Lost Landscapes Of Sicily, Italy. Submerged Cities And Ancient Shorelines From Prehistory To The Roman Period
AIA Society: IowaLecturer: Alba Mazza
Submerged cities and ancient shorelines are two of the most intriguing yet complex topics of investigation in the field of maritime archaeology. Sicily, the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea and one of the richest archaeological regions, offers the ideal setting to help us better understand lost landscapes. Geomorphological changes and environmental dynamics played a fundamental role in shaping the coastal landscape of the island. This, in conjunction with the uninterrupted inhabitation of the majority of the coast since prehistory makes Sicily one of the most interesting regions of the Mediterranean Basin for submerged landscapes research.
This lecture aims to describe such a long-term human-environment interaction in some of the most important coastal settlements of the island: Lipari, Selinunte and Syracuse. Coastal changes and sea level rise significantly impacted how people lived in those communities. A large variety of archaeological evidence has been analyzed, including but not limited to port infrastructures, religious buildings and necropolises. Results indicates that very different approaches were taken by the inhabitants of Sicily in order to cope with environmental hazards. Thanks to this research it has been possible to better understand what were the components of decision-making mechanisms in urban planning as well as the consequences of a poor understanding of the landscape and its management needs. Investigating submerged cities and ancient shorelines of Sicily informed us not only of the island’s lost landscape, but also of future environmental challenges and hazards. Within this context, maritime archaeological research plays a fundamental role in advancing landscape management and helping coastal communities learning from the past.
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