The site of San Michele di Valestra: new evidence of Apennines exploitation during the Bronze Age (XV–XII century BC, N Italy)

Mauro Cremaschi, Anna Maria Mercuri, Giorgio Baratti*, Federico Borgi, Filippo Brandolini, Stefano Costanzo, Michele Degli Esposti, Ilaria Isola, Elena Maini, Guido Stefano Mariani, Angela Mutti, Noelle Provenzano, Eleonora Regattieri, Paola Torri, Giovanni Zanchetta, Andrea Zerboni

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


The expansion and especially the collapse of the Terramare culture in the Po Plain (Northern Italy) between the Middle and the Recent Bronze Age (XVI–XII century BC) has been a subject of interest to archaeologists for a long time (Barfield 1994; Bernabò Brea et al. 1997; Cardarelli 2009). Their extensive network of trades and traffics had by no doubt a strong influence on the nearby mountain settlements in the northern Apennine, to which they were probably tightly related in lasting commercial relationships. Nevertheless, the nature and extent of Bronze Age human exploitation of the northern Apennine is poorly known, as well as the consequences of the disappearance of the neighbouring Terramare culture on these settlements. The principal reason for this knowledge gap is the scarcity of archaeological excavations in the area, with the few promising sites related to this period left largely ignored during the last decades. San Michele di Valestra, located in the territory of Carpineti (RE), is one of the few Bronze Age settlements investigated in the last decades, but the old studies (Bellodi et al. 1979; Tirabassi 1979) did not highlight the full archaeological potential of the site. In 2017 the archaeological sequence has been re-investigated in the framework of the SUCCESSO-TERRA Project (PRIN20158KBLNB). ... The site of San Michele di Valestra is probably the longest and best-preserved sequence for the Bronze Age in the Apennines, and offers the opportunity to understand the subsistence strategies in this environment. Evidence shows how the climate event accompanying the Terramare crisis had little influence on Apennine settlements: despite the spatial proximity (only about 20 km), in the site of San Michele di Valestra no hiatus or interruption in the archaeological sequence can be found relative to that event, in opposition to the substantial impact it had on the populations of the Po Plain. It can be speculated that adaptations to the peculiarities of the mountain environment were a key factor in the higher resilience of these settlements, and that a responsible strategy in the exploitation of the natural resources probably allowed their survival. The palaeobotanical analysis of the sequence and the palaeoclimatic studies on speleothems will explain the main climatic changes affecting the area and possibly shed light on the kind of response adopted by human groups to a changing environment.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteHuman and Environmental sustainability: Lessons from the past ecosystems of Europe and Northern Africa
Numero di pagine3
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018
EventoConference of Environmental Archaeology - Modena
Durata: 26 feb 201828 feb 2018


ConvegnoConference of Environmental Archaeology


  • Bronze Age,
  • Northern Apennines,
  • climate change
  • geoarchaeology,
  • palaeoenvironment


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