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Authors: Pucci, S.* 
Pantosti, D.* 
De Martini, P. M.* 
Smedile, A.* 
Munzi, M.* 
Cirelli, E.* 
Pentiricci, M.* 
Musso, L.* 
Title: Environment-man relationships in historical times: the balance between urban development and natural forces at Leptis Magna (Libya).
Issue Date: 8-Jan-2010
Keywords: geochronology
Natural Hazard
Fluvial process
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.08. Sediments: dating, processes, transport 
Abstract: We analyze the relationships between human modification of the environment and natural events in the Roman city of Leptis Magna (UNESCO world heritage), western Libya. For the first time the history of Leptis Magna is tested against a high resolution geo-morphological and stratigraphical reconstruction and absolute radiocarbon dating. Historical and archaeological sources indicate the occurrence of different natural events as the cause of the town decline: earthquakes, flooding, and tsunamis. Our data indicate that Leptis Magna was tightly linked to the nearby wadi. In fact, aware of the hazards related to violent flooding, the Romans were able to cope with the threat posed by the wadi by engineering defensive hydraulic works around the town. Once economic decay began and the society could no longer guarantee the ongoing maintenance of these structures, the decline of the settlement began and the occurrence of violent floods reclaimed the populated areas. The occurrence of large earthquakes, and the tsunami event that damaged the harbor have been discarded as playing a primary role in the decline of Leptis Magna.
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