Environmental archaeology of post-medieval terraced chestnut groves sites / C. Molinari, AM. Stagno
Environmental and rural Archaeology of post-medieval terraced chestnut groves sites in NW Italian Mountains. MOLINARI, Chiara ; STAGNO, Anna-Maria (Laboratorio di Archeologia e Storia Ambientale, Dismec-Dipteris, Università di Genova). In Colloque "La construction des territoires montagnards : exploitation des ressources et mobilité des pratiques", organisé par les laboratoires GEODE, FRAMESPA, GEOLAB et Chrono-Environnement. Université Toulouse 2-Le Mirail, 8-11 octobre 2009.
A series of spatially and temporally precise studies were undertaken in the Ligurian Apennines, Northern Italy, with the aim to document the post"medieval archaeology of sweet chestnut plantations in different sites (Lagorara, Lemmen, Perlezzi, San Rufino). Chestnut groves investigations have been developed recently on a special research project devoted to “Les paysages de l’arbre hors foret: multi : valorisation dans le cadre d’un développement local durable en Europe du sud”, funded by the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development and carried out by the Universities of Genoa (Italy), Toulouse (France) and Granada (Spain). The reconstruction of past management practices and the interpretation of change factors in the study of historical processes and functions of chestnut plantations is the main focus of this contribution. The most important aim is to point out the differences between the discussed case studies and the different sources employed (historical cartography, archaeobotany, archaeological and oral sources). Perlezzi (Borzonasca, GE) site is an irrigated terraced sweet chestnut grove connected with a water management system having a continuity of use at least since late 17th c., as shown by archaeological evidences. Archival documents testify the presence of sweet chestnut groves in this area since the medieval period, but archaeological surveys date the construction of the terraces system since the end of 17th c. and "for the moment" do not permit to identify different utilizations. In this case, more information about the past management practices of environmental resources of the area could be reached with the help of archaeobotanical data. In San Rufino (Leivi, GE) site the study of archival and field evidences documents a particular practice of co-plantation of sweet chestnut grove with black alder, spread in Entella River basin, since late 18th until the half of 20th c. Lagorara (Maissana, SP) site is a terraced sweet chestnut grove planted after the second half of the 19th c on a wooded meadow pasture. In this case study, the question about whether a particular management practice of environmental resources (like the planting of small sweet chestnut groves) can be detected in pollen and microcharcoal diagrams is discussed. Of particular interest are the results of the palynological analysis of a terraced soil profile matched with historical ecology information. In Lemmen (Riomaggiore, SP) site, located in the Cinque Terre Natural National Park, the employment of different sources allowed to reconstruct the regressive history, until the first half of the 19th c., of a rural landscape characterized by grazing areas with a chestnut wooded meadow system developed into a cultural landscape of coast winter pastures of a transhumance system. A system more complex than the present one characterized by olive and vine terraces.