25 km from the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, southern Italy. The new archaeological excavation performed since 2000 revealed a sedimentary succession spanning the record of Gravettian to Late Epigravettian cultures (Late Pleistocene). The present study focuses on the lower part (2.5 m thick) of the succession, where three main unconformity-bounded stratigraphic units have been recognized (labelled RM1-3). Each unit consists of water-lain deposits indicating high- to low-competence flow, capped with anthropogenic deposits. The gradual deactivation and reactivation of the water drainage between 23,475 ±190 yrs BP and 16,250 ±500 cal. yrs BP is correlated with the regional precipitation changes due to the onset of dry climatic conditions of the last glacial maximum. However, the deactivation of cave drainage after the deposition of unit RM3, around 15,400 ±500 cal. yrs BP, deviates from the regional hydrological trend of progressively increasing water discharges and is attributed to the drainage cut-off by probable cave-wall collapses.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2266716
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