Landscapes of Transhumance in Anthraco2023

Tomorrow, postdoctoral researcher Valentina Pescini is presenting in Anthraco2023 – 8th international Anthracology Meeting, which is taking place in Porto (Portugal) from the 29th of August to the 2nd of September, in a joint organization of CIBIO-InBIO-BIOPOLIS and the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto.

Anthraco2023 gathers specialists in charcoal and wood analysis focusing on both archaeological and natural sedimentary contexts, within the broad themes of Human Paleoecology, Ethno-archaeology and Environmental History.

Landscapes of transhumance. Historical and environmental characterization of agro-sylvo-pastoral practices in Maritime Alps (Piedmont, Italy) between the 12th and 20th century

Pescini V. (Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology – ICAC); Menozzi B.I. (University of Genoa – DISTAV); Rellini I. (University of Genoa – DISTAV); Égüez N. (Archaeological Micromorphology and Biomarkers – AMBI Lab)

Transhumant pastoralism has had a central role in the formation and management of Mediterranean mountain landscapes. Involving specialized agro-sylvo practices it has played a pivotal role in transforming the ecology of environmental systems: from plant to animal populations, up to the physicochemical properties and structural characteristics of the soils. Yet, only fragmented traces of this millenary practice remain in sedimentary and pedological archives, and they are often difficult to identify and interpret. This contribution presents the results of an interdisciplinary investigation carried out in Mount Mongioie (Piedmont – Italy, 1.530 m a.s.l.), summer pastureland historically affected by transhumant livestock from the Tyrrhenian coast and the Po valley. High-resolution multi-proxy research is proposed, combining pedoanthracology, palynology, biomolecular analysis, soil micromorphology, and chemistry together with radiocarbon dating. These evidences have been cross-checked with documentary and iconographic sources (i.e. historical texts, maps, and photos) to untangle the complexity inherent in the historical ways of accessing grazing resources. Such an approach provides new insight into environmental changes that occurred between the 12th and 20th century in this mountain sector dues to a multiple land use system involving pastoral activity, temporary sowing, and use of fire and expression of collective use of resources (commons) which gradually disappeared long the 19th century.

Valentina Pescini is a Ramón y Cajal Researcher (RYC2021-034621-I) with the project “Transeant. Landscape of transhumance: Environmental archaeology research between Eastern Pyrenees (Spain) and Maritime Alps (Italy)

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