Southern Alpine Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic landscapes

Author(s): Federica Fontana

Year: 2018


Thanks to the intense fieldwork carried out by different institutions since the 1970s, the south-eastern Alps represent one of the most detailed case-studies in Europe documenting the occupation of mountain areas by foraging groups. The known sites and find-spots attesting the Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic occupation of this area amount to several hundred. This evidence shows that foraging groups settled in the Southern Alpine region following the melting of glaciers and the re-colonization of mountain slopes by vegetation and fauna during the Lateglacial starting around 17.000 years cal. BC. As environmental conditions became more favorable human occupation intensified. At the same time seasonal displacements towards alpine pastures reached progressively higher altitudes. In the early Holocene Mesolithic hunter-gatherers are attested along the belt of territory spanning between 1,900 and 2,300 m a.s.l. Although most of the currently available archeological evidence consists of lithic scatters the development of multi-disciplinary studies has allowed the reconstruction of a thorough frame-work. Despite the need for a higher investment of energies - both in biological and technological terms – the upland environments of the Southern Alps have represented an ideal opportunity for the last hunter-gatherers-fishers of the Italian peninsula allowing expansion to newly exploitable territories.

Cite this Record

Southern Alpine Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic landscapes. Federica Fontana. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444415)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -13.711; min lat: 35.747 ; max long: 8.965; max lat: 59.086 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21958