Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2122/8824
AuthorsDi Vito, M. A.* 
Castaldo, N.* 
de Vita, S.* 
Bishop, J.* 
Vecchio, G.* 
TitleHuman colonization and volcanic activity in the eastern Campania Plain (Italy) between the Eneolithic and Late Roman periods
Issue Date2013
Series/Report no./303 (2013)
DOI10.1016/j.quaint.2013.01.001
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/2122/8824
Keywordsstratigrafy
volcanology
archaeology
volcanic hazard
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.03. Geomorphology 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.10. Stratigraphy 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.99. General or miscellaneous 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.05. Volcanic rocks 
AbstractArchaeological and volcanological studies conducted in the Naples area have revealed that numerous high-intensity explosive eruptions that occurred in the past 10 ka caused damage and victims in the human communities living in the plain surrounding the Neapolitan volcanoes. These catastrophic events were interspersed by hundred to thousand year long periods of quiescence, usually exceeding a human life-time. During the Early Bronze Age in particular, the Campania Plain was densely inhabited due to favourable climatic conditions and soil fertility. The archaeological and volcanological investigation of the sequences found in archaeological excavations has permitted the detailed reconstruction of the effects of eruptions and deposition mechanisms of their products on settlements. This paper discusses the example of Nola- Palma Campania during a most interesting, though poorly known, period of activity bracketed by the Vesuvian Pomici di Avellino (Early Bronze Age) and Pollena (AD 472) Plinian eruptions. Through this timespan the Plainwas variably inhabited, crossed by long-lived roads and subject to agricultural exploitation. Eruptions caused significant breaks in the occupation of the area, but also maintained the plain’s extraordinary fertility. During this period, at least eight other eruptions occurred: the Pomici di Pompei Plinian event (AD 79), two sub-Plinian to phreato-Plinian events, and five violent Strombolian to Vulcanian events. Thin and poorly developed to thicker and mature palaeosols or erosional unconformities separate the various pyroclastic deposits. Almost all the eruptions and related phenomena interacted with human settlements in the Campania Plain, and in their sequences many traces of the displacement of people during the eruptions may be seen, as well as land reclamation and re-utilization soon afterwards. Despite the various kinds of hazard posed by volcanic and related phenomena, humans nevertheless found good reasons for settlement in the Campania Plain and flourished there. A multidisciplinary approach has yielded detailed information regarding the evolution of the area and the effects of eruptions on settlements. These data are of paramount importance for an improved understanding of past events and in evaluating the hazard of eruptions and related phenomena.
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