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Walking along the oldest human fossil pathway (Roccamonfina volcano, Central Italy)?

Panarello, A., Santello, L., Farinaro, G., Bennett, M. R. and Mietto, P., 2017. Walking along the oldest human fossil pathway (Roccamonfina volcano, Central Italy)? Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 13 (June), 476 - 490.

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Step3_JASREP_2017_51_Revision2.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.04.020


Here we report the remarkable superposition of a pre-historic trackway (349–350 ± 3 ka) with one used in more recent historical times, potentially forming one of the oldest path or trackways currently known. A Plinian eruption of the Roccamonfina Volcano resulted in a succession of pyroclastic flows. A combination of syn-sedimentary erosion and depositional morphology resulted in a bench, contouring the depositional slope. Prior to rapid lithification of the flow, early human ancestors used the bench as a route-way. At least two individuals diverted from this route-way to make the famous Trackways A and B of the Devil's Trails which have been described previously. The bench and associated animal tracks were covered by subsequent pyroclastic ash falls before being exhumed in historical times by a combination of natural erosion and quarrying. The bench was re-used as a route-way at this time and some of the tracks modified by human action to improve surface conditions and perhaps drainage. The P1-Trackway is the result and its detailed morphology is described here. Not only does it provide remarkable evidence of the convergence of route-ways through time along key geomorphological features in the landscape but the palimpsest of tracks provides a useful case study for archaeologists and ichnologists interpreting complex and superimposed surface traces.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Roccamonfina volcano; Devil's Trails; Ciampate del diavolo; Human footprints; Ichnology
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:29534
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 Jul 2017 10:55
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:06


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