Geoarchaeology and quaternary geology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course consists of two units that intend to train graduating students in the fields of Geoarchaeology and Quaternary Geology, providing them with the necessary cultural and technical basis to carry out research and professional activities in archaeological projects and in the reconstruction of climatic variations in the Quaternary
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to identify the best techniques to deal with survey and archaeological excavation, as well as being able to describe a stratigraphic sequence and to sample it correctly for dating and laboratory analysis. Moreover, they will acquire competence about natural and anthropogenic climate changes during the Quaternary period.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
In this case, various teaching materials will be provided that can be used online.
Prerequisites for admission
Basics in Earth Sciences and Archaeology
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral examination
Course syllabus
The last period of the Cenozoic, Quaternary registry office: Holocene, Pleistocene, the Gelasian problem.
The proxies, evidence to reconstruct the climate of the past
The climate system (the energy balance, atmospheric circulation, ocean circulation). Greenhouse gases: feedback mechanisms.
The ice age, the origins (Venetz etc) Penck and Brukner the quadripartite glaciations. The glaciation in central and northern Europe. the glaciation in northern america.
Stories of our house: aspects of geology of the Quaternary of the southern edge of the Alps and in the Po Valley (, Adda, Bagaggera, Leffe, Garda, Tarcento, beyond the Po. The Apennine margin.

Variations of terrestrial orbital parameters: the causes of climatic variations according to the croll-millankovich theory.
oceanic cores for the reconstruction of climate change in the late Cenozoic era, the role of stable oxygen isotopes. The main perforations: climate change from 2 million years ago.
Ice core drilling, the role of greenhouse gases, Arctic and Antarctic core drilling, main drilling, long sequences-
The last glacial interglacial cycle. Stratigraphic series of Northern Europe. The Palinological study of the Grande Pile, Teachings from the Arctic ice cores. Heinrich events, Oescher - Dansgaard cycles

Climate change in non-glacial areas. The periglacial, the filling of shelters and cavities, the loess, the loess in Italy. Swings of the Aeolianite coast line. Arid areas, subtropical deserts

Climate changes of holocene, classification of Blitt and SEnander, sunspots and cosmogenic isotopes, volcanic eruptions. subtropical deserts, the oscillations of glaciers and alpine lakes, the little glacial age

Climate and civilization, relationships between climate crises and anthropic cultures.
The anthropocene: the climate change of the last millennium
The measurement of time Traditional sources for measuring time - Incremental techniques (dendrochronology, lichenometry, limnology); radiometric techniques (Radiocarbon, Isotopes of Uranium, Thermoluminescence, Optically Stimulated Luminescence, Cosmogenic Isotopes). Paleomagnetism.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
Slides and books on specific topics
Course syllabus
An history of Geoarchaeology
The Archaeological research in the field: the stratigraphic excavation, the survey.

The tools of the geoarchaeology: soils, continental deposits, landscapes in environmental archaeology. Geognostic in geoarchaeology, survey, aerial photographs, remote sensing, core drilling, test pits,

Site forming processes: laboratory analyses, grain size, routine chimica analyses, soil micromorphology for an archaeological context

Dating the evidence: typological sequence for lithics and pottery. Incremetal and radiometric methods.

Geoarchaeology and Archeological research

Earth Sciences and the interpretation of the archaeological record. Evidence of human activities in the geological record: syndepositional and postdepositional processes. Geoarchaeology and the history of the human impact on the environment.

Geoarchaeology of the archeological sites
Poorly preseved sites: sites in which postpedositional processes dominated: Palaeolithic sites in the loes of Northern Italy. The Mesolithic sites of the Tosco-emilian Appennines.

Well preserved archives: Geoarchaeology of the sedimentary fills in late Pleistocene caves and rock shelters at middle latitudes.

Villages and proto-urban centres built up in wood. Geoarchoeology of pile-dwellings and terramare

The towns . Archaeological urban centres: The tells of the Near East. Geoarcheology ed Urban Archaeology: Archaeological heritage of the cities along via Aemilia.

Geoarcheology of the soil use.
Deforestation and early agricolture (case studies from the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic in the Po plain)
Geoarcheology of over exploitation (agricultural practices and irrigation in Mesopotamia ed in the Po plain during the Bronze age)
Geoarchaeology of Pastoralism (The case study of the Holocene sediments in caves and rock-shelters)
Geoarcheologia of arid zones
Climatic changes and strategies of adaptation. Oasis and caravan routes.

Consequence of the human impact on landscape development, the relationship between human activities and climate change, historical and archaeological perspectives

Archaeometric and geoarchaeological aspect of identification of the source of raw material used during Antiquity.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
Slides and books on specific topics
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Zerboni Andrea
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Cremaschi Mauro
Mon-Fri, 9-11.
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra "Ardito Desio", Via L. Mangiagalli 34, 20133 Milano