Structure of the program
The core of the research program consists of three closely linked research projects, each requiring an experienced researcher. A detailed understanding of the soils, lithology and geochronology in their spatial context (W. van Gorp) must underlie the sampling, analysis and interpretation of the archaeobotanical record (M. Doorenbosch) and of the archaeological record of the Early to Middle Bronze Age (L. Alessandri). The interdisciplinary character of the program requires that the postdocs develop a joint detailed research plan, in which time is allowed to overcome terminological and methodological differences. They will also need to conduct at least two large joint fieldwork campaigns, since corings and test pits must produce the data required by all three subprojects. The data collected from the initial desktop studies and later on in the field will be managed in a project GIS environment hosted at the University of Groningen, and project publicity will be jointly maintained with the help of a student assistant. With regard to the postdoc archaeologist it should further be noted that the research program is crucially dependent on the establishment and maintenance of good collaborations with relevant Italian research groups, regional heritage management organizations, and local authorities. This postdoc will therefore spend a substantial part of his time locally on the logistic facilitation of the program.
After the startup phase the applicants’ role will be to supervise, at roughly monthly intervals, the running of the research program and to ensure that the timetable does not lapse. By the end of the second year the research team will have produced its primary technical reports detailing the pale-environmental, geological and archaeological data produced from fieldwork and in the laboratory; in the third year it will produce analytical papers based on these. During the final year of the program, the applicants will use these to synthesize the results of the research in the form of two large articles in high-impact journals (this will ensure speedy publication). This synthesis will for the first time provide a comprehensive view of the distal archaeological effects of such a large eruption.
Organization and embedding
The department of Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Groningen (RUG-KMA) has extensive experience with multidisciplinary research projects in Italy going back 15 years, and will host the geological and archaeological parts of the program, embedding them in the long-term Pontine Region umbrella project directed by the main applicant. The pollen and plant macroremains studies will be hosted at the new purpose-built paleoecology laboratory at the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University, under the supervision of prof C. C. Bakels and dr M. H. Field. This provides access to extensive reference collections for pollen, spores, seeds and fruits, and to experienced staff with an international reputation (Bakels et al. 2013; Sevink et al. 2013). Further specialist assistance, if needed, will be available from the applicants’ laboratories for ceramic and environmental studies at Leiden and Groningen Universities, and (for dating assistance) the Center for Isotope Studies at Groningen University.
For the flanking archeometric studies, contacts have already been made with laboratories in Modena, Rome and Naples. The preparation of petrographic thin sections will be conducted commercially and the analysis will take place at the Department for Chemistry and Geological Sciences of the University of Modena and the Institute for Volcanology and Geophysics at Naples for the tephrochronological aspects (supervisors: dr. S. Levi and dr. M. A. Di Vito). The bone/shell isotopic analyses and interpretations will be conducted in collaboration with the laboratory of the Institute for Volcanology and Geophysics at Naples (dr M. A. Di Vito).
Bakels, C., J. Sevink, W. Kuijper & H. Kamermans, 2015. The Agro Pontino region, refuge after the Early Bronze Age Avellino eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Italy?, Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 45, 55–68
Sevink, J., van der Plicht, J., Feiken, H., van Leusen, P.M. & Bakels, C.C., 2013. The Holocene of the Agro Pontino graben: recent advances in its palaeogeography, palaeoecology, and tephrostratigraphy. Quaternary International 303, 153-162