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Debris flow burial of ancient wall system in the Upper Po River valley

Abstract : The regrouping area, where Hannibal is thought to have reformed his army after forging a path through a massive rockfall in the Cottian Alps, has been reshaped by a blanket of sediment deposited from debris flows following heavy rain in spring, 2008. Analysis of precipitation data for the period mid-May to mid-June, 2008, shows that 722 mm of rain fell at 2150 m, falling off to half that amount at 3325 m on the flanks of Mon Viso. Following exhaustive analysis of environmental factors connected with the invasion of Italy at the start of the Second Punic War (218 bc), identification of the regrouping area for the Carthaginian Army centred on the presence of an ancient stone wall system which possibly dates from Hannibalic times. Lichen cover, lichen diameters, weathering characteristics, degree to which boulders had sunk into the resident soil, and presence of ancient hearths all combined to make this area a choice locale for reconstructive geoarchaeology. Large scale mass wasting off a prominent bedrock bar adjacent to the wall system in the Upper Po River Valley resulted in burial of most of the prominent wall structures which will complicate any exploration geoarchaeology attempts in future.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 10:55:08 AM
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W. C. Mahaney, P. Tricart, R. W. Barendregt, C. Carcaillet, D. Rabufetti, et al.. Debris flow burial of ancient wall system in the Upper Po River valley. Geology Today, Wiley, 2010, 26 (6), pp.209-215. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-2451.2010.00768.x⟩. ⟨insu-00649551⟩



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