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Tephrostratigraphy of paleoclimatic archives in central Mediterranean during the Bronze Age

Zanchetta, Giovanni, Bini, Monica, Di Vito, Mauro A., Sulpizio, Roberto, Sadori, Laura
Quaternary international 2019 v.499 pp. 186-194
paleoclimatology, tephra, Mediterranean region
Re-examination of central Mediterranean paleoclimate archives on tephra layers indicates that three widely dispersed tephra layers occurred during the Bronze Age, namely Agnano Mt Spina from Campi Flegrei (ca. 4.4 cal ka BP), Avellino from Somma-Vesuvius (ca. 3.9 cal ka BP), and FL from Etna (ca. 3.3 cal ka BP). Stratigraphical correlations of selected archives using these tephra layers indicate that some records have severe chronological biases, posing important limitations to the use of these archives for defining the paleoclimate conditions during the Bronze Age. Regardless of the temporal mismatches, the Agnano Mt Spina tephra layer seems to have occurred at the beginning of a centennial scale period of climatic deterioration, while the Avellino tephra layer, taking place during a wetter period, seems to mark the end of this event. The dry event bounded by the two tephra layers seems to be correlated with the so-called “4.2 event”. Instead, the FL tephra from Etna seems to herald a new climatic deterioration at ca. 3.3–3.2 cal ka BP. Although the general frame is still incomplete, these three tephra layers appear to play a fundamental role in synchronizing archives, and can lead to the definition of a detailed paleoclimatic framework of the Bronze Age in the central Mediterranean area.