image/svg+xml169 IX/2/2018 INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICA NATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGY homepage: http://www.iansa.eu Charcoal Kilns in the Northern Apennines (Italy): Forest Exploitation by Past Societies in Mountain Areas Alessandra Benatti a,b* , Marie Bal a , Philippe Allée a , Giovanna Bosi b , Daniele Dallai c , Anna Maria Mercuri b a Geolab UMR 6042 CNRS, Department of Geography, University of Limoges, 39E rue Camille Guérin, 87036, Limoges, France b Laboratory of Palynology and Palaeobotany, Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Viale Caduti in Guerra 127, 41121 Modena, Italy c Botanical Garden, Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Viale Caduti in Guerra 127, 41121 Modena, Italy 1. Introduction The current structure and characteristics of mountain beech forests in Italy are the results of long-term human-forest relationships that developed over centuries (Savoia, 1984; Nocentini, 2009). While in Italy today coppice and high forest management are found almost equally, in the Emilia-Romagna region, North Italy, it is coppice that prevails (about 80%), located mainly in its mountain areas (Regione Emilia-Romagna, 1983). The main reason for this situation has been the past charcoal production, recognizable by the bushy form of the trees due to their suckers and by the presence of abandoned man-made platforms within the undergrowth, places where ancient human societies had transformed the wood into charcoal.Charcoal platforms are considered real archaeological sites and the anthracological study of the charcoal fragments contained in their substrate is able to provide information on the previous forest composition and on the history of forest exploitation and management practice.Early studies about charcoal platforms were conducted in the Pyrenees (Davasse, 1992; 2000; Bonhôte et al ., 2002). More recently, charcoal kiln studies have spread throughout Europe, particularly in Germany ( e.g. Nelle, 2003; Pèlachs et al. , 2009; Ludemann, 2010; Paradis-Grenouillet, 2012; Deforce et al. , 2013; Knapp et al. , 2013; Rouaud, 2013; Tolksdorf et al. , 2015).In Italy, charcoal kiln studies have been few, anthracological analysis on charcoal platforms having been carried out in the Ligurian Apennines (Montanari et al ., 2000; Cevasco and Parola, 2013; Pescini et al ., 2017). Other researches have focused on the census of charcoal platforms in Tuscany, Central Italy (Carrari et al ., 2017). This article presents the frst anthracological analysis applied to charcoal platforms found in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines at high altitude, specifcally in the abandoned Volume IX ● Issue 2/2018 ● Pages 169 –178 *Corresponding author. E-mail: aleben87@yahoo.it ARTICLE INFO Article history: Received: 2 nd July 2018Accepted: 30 th December 2018 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.24916/iansa.2018.2.4 Key words: anthracologyTuscan-Emilian Apennineshigh elevationethnographic researchhistorical-social elements ABSTRACT Anthracological analyses were carried out on charcoal platforms located in the Monte Cimone and Corno alle Scale mountain areas in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines (Northern Italy), at high altitude. Analyses of charcoal fragments contained in these man-made structures have allowed the reconstruction of human-forest relationships over the last centuries, in particular the exploitation of forests for charcoal production. Comparison of our anthracological results with ethnobotanical and historical-social information has made possible an improvement in our knowledge of this activity that was fundamental for the past mountain economy.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2018 ● IX/2 ● 169–178 Alessandra Benatti, Marie Bal, Philippe Allée, Giovanna Bosi, Daniele Dallai, Anna Maria Mercuri: Charcoal Kilns in the Northern Apennines (Italy): Forest Exploitation by Past Societies in Mountain Areas 170 coppice beech forests of Monte Cimone and Corno alle Scale mountain areas, close to the timberline (Figure 1). The objective of the research is to obtain information about the exploitation of forest resources and on the organization of the territory by past societies, as well as the possible role of the charcoal production activity on the position of the timberline. 2. Study area The studied charcoal platforms are located close to the timberline (between 1500 and 1700 m asl) in abandoned coppice beech forest, in the mountain belt. In particular, they are located on the northwest slope of Monte Cimone, on the west slope of Monte Corno alle Scale and on its southern side (the southwest slope of Monte Cornaccio) (Figure 2). The study area borders two climatic regions: Continental Europe to the north and Mediterranean region to the south (Colombo et al ., 2000). Mean annual temperature is about 2°C and mean annual precipitation ranges from 693.3 mm (registered at the Monte Cimone meteorological station) to 2500 mm (registered in the other mountain stations at lower elevations) (Şerban et al ., 2007; Alessandrini et al ., 2010). The fresh and humid climatic conditions with the