The topic of this research consists in the description of landscape modifications occurring from the 4th century BCE to the 19th century CE as a consequence of quarrying activities on carbonate slopes along a tract of the ancient Appia route crossing the central Apennine belt at the Aurunci Mountain pass (Lazio region, central Italy).The main objectives were to discern different quarrying phases and techniques, quantify quarrying activities and understand the role of quarrying in create morphological features.Multidisciplinary studies were completed including aerial photogrammetry, geoarchaeological field surveys, morphometric characterization of quarry areas, structural analysis of rock outcrops aided by terrestrial photogrammetry, GPS measurements.The results of this study show how the local geomorpological and tectonic setting determined which kinds of extractable rock material, i.e., rock blocks or breccias, were used for different purposes. Moreover, different phases of extraction were evidenced. A main Roman quarrying phase, lasting between the 4th century BCE and the 1st century CE, was recognized as taking place over eight quarry areas. These are delimited by sharp edges and have regular shapes, revealing in some cases a staircase-like morphological profile, and are characterized by similar volumes of extracted rock material. A later quarrying phase —the Bourbon Age, 19th century CE—is assumed to be evidenced instead by five quarries with a peculiar semi-elliptical shape and different volumes of carved material. Seven quarries were found to be of uncertain age.The quarry system described in this paper, together with geomorphological records of slope cuts, terraced surfaces, and the remains of retaining walls, represents a unique and important example of anthropogenic landscape modification in the territory of the central Apennines caused by the construction and maintenance of a Roman road over the centuries. This could be relevant for further studies on the relations between natural environments and the development of civilisation. In addition, the multi-methodological analyses of geomorphological records originated by quarrying activities may be considered for the characterization of similar quarry landscapes.
Geomorphology – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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