ARCHAEO-GEOSITES IN URBAN AREAS: A CASE STUDY OF THE ETRUSCAN PALAZZONE NECROPOLIS (PERUGIA, CENTRAL ITALY)

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Roberto Bizzarri
Laura Melelli
Corrado Cencetti

Abstract

In addition to practical and cultural motivations, there is also a geological reason for the establishment of an urban area. In central Italy, a large part of the main historical and cultural towns derived from very ancient villages located on hilltops, close to alluvial plains. Height guaranteed a healthy environment compared to the lowlands, where wetlands, marshes and flooding favoured malarial conditions. At the same time, proximity to lowlands was essential for accessing communication networks, drinking water availability and raw materials. In most cases, the morphology of these hills has been a decisive limitation for urban development. On the contrary, the Pliocene-Pleistocene fluvial and lacustrine sediments forming these reliefs have been used for housing some important civil and religious facilities such as houses, storage areas, and tunnels, but also wells and tanks, tombs and necropolises. Thus, the central areas of the most important historical cities still preserve valuable archaeological sites. Moreover, the original sedimentary deposits can often be observed along the perimetric walls of these buildings, and these sites provide a unique opportunity to reconstruct a 3D geological view. When both archaeological and geological values are high, these sites can be defined as “archaeo-geosites” and offer a unique opportunity for a multidisciplinary study of the urban areas. The Etruscan Palazzone Necropolis in Perugia (Umbria, central Italy) is an ideal case study for this approach. A detailed study of the sedimentological and lithostratigraphic features of the deposits cropping out in the Necropolis led to the identification of two distinct, superimposed fluvial systems, separated by a main unconformity, which could be interpreted in terms of different ages and/or changes in the main fluvial regime. A geomorphological overview of the area is also proposed, with the aim of expanding the palaeoenvironmental reconstruction to a larger area, including the Perugia Hill. Finally, the Palazzone Necropolis, as an archeo-geosite, could be considered as a prototype for the promotion of geotourism in urban areas, contributing to a new added value to conventional touristic tours of cities.

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How to Cite
Bizzarri, R., Melelli, L., & Cencetti, C. (2018). ARCHAEO-GEOSITES IN URBAN AREAS: A CASE STUDY OF THE ETRUSCAN PALAZZONE NECROPOLIS (PERUGIA, CENTRAL ITALY). Alpine and Mediterranean Quaternary, 31(2), 207–219. https://doi.org/10.26382/AMQ.2018.15
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