The present PhD thesis concerns the archaeobotanical analysis of materials found in the archaeological site of Motya, a small island (ca. 40 ha) located in the Stagnone di Marsala, a coastal lagoon of western Sicily. Due to its strategic, harbored position in the middle of the Mediterranean and the presence of fresh-water springs, the site was chosen by Phoenicians as a settlement in the 8th century BC until the siege of Motya in 397/6 BC. The study of macro-remains, retrieved using bucket flotation, focused on two closed contexts: a votive favissa found on the SW side of the Temple of Cappiddazzu (dedicated to Melqart/Herakles), and a big disposal pit in Area D, both dating between the 8th and the 6th century BC. In the latter context, palynological analyses were also performed. The study has yielded a wide set of data which allows to reconstruct different aspects of the human-environment interaction of Phoenicians at Motya. Concerning the ritual sphere, animal sacrifices were likely accompanied by ceremonial meals. A high concentration of officinal plants is probably correlated to the salvific aspects of Melqart at Motya. Interesting is the find of numerous plants toxic to livestock, which suggests their use to stun animals before sacrificing them. Remains referable to fruit (Vitis vinifera) and flower offerings (Verbena officinalis), as well as ornamental (Cupressus cf. sempervirens) plants are also attested. From the secular perspective, human diet was comprised of cereals (mostly naked wheat), pulses and fruits. Different-sized weeds (such as Lolium temulentum and Phalaris ssp.) and chaff remains, referable to different stages of crop processing, indicate that crop processing was carried out daily before consumption. This aspect is enriched by the find of cereal pollen, which suggests that threshing (if not even cultivation) was carried on site. Palynology also indicates an open environment, with little to no forest cover, characterized by complex anthropogenic activities. Anthracology suggests the presence of typical Mediterranean plant taxa. The presence of a stone pine nut and of Pinus pinea/pinaster in the pollen rain is noteworthy, suggesting the local occurrence of these Mediterranean pines outside their native distribution range. This represents the first such find in the central Mediterranean. Fossil evidence also allows a comparison of Motya’s past and present environment. The disappearance of Juniperus sp. and Erica arborea from the present-day surroundings of the Marsala lagoon appears to be related to land-overexploitation, aridification or on a combination of the two. Finally, the role of Phoenicians in the spread and trade of grapevine was investigated through morphometric analyses of the Vitis vinifera seeds retrieved from the disposal pit in Area D. These were compared to waterlogged samples from the western Mediterranean sites of Nuraghe S’Urachi (Sardinia, Italy) and Huelva (Spain), associated to Phoenician expansion and cultural interaction. Archaeobotanical samples were compared to ten chosen cultivars from the “Vivaio Federico Paulsen: Centro Regionale per la Conservazione della Biodiversità Agraria” in Marsala (western Sicily), selected as modern reference material. PCA analyses allowed an inter-site comparison, showing that samples from the three sites are clearly distinguishable based on their morphology. This indicates the use of different varieties which may be due to different factors. Statistical analyses of pip outlines show that archaeological material from these sites is morphologically comparable to that of modern varieties, suggesting that the archaeological finds may be described as “strongly domesticated”. Nonetheless, no apparent correspondence to modern cultivars was found. This is partly related to the limited size of the reference collection, to the centuries of history that have had an impact on grape diversity, and to taphonomic factors.

La presente tesi di dottorato riguarda le analisi archeobotaniche dei materiali provenienti dal sito archeologico di Mozia, una piccola isola (ca. 40 ha) collocata nello Stagnone di Marsala, in Sicilia occidentale. Grazie alla sua posizione strategica e riparata, al centro del Mediterraneo, e alla presenza di sorgenti d’acqua dolce, il sito è stato scelto come insediamento dai Fenici nell’VIII sec. a.C. fino all’assedio di Mozia nel 397/6 a.C. Lo studio dei macro-resti, separati attraverso flottazione, si è concentrato su due contesti chiusi: una favissa votiva sul lato sud-ovest del Tempio del Cappiddazzu (dedicato a Melqart/Herakles), ed un butto nell’Area D, entrambi databili tra l’VIII e il VI sec. a.C. Lo studio ha fornito un ampio set di dati che ha permesso la ricostruzione di diversi aspetti delle interazioni uomo ambiente dei Fenici a Mozia. Per quanto riguarda la sfera rituale, i sacrifici animali erano presumibilmente accompagnati da banchetti cerimoniali. Un’alta concentrazione di piante officinali è probabilmente correlata agli aspetti guaritori che il dio Melqart assumeva a Mozia. Il ritrovamento di numerosi taxa tossici per il bestiame risulta interessante, suggerendo il loro utilizzo per stordire gli animali prima di sacrificarli. È inoltre attestata la presenza di resti relative a offerte di frutti (Vitis vinifera) e fiori (Verbena officinalis), come anche di piante ornamentali (Cupressus cf. sempervirens). Dalla prospettiva secolare, la dieta umana era composta da cereali (principalemente frumenti nudi), legumi e frutta. Le piante infestanti di diverse dimensioni (tra cui Lolium temulentum e Phalaris ssp.) e i resti di pula, attribuibili a diverse fasi di lavorazione del raccolto, indicano che questa venisse svolta quotidianamente prima della consumazione. Questo aspetto è arricchito dal ritrovamento di polline di cereali, il quale suggerisce che la trebbiatura (se non anche la coltivazione) venisse svolta sul sito. Anche la palinologia permette di ricostruire un ambiente aperto, con poca o nessuna copertura forestale, caratterizzato da complesse attività antropiche. L’antracologica suggerisce la presenza di taxa tipici dell’area mediterranea. La presenza di un pinolo e di Pinus pinea/pinaster nella pioggia pollinica è degna di nota, suggerendo la presenza locale di questi pini mediterranei al di fuori del loro areale di distribuzione. Questo rappresenta il primo ritrovamento di questo tipo nel Mediterraneo centrale. I resti fossili consentono anche un confronto tra l'ambiente passato e presente di Mozia. La scomparsa di Juniperus sp. ed Erica arborea dai dintorni dell'attuale Stagnone di Marsala sembra essere correlata allo sfruttamento eccessivo del suolo, all’aridificazione o a una combinazione dei due fattori. Infine, il ruolo dei Fenici nella diffusione e nel commercio della vite è stato analizzato attraverso delle analisi morfometriche sui semi di Vitis vinifera rinvenuti nel butto dell’area D. Questi sono stati confrontati a campioni conservati per sommersione provenienti da altri due siti del Mediterraneo occidentale caratterizzati da influenze fenicie, Nuraghe S’Urachi (Sardegna, Italia) e Huelva (Spagna). I campioni archeobotanici sono stati confrontati con dieci cultivar del “Vivaio Federico Paulsen: Centro Regionale per la Conservazione della Biodiversità Agraria” di Marsala (Sicilia occidentale), selezionati come materiale moderno di riferimento. Le analisi delle componenti principali (PCA) hanno permesso un confronto tra siti, dimostrando che i campioni provenienti da essi sono chiaramente distinguibili in base alla loro morfologia. Questo indica l’utilizzo di diverse varietà, il quale può essere dovuto a numerosi fattori. Le analisi statistiche della forma dei semi d’uva mostrano che i campioni archeologici sono confrontabili morfologicamente a quelli delle varietà moderne, suggerendone la descrizione come “fortemente addomesticati”. Tuttavia, non è stata trovata alcuna apparente corrispondenza con dei cultivar moderni. Ciò è in parte legato alla dimensione limitata della collezione di riferimento, ai secoli di storia che hanno avuto un impatto sulla diversità della vite e ai fattori tafonomici.

Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of a Phoenician site: archaeobotany at Motya (Sicily, Italy) / Moricca, Claudia. - (2021 Mar 16).

Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of a Phoenician site: archaeobotany at Motya (Sicily, Italy)

MORICCA, CLAUDIA
16/03/2021

Abstract

The present PhD thesis concerns the archaeobotanical analysis of materials found in the archaeological site of Motya, a small island (ca. 40 ha) located in the Stagnone di Marsala, a coastal lagoon of western Sicily. Due to its strategic, harbored position in the middle of the Mediterranean and the presence of fresh-water springs, the site was chosen by Phoenicians as a settlement in the 8th century BC until the siege of Motya in 397/6 BC. The study of macro-remains, retrieved using bucket flotation, focused on two closed contexts: a votive favissa found on the SW side of the Temple of Cappiddazzu (dedicated to Melqart/Herakles), and a big disposal pit in Area D, both dating between the 8th and the 6th century BC. In the latter context, palynological analyses were also performed. The study has yielded a wide set of data which allows to reconstruct different aspects of the human-environment interaction of Phoenicians at Motya. Concerning the ritual sphere, animal sacrifices were likely accompanied by ceremonial meals. A high concentration of officinal plants is probably correlated to the salvific aspects of Melqart at Motya. Interesting is the find of numerous plants toxic to livestock, which suggests their use to stun animals before sacrificing them. Remains referable to fruit (Vitis vinifera) and flower offerings (Verbena officinalis), as well as ornamental (Cupressus cf. sempervirens) plants are also attested. From the secular perspective, human diet was comprised of cereals (mostly naked wheat), pulses and fruits. Different-sized weeds (such as Lolium temulentum and Phalaris ssp.) and chaff remains, referable to different stages of crop processing, indicate that crop processing was carried out daily before consumption. This aspect is enriched by the find of cereal pollen, which suggests that threshing (if not even cultivation) was carried on site. Palynology also indicates an open environment, with little to no forest cover, characterized by complex anthropogenic activities. Anthracology suggests the presence of typical Mediterranean plant taxa. The presence of a stone pine nut and of Pinus pinea/pinaster in the pollen rain is noteworthy, suggesting the local occurrence of these Mediterranean pines outside their native distribution range. This represents the first such find in the central Mediterranean. Fossil evidence also allows a comparison of Motya’s past and present environment. The disappearance of Juniperus sp. and Erica arborea from the present-day surroundings of the Marsala lagoon appears to be related to land-overexploitation, aridification or on a combination of the two. Finally, the role of Phoenicians in the spread and trade of grapevine was investigated through morphometric analyses of the Vitis vinifera seeds retrieved from the disposal pit in Area D. These were compared to waterlogged samples from the western Mediterranean sites of Nuraghe S’Urachi (Sardinia, Italy) and Huelva (Spain), associated to Phoenician expansion and cultural interaction. Archaeobotanical samples were compared to ten chosen cultivars from the “Vivaio Federico Paulsen: Centro Regionale per la Conservazione della Biodiversità Agraria” in Marsala (western Sicily), selected as modern reference material. PCA analyses allowed an inter-site comparison, showing that samples from the three sites are clearly distinguishable based on their morphology. This indicates the use of different varieties which may be due to different factors. Statistical analyses of pip outlines show that archaeological material from these sites is morphologically comparable to that of modern varieties, suggesting that the archaeological finds may be described as “strongly domesticated”. Nonetheless, no apparent correspondence to modern cultivars was found. This is partly related to the limited size of the reference collection, to the centuries of history that have had an impact on grape diversity, and to taphonomic factors.
16-mar-2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1516325
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