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Late Holocene landscape evolution of the Gulf of Naples (Italy) inferred from geoarchaeological data

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Late Holocene landscape evolution of the Gulf of Naples (Italy) inferred from geoarchaeological data
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Aucelli a , Aldo Cinque b , Gaia Mattei  a and Gerardo Pappone a a Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie, Università degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope, Centro Direzionale Is C4, Napoli, Italy;  b Dipartimento diScienze della Terra, dell ’ Ambiente e delle Risorse, Università di Napoli Federico II, Largo San Marcellino, Napoli, Italy     The mapping of landforms in the Gulf of Naples is fundamental to understanding the recentevolution of this perithyrrenian basin controlled by several systems of Quaternary faults andcharacterised by the presence of the Campi Flegrei and Somma Vesuvius volcanoes. In thispaper a 1:85,000 map of the recent evolution of the Gulf of Naples coasts is presented. Thiscartographic product has been obtained using a compilation of previously publishedgeoarchaeological coastal studies integrated with new field data. The morphogenetic mapsuggests a differential evolution of various coastal stretches over the past 2000 years drivennot only by measured vertical ground movements and eustatic sea-level rise (of 1 m) butalso by eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius, in particular the Plinian eruption of 79 AD and thesubsequent reworking of it ’ s products, as well as by the erosive action of the sea.    HISTORY Received 6 December 2016Revised 16 February 2017Accepted 24 February 2017          S Coastal landscape evolution;Roman archaeological sea-level markers; vertical groundmovements; horizontalmovements of the coastline;Vesuvius 79 AD eruption; Gulf of Naples (Southern Italy)    Geoarchaeology aims to understand the human-environment relationship within an evolving environ-ment (Bravi, Fuscaldo, Guarino, & Schiattarella,2003), in order to reconstruct  –  in a specific area andperiod  –  the connection between the history of human settlement and culture and environmentalchanges (Barker & Bintcliff, 1999).Coastal geoarchaeology, in particular, can usearchaeological remains as constraints on the age of ancient shorelines and on the position of ancientsea levels (Morhange & Marriner, 2015; Vacchi et al., 2016); conversely, geological evidence providespaleogeographic and paleoenvironmental guidanceuseful to archaeological interpretations (Anzideiet al., 2011; Auriemma & Solinas, 2009). Along Med- iterranean shores, numerous evidence near thecoasts, such as production structures, town struc-tures, landing places, and ports are recognisableand sometimes well-preserved. Some artefacts thatare today submerged can provide important infor-mation to reconstruct the ancient coastal landscape(Antonioli et al., 2007; Caputo & Pieri, 1976; Flem- ming, 1969; Furlani et al., 2013; Lambeck, Anzidei, Antonioli, Benini, & Esposito, 2004; Marriner, Mor-hange, & Doumet-Serhal, 2006; Morhange & Piraz-zoli, 2005; Pirazzoli, 1987; Rovere, Stocchi, &  Vacchi, 2016; Scicchitano, Antonioli, Berlinghieri,Dutton, & Monaco, 2008).Coastlines and geomorphological features such ascliffs, shorelines and sandbars, lagoons, estuaries, etc.are known to be among the most dynamic elements of the physical landscape. Such dynamics are directly relatedtothecoastalprocesses thatbelongtoendogenicfactors (tectonics, isostasy, and volcanism) and surfaceprocesses (erosion, transport and sedimentation).Over the short term, seasonal and catastrophic meteo-marineeventsandhumanimpactscandirectlyinterferewith coastal changes. Over the long term, however, cli-mate changes are the main factor influencing coastalevolution due to relative sea-level rises (Anzidei et al.,2014; Aucelli et al., 2016c; Brancaccio et al., 1991; Di Paola, Aucelli, Benassai, & Rodríguez, 2014; Lambeck et al., 2011; Pappone, Alberico, Amato, Aucelli, & DiPaola, 2011; Pappone et al., 2012; Shennan, Long, &  Horton, 2015,) along with volcanism, tectonic and vol-cano-tectonic movements (Antonioli & Silenzi, 2007;Morhange, Marriner, Laborel, Todesco, & Oberlin,2006; Santangelo et al., 2017). Finally, in recent centuries, human impact on coastsand river basins have caused modifications of the sen-sitive Mediterranean coastal environment (Amatoet al., 2012, 2013). The interaction of coastal processes and human impacts determines the overall evolution-ary trend of coastlines (Alberico et al., 2012).The Gulf of Naples is an example of the continuedinteraction between humans and volcanoes, as thisarea was densely inhabited since Greek times. As © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of Journal of MapsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricteduse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the srcinal work is properly cited.    