Site - The Case Studies

SITES - The case studies

Banyoles Lake (Spain)

Bolsena Lake (Italy)

Mezzano Lake (Italy)

Banyoles is the largest and deepest lake of karstic-tectonic origin in the Iberian Peninsula. The lake comprises several circular sub-basins characterized by different oxygenation conditions at their hypolimnions. The study of laminated sediments deposition during the second half of the 20th century has revealed water eutrophication caused by the farming activities. The increase in organic matter consequence of the intensification of human impact, and warmer water temperatures. The Neolithic site of La Draga is located in the central part of the eastern shore of Lake at 170 m asl. Nowadays the site is partially submerged, but the most extensive area is on the mainland although the archaeological levels have remained on the water table since the Neolithic, favoring the conservation of organic matter. The total area of the site is estimated between 15,000 and 20,000 m² in total, until now a surface of 970 m² have been excavated. La Draga was occupied uninterruptedly during a period of more than three hundred years, between 5361-5223 cal aC and 5000-4796 cal aC (Palomo et al. 2014). According to this chronology, the site of La Draga corresponds to one of the earliest agrarian settlements in the Northeastern Iberian Peninsula. The exceptional conservation of organic matter has allowed the recovery wood samples makes La Draga an unique case in the Iberian Peninsula, as well as context of European prehistory. Hundreds of pillars, beams and planks were used for the construction of cabins and a hundred of other types of wooden tools related to the daily life have been recovered (Palomo et al. 2013).

The lakes of Bolsena and Mezzano are located in Central Italy, in the province of Viterbo. The lake of Bolsena from the Vulsinic apparatus has the greatest volume of water (9.2 km³) of all peninsular Italian lakes. It is also the largest Italian lake of volcanic origin. About 22,000 people live in the watershed, whereas in the summer the population reaches 35,000. Another risk for the cultural heritage is the pollution and the fertilisers coming from agricultural runoff with a big amount of N and P. Water renewal has been estimated to about 120 years. The village Gran Carro lies at a depth of 4 – 5 m, about 100 m off the east coast of lake of Bolsena (42°35’N 11°59’E). It seems that the village belongs to two different epochs. The former is dated from the Iron-Bronze Age, whereas the residential area, located farther south, consists of the remains of a Villanovan village dating back to the 9th century B.C. More than 400 wooden poles are pounded at the lake’s bottom, in most cases almost completely buried under sediments. Preliminary analysis on the poles have showed a different state of wood conservation from quite sound wood to a very degraded (Romagnoli et al., 2018). Lago of Mezzano is in the same area it is 800 m wide and 31 m deep. In Mezzano there are also issues with eutrophication (Sadori et al., 2004). Through the analysis of pollen and metal residues, it has been possible to date the discovered pile dwellings to the Early Bronze Age. There are traces of human dwelling for at least two centuries, from about 3700 to 3500 cal. years BP.

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