Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Stravers, Jay A.||Kolb, Michael J.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences


Sicily (Italy)--Civilization; Greeks--Colonization--Italy--Sicily; Phoenicians--Colonization--Italy--Sicily; Romans--Colonization--Italy--Sicily; Bronze age--Italy--Sicily; Iron age--Italy--Sicily


This geoarchaeological research presents the first Quaternary stratigraphic and geomorphologic data for the Chuddia River Valley, western Sicily. This research defines important landscape-sediment assemblages that provide information concerning landscape evolution during a critical cultural period in Sicily, the Late Bronze Age (1100 BC) to Early Iron Age (900 BC). This research also provides vital information (of Holocene landscape reactions) that may be used to predict future landscape reactions as a product of specific climatic and tectonic processes. The Chuddia River Valley (230 m a.s.l.) is bound by two archaeologically significant mountains, Montagna Grande (750 m a.s.l.) to the north and Monte Polizzo (700 m a.s.l.) to the south. Montagna Grande is structurally complex and composed predominantly of Calcarenite (Scaglia Fm., 68–31 Ma). Clast-supported alluvial debris-flow fans generated from the eroded sediments of Montagna Grande create basal pediments. Four alluvial fans were stratigraphically defined on Montagna Grande: the Verme, Ardigna, Armata, and Lentini. The Armata Fan contains a well-developed paleosol, including an A-horizon (7786 to 8033 cal. yrs BP), indicating a locally stabilized landscape prior to Neolithic settlement of the area. The Lentini Fan contains a complex geological and archaeological sequence. A younger organic-rich channel has scoured and deposited angular limestone particles in a series of eight stacked channels. These eight channels contain diagnostic artifacts including equine skeletal fragments and fossil land snail shells. These data suggest that landscape destabilization began shortly before, 7113 to 7294 cal. yrs BP. Monte Polizzo is dominated by a thick conglomeratic succession (Terravecchia Fm., 11–6 Ma). Twenty-five stratigraphic sections along the banks of the Chuddia River show a well-preserved record of fluvial sedimentation, including diagnostic artifacts and depositional interactions with the adjacent alluvial fans of Montanga Grande. Chronologic data from radiocarbon analysis of charcoal and diagnostic artifacts from within these sediments indicate three primary periods of sedimentation within the valley, 2340 to 2491 cal. yrs. BP, 1298 to 1429 cal. yrs. BP, and 646 to 735 cal. yrs. BP. These sedimentation periods correlate well with major periods of anthropogenic occupation within the Chuddia River Valley suggesting human-induced landscape changes.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [122]-135).


xii, 155 pages (some color pages), maps (some color pages)




Northern Illinois University

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