Gaia Mattei Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie, Università degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope, CentroDirezionale Is C4, Napoli 80121, Italy JOURNAL OF MAPS, 2017VOL. 13, NO. 2, 300 – 310  described by Strabo, the beauty of the Gulf led the con-struction of many villas and gardens along the wholecoastal area during the Greek  – Roman age. The archae-ological remains of these structures are now submergedor buried by the volcanic products of Vesuvius andhave inspired this research, aimed at reconstructing the Roman landscape and studying the phenomenathat have influenced it ’ s evolution.The purpose is to present a map representing thecoastal change that has occurred since Roman timesalong the coasts of the Gulf of Naples, by means of geo-morphological and geophysical surveys carried out atseveral submerged geoarchaeological sites of Romantime, taking into account the coastline position during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and during the lastinterglacial period (MIS 5).    The Gulf of Naples is a NE-trending set of faults globally shaping a half graben characterised by thick volcanicunits erupted from the Campi Flegrei and Vesuvius vol-canoes (Aucelli, Brancaccio, & Cinque, in press, Figure 1; Milia, Torrente, Russo, & Zuppetta, 2003). The structureof the Gulf of Naples is controlled by numerous Quatern-aryfaultsystems,NE – SWtrendingSE-dippingand NW – SE trending SW dipping, linked to the last stages of theopening of the Tyrrhenian Sea (Fedele et al., 2015;Milia, 2010). Between the Middle and Upper Pleistocene,the fault systems were responsible for the development of the half-graben of the Gulf of Naples and Sorrento Penin-sula fault block ridge (Milia & Torrente, 2003).This extensional basin covers about 1000 km 2 andhas the typical physiographic features of a passive con-tinental margin, with its continental shelf slope(between − 140 and − 180 m of depth) and basin (Aielloet al., 2001; Milia & Torrente, 1999). The Gulf of Naples, characterised by both mono-genic volcanoes and other volcanic and pyroclasticrocks, is bordered to the south by the carbonate succes-sion of the Sorrento Peninsula, to the north by theCampi Flegrei volcanic area and to the east by the   ure 1.  Geological sketchmap of Gulf of Naples. JOURNAL OF MAPS 301  Vesuvian coast (Figure 1; Bonardi, d ’ Argenio, & Per-rone, 1988; Fedele et al., 2015; Iannace et al., 2015; San- tacroce & Sbrana, 2003).The Campi Flegrei volcanic district includes Procidaisland and several submarine vents and monogenic vol-canos (Passaro et al., 2016) mostly made of pyroclasticrocks, such as Nisida island (3.92 ky BP, Fedele et al.,2015) in the western part of the city of Naples. TheCampanian Ignimbrite (CI; 39.28 ky BP, De Vivoet al., 2001) and the Neapolitan Yellow tuff (NYT15.3 ky BP; Deino, Orsi, de Vita, & Piochi, 2004) erup-tions were the two largest caldera-collapse events of Campi Flegrei volcano. These eruptions emitted large volumes of magma that mantled extensive parts of city of Naples and reached the Sorrento Peninsula.This volcanic area is still active as testified by the recenteruption of Monte Nuovo in 1538 AD (Di Vito et al.,in press; Guidoboni & Ciuccarelli, 2011). The Somma  –  Vesuvius is a 1281 m-high stratovol-cano, composed of the older volcano Mt. Somma andthe younger cone Mt. Vesuvius, formed from the cal-dera collapses produced by the three main Plinianeruptions (Santacroce et al., 2008). The most famousof these eruptions is the 79 AD eruption that causedthe burial of the Roman towns of Pompeii, Hercula-neum, and Stabiae.These two large volcanic complexes are separated by two alluvial plains: the Sebeto and Sarno plains, mainly formed of pyroclastic fall deposits related to upperPleistocene to Holocene volcanic activity, and alluvialdeposits.The present morphology of the gulf basin and it ’ scoasts has been influenced by the interaction betweentectonics, volcanism and sea-level fluctuations thathave greatly contributed to it ’ s evolution during theQuaternary cycle (Bruno et al., 2003; Cinque et al., 1997; Milia & Torrente, 1999, 2003, 2007).   