Plant remains - including pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, seeds and fruits, woods and charcoals - are among the most important biological archives upon which past environmental reconstructions are based. From one hand, plants are known to respond, in fact, to both climate change and human impact. From the other hand, humans collected plants that were available in the territory they explored, and even involuntary they shaped the landscape. As humans lived in a region, ‘cultural transformations of natural habitats’ began, and were the inevitable consequence of human presence in lands. Consequently, changes in flora and vegetation cover may have occurred earlier near settlements and in the places that today we call ‘archaeological sites’. The weak anthropogenic influence on the environment firstly occurred in the vicinity of the settlements, and then became a true local impact. Then, human impact became evident at a larger regional scale depending on the chronological and cultural variables, and on the distance and intensity of activity performances. In archaeological contexts, humans and their animals largely bring plant micro- and macro- remains to the site and thus cultural variables strongly influence the pollen spectrum and the archaeobotanical record. Far from being a problem, this taphonomical peculiarity is crucial to explore human behaviour and cultural aspects of plant exploitation. A set of palynological / archaeobotanical research has been carried out in the last decades by our research team. In Italy, investigations cover most of the regions from Northern (especially Emilia Romagna), Central (especially Tuscany) and Southern Italy (especially Basilicata and Sicily). Chronology ranges from the Middle Bronze age (e.g. Terramara di Montale), to the Roman and Medieval ages (e.g. Modena; Parma; Villa del Casale), to Renaissance ages (e.g. Ferrara). The research joins multidisciplinary archaeological study to palaeoenvironmental–ecological approach, with focus on the Italian peninsula and its impressive prehistoric and historic archaeological heritage.
Palaeoenvironment, land-use and palaeoethnobotany from archaeobotany research in Italy / Mercuri, Anna Maria; Bosi, Giovanna; Mazzanti, Marta; Torri, Paola; Benatti, Alessandra; Florenzano, Assunta; Montecchi, Maria Chiara; Rattighieri, Eleonora; Rinaldi, Rossella. - STAMPA. - (2014), pp. 99-99. (Intervento presentato al convegno 3rd International Landscape Archaeology Conference (LAC) tenutosi a Roma nel 17-20 September 2014).