Archaeological investigations in the Torre Spaccata valley (Rome): human interaction with the recent activity of the Albano Maar
P. Gioia, A. Arnoldus-Huyzendveld, A. Celant, C. Rosa, R. Volpe, 2010. "Archaeological investigations in the Torre Spaccata valley (Rome): human interaction with the recent activity of the Albano Maar", The Colli Albani Volcano, R. Funiciello, G. Giordano
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The Torre Spaccata valley, situated in the southeastern suburbs of Rome, was investigated between 1997 and 1998 and again in 2006. It lies about 15 km from the Colli Albani volcanic complex, the recent evolution of which incorporates deposition of the volcanic-sedimentary sequence of the Tavolato Formation (including the Albano lahar deposits). During the excavations, a limited strip of lahar was uncovered and dated archaeologically to the fourth century BCE. Other main features include several intercrossing channels with a sandy-pebbly fill, evidence of intermittent hydrological activity. In this area there is evidence of a prolonged interaction through time between human activity and the valley’s varying environments. The prehistoric evidence (third to second millennium BCE) is well documented in a concentration of sites on the eastern outskirts of Rome. The prehistoric evidence (third to second millennium BCE) has a good context in the concentration of sites in the eastern outskirts of Rome. Other reliable traces date to the fourth to third century BCE, soon after local lahar deposition. During the Late Republican and Imperial period, the hilltops were occupied by a dense system of villae. Later remains provide evidence for agricultural use of the valley floor during the Middle Ages.
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The Colli Albani volcano (also Alban Hills volcano) is the large quiescent volcanic field that dominates the Roman skyline. The Colli Albani is one of the most explosive mafic calderas in the world, associated with intermediate to large volume ignimbrites. At present it shows signs of unrest, including periodic seismic swarms, ground uplift and intense diffuse degassing, which are the main short-term hazards. New studies have discovered deposits related to previously unknown pre-Holocene and Holocene volcanic and phreatic activity. In the fourth Century B.C.E. Roman engineers excavated a tunnel through the Albano maar crater wall to keep the lake from breaching the rim and flooding the surrounding countryside, events that had previously destroyed this region several times.
The Colli Albani Volcano contains 21 scientific contributions on stratigraphy, volcanotectonics, geochronology, petrography and geochemistry, hydrogeology, volcanic hazards, geophysics and archaeology, and a new 1:50 000 scale geological map of the volcano. The proximity to Rome and the interconnection between volcanic and human history also make this volcano of interest for both specialists and non-specialists.