The main coastal changes during the Holocene wereevaluated by means of geoarchaeological surveys onseveral submerged archaeological sites (Mattei, 2016,Figure 2), conducted using two methods: integratedgeophysical and morpho-bathymetric surveys by means of a marine drone (Giordano, Mattei, Parente,Peluso, & Santamaria, 2016).Where possible, an integrated geophysical survey has been carried out using a seismo  –  stratigraphic sys-tem, a side scan sonar (SSS) morphological system andsingle beam echosounder bathymetric system. In theother cases, we have used the MicroVeGA drone,used to carry out surveys in very shallow water (Gior-dano, Mattei, Parente, Peluso, & Santamaria, 2015).A seismo-stratigraphic survey (sub-bottom profiler,SBP) was undertaken off the Seiano (Sorrento Penini-sula, site 9 in Figure 2) pocket beach (Aucelli et al., 2016a, 2016b). In four other cases, seismo-stratigraphic profiles previously acquired were interpreted. Thisacoustic system is useful for detecting thin stratifica-tions below the seabed as well as structures or artefactsburied (Figure 3(C)) by marine sediments (Mattei &  Giordano, 2015). The D-Seismic system is high-resol-ution and discriminates facies in the order of 25 – 30 cm.The SSS morphological system is a GeoAcousticsdual-frequency (114/410 kHz) system (MOD259) andwas used for acoustic mapping of the seabed. Sono-graph interpretation by means of backscatter analysiswas applied to clearly discerning all significant targets,defining their nature and dimensions (Figure 3(A) and(B), Giordano, 2010).The bathymetric system used at six archaeo-siteswas an Omex Sonar Lite Single Beam Echo Sounder(SBES) optimised for shallow water that measures thedepth at centimetric precision.The global positioning system (GPS) receiver usedin all marine surveys was a Trimble DSM 232 GPS,with decimetric precision.Finally, the MicroVeGA drone (used at five archaeo-sites) is an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) conceived,designed and built to operate in shallow-water areas(0 – 20 m), where a traditional boat is poorly manoeuvr-able. Such as drone, engineered by the DIST researchgroup at the Parthenope University of Naples, is asmall and ultra-light catamaran with a draught of sev-eral centimetres, suitable for performing surveys up tothe shoreline (Giordano et al., 2016). The payload of theMicroVeGAincludes:(1)microcomputer;(2)differentialGPS system and SBES; (3) integrated system for attitudecontrol; (4) obstacle-detection system (SIROS1) withtemperature control system; and (5) video acquisitionsystem (both above and below sea level).Moreover, at all sites studied, several direct surveyswere carried out by a scuba driver in order to performa clear interpretation of the archaeological markers andthe correction of indirect data (Lambeck et al., 2004).Table 1 lists the survey techniques adopted and therelated data obtained.The Main map reconstructs the coastline evolutionof the Gulf of Naples over the last 2000 years, butalso includes the approximate positons of the coastlineduring the last interglacial sea-level highstand (MIS 5)and the last glacial sea-level lowstand (LGM) as well asthe maximum marine ingression in the plains during the Holocene. The geographic information has beengrouped as follows:1 Geological legend including the main lithostrati-graphic complexes;2 Type of coast including the main geomorphologicaltypes; 302 P. P. C. AUCELLI ET AL.  3 Archaeological landscape including the mainRoman settlements, the Roman streets and the Fon-tis Augustei Acquaeductum;4 MIS 5 sea-level markers and coastline;5 LGM coastline;6 Holocene main coastal changes, including the coast-line position during the maximum ingression (Cin-que, 1991; Irollo, 2005), the archaeological sea-level markers, the vertical ground movements (VGM)measured at each archaeo-site (Aucelli et al.,2016a, 2016c; Cinque, 1991; Cinque & Irollo, 2008; Cinque et al., 2011; Romano et al., 2013), the hori- zontal movements of the coastline over the last2000 years, a Valentin diagram summarising themain evolutionary steps of each coastal sector.Finally, in each coastal sector the first century ADcoastline has been reconstructed. In the case of theVesuvius coast and Sarno plain, the position of thecoastline predates the 79 AD eruption.In order to better demonstrate the evolution of the coastline over the last 2000 years, a 3D view of three sectors (Posillipo  –  Napoli, box I on themap; Vesuvius and Sarno plain, box II on themap; Piano di Sorrento  –  Sorrento Peninsula, box III on the map) have been added as boundary    ure 2.  Positon of the archaeo-sites studied and zoomed maps of the navigation plan carried out at each site. JOURNAL OF MAPS 303
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