Around 1995 BC, during the Early Bronze Age, a giant eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried a flourishing landscape of villages and fields in the plains to the north and east of the volcano under more than a meter of ash. Inhabitants of Campanian sites such as Nola (‘the Bronze Age Pompeii’) barely escaped with their lives.
Italian archaeological research since the 1980s has already shown that the population of the Campanian plain did not fully recover for several centuries after this so-called ‘Avellino Event’, but no one has yet wondered where the substantial Early Bronze Age population of Campania could have sought refuge, or what impacts it would have had there.
GIA researchers dr. Martijn van Leusen and Prof. Peter Attema received € 750,000 from NWO (to carry out an interdisciplinary study into the cultural and demographic impacts of the disastrous event. Their hypothesis is that given the topography of central-southern Italy, the most likely refuge area will have been to the north, in the coastal zone of what is now South Lazio. Here, two wetland coastal plains – the Fondi basin and the Agro Pontino – could have provided the space and resources to absorb the fleeing population.
This research program starts on June 1, 2015 and will run for four years. The research team will be hosted at the Groningen Institute of Archaeology and the
Archaeobotany department of the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.
Scientific advisory committee:
Prof Dr. Jan Sevink (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam; associate member of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology)
Prof Dr. Corrie C. Bakels (Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University)
Dr. Mauro A. Di Vito (National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology at Napels)
Prof Dr. Ir. J. van der Plicht (Center for Isotope Research, University of Groningen)
Prof Dr. René T.J. Cappers (Groningen Institute of Archaeology and Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University)