The 346 A.D. earthquake( Central-Southern Italy): an archaeoseismological approach

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F. Galadini
P. Galli


The 346 A.D. earthquake is known through sparse historical sources. It is mentioned by Hyeronimus as felt in Rome and responsible for damage in the ancient Campania Province. Four epigraphs report the earthquake as the cause for the restorations of buildings at Aesernia-Isernia, Allifae-Alife, Telesia-Telese and Saepinum-Sepino. On this basis, an area possibly struck by the earthquake was already defined in the literature. Another
seventeen epigraphs mentioning restoration or re-building of edifices in localities of central-southern Italy (without explicitly referring to the earthquake as the cause of the damage) are possibly related to the earthquake effects. We tried to enhance our knowledge on the 346 earthquake through archaeoseismological analyses. The investigation has benefited from specific fieldwork during archaeological excavations and a critical review of the available archaeological literature. However, a correct archaeoseismological interpretation is hindered by the occurrence of two earthquakes (346 and 375 A.D.) in a short time span and in adjacent areas (whose effects may be archaeo-chronologically undistinguishable) and the not always univocal evidence of the seismic origin of the detected collapses or restoration of structures. For this reason we propose a representation of the 346 A.D. effects
through two extreme pictures: 1) the localities for which conclusive data on the earthquake effects are available and 2) the data of point 1 plus the localities for which archaeoseismological data consistent with the earthquake are available. The latter view defines an area of possible damage related to the 346 event larger than that previously known. In particular, the earthquake damage may result from a seismic sequence similar to that, which struck a part of the central and the southern Apennines in 1456, or from an event comparable to that which occurred in 1805, responsible for widespread damage in the northern sector of the southern Apennines.

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How to Cite
Galadini, F. and Galli, P. (2004) “The 346 A.D. earthquake( Central-Southern Italy): an archaeoseismological approach”, Annals of Geophysics, 47(2-3). doi: 10.4401/ag-3341.

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