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A Bronze Age palaeoenvironmental reconstruction from the Fondi basin, southern Lazio, central Italy

Doorenbosch, Marieke, Field, Michael H.
Quaternary international 2019 v.499 pp. 221-230
anthropogenic activities, basins, burning, charcoal, data collection, eutrophication, fires, freshwater, halophytes, herbs, lakes, landscapes, latitude, paleoecology, palynology, peat, plant communities, pollen, sediment deposition, surface water, swamps, tephra, vegetation, watersheds, Italy
A plant macrofossil and palynological investigation of a peat deposit that contained two distal tephra layers found at Femmina Morta, Fondi basin, southern Lazio, central Italy allowed the reconstruction of a late Early or early Middle Bronze Age landscape. The palynological data show a natural landscape that was unaltered by anthropogenic activity in which a mosaic of vegetation communities existed, each occupying areas that best suited them. Either Mediterranean or more temperate mid-latitude vegetation communities are represented, dependent on the abiotic (e.g. elevation, aspect, geology, edaphic and hydrology) or biotic (e.g. competition) circumstances. The plant macrofossil data and locally derived components of the pollen spectra show that the vegetation in and around the water body was stable. Both data sets indicate that sediment deposition took place in a lacustrine basin. At the point of sampling the water column was probably around 1 m deep and contained clear, calcareous, mesotrophic to eutrophic, slow moving to still fresh water. At the margins of the lake existed a reed swamp, composed of tall and shorter herbs. Evidence for brackish conditions nearby, probably on the beach ridge, is the presence of a small number of halophytic taxa. The palaeobotanical data suggest the deposition of the tephras did not affect the vegetation in the area. Charcoal deposition was probably the result of natural fires burning in the catchment.