A thorough review of the evidence of human settlement in Italy during the Younger Dryas (YD) is presented, making use of 14C-dated sites and, in some instances, of sites dated by proxy indicators (lithic seriation, cold-adapted animal species). Calibrated dates within the range 12.9-11.6 ka BP are retained. The analysis is arranged following a geographical division between northern Italy, with the pre-Alps and the north-eastern slope of the Apennine, and south-central Italy, with Sicily. In total, 31 dated sites are included, some of which multi-layered. The elusive evidence from Sardinia is also briefly discussed. It is underlined that there are far more cave sites than open-air sites in this sample, mostly because archaeological research has focused on caves, while taphonomy explains the partial destruction of the record in the open. A wide range of environments was settled, from coastal areas to river valleys, from lake basins and high plateaux to mountain ranges up to c. 1500 m asl. The most frequently hunted animals were either ibex (mountains as well as rocky cliffs, even at sea level and in the South), or hydruntine horse (plains and hills), accompanied by red deer. Birds, molluscs, and fish were also important resources at some sites. Rituals are indicated by a number of formal burials, while artwork includes Azilian pebbles and geometric wall engravings. In the pre-Alps, there are changes in the settlement pattern as campsites were smaller and shorter-lived than during the Alleröd. However, the same mountains and high elevation hunting grounds were exploited in the YD as before, and Alpine passes were crossed. Elsewhere, all over peninsular Italy, cave sites were in use again and again. Even if the climate was worsening, with temperatures markedly lower than during the Alleröd, the general conclusions are that, in the case of Italy, at the YD some limited indicators of stress can be detected so far only in Alpine areas.
|Titolo:||Human settlement of Italy during the Younger Dryas|
PERESANI, Marco (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2011|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||04.1 Contributi in atti di convegno (in Rivista)|