This project is aimed at quantitatively characterizing the relationships that existed between the ancient societies and their environments, at different temporal and spatial scales along the deltaic coast of the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The planned research work is based on a multidisciplinary approach including: archaeological, historical, geographical, geo-morphological and bio-sedimentological data as well as modeling and 3D reconstruction of archeological sites. The study of the relationships between ancient societies and their coastal environment has long been fragmentary. Our methodology has been used and developed for over a decade. The project presented here is thus in line with this methodology which integrates sedimentary archives from coastal areas with the archaeological context. It will attempt to describe the forcing agents governing the historical development of deltaic civilizations and the geomorphology of their environments during the Holocene period. Comparative analysis will allow us to cross examine the economic, social and food supply strategies of these societies in relation to their degree of technical development and hence bring to the fore their adaptability in particularly mobile and changing environments.
This research will focus on: (i) a study of sedimentary archives collected in archaeological contexts, from ~6000 years BC onwards; and (ii) an archaeological and geo-archaeological analysis integrating the source-to-sink watershed areas.
The lagoonal harbour of Portus Pisanus
During the last millennia human and natural processes have become increasingly intertwined, especially in the Mediterranean coastal and alluvial plains where major urban and trade centres developed since protohistoric times. The construction of ports represents one of the human activities that have mostly contributed to modify coastal environments, inducing a variety of hydrodynamic and hydrochemical changes especially since Roman times (Marriner et al., 2014).
Exceptions in this common manner to plan harbours have been recognised along the N Tyrrhenian coast, where no high-impact defense works are explicitly documented by either historical sources or archaeological excavations for three main harbours developed during Etruscan-Roman times (IV-I century BC): Portus Lunae (Bini et al., 2012), Portus Pisanus and Vada Volterrana.