Geology and geophysics at the archeological park of Vulci (central Italy)

Marco Marchetti, Vincenzo Sapia, Adriano Garello, Donatella De Rita, Alessandra Venuti


The Vulci archeological site was object of interest by the Soprintendenza ai beni culturali dell’Etruria meridionale (Italian government department responsible for southern Etruria’s cultural heritage) since the beginning of the 20th century. In 2001, the Ministero dei Beni Culturali (Italian ministry of cultural heritage) along with the local authorities, opened a natural-archeological park. In this area, it lies most of the ancient Etruscan city of Velch (today known by its Latin name, Vulci) including the Osteria Necropolis that is the object of this study. Recently, new archaeological excavations were made and the local authorities needed major geological information about the volcanic lithotypes where the Etruscans used to build their necropolis. The aim of this study is to define the geological and geophysical characteristics of the rock lithotypes present in the Vulci park. For this purpose, a geological map of the area (1:10000) has been realized. Moreover, two different geophysical methods were applied: measurements of magnetic susceptibility and electrical resistivity tomography. Magnetic susceptibility analyses clearly identify magnetic contrasts between different lithotypes; the characteristics of the pyroclastic flow that originated the Sorano unit 2 and its vertical facies variations are well recorded by this parameter that along with lithostratigraphic observations provides information about the depositional conditions. Two electrical resistivity tomographies were performed, which show the Sorano unit 2 thickness to be of c. 7 m with resistivity values ranging from 200 to 400 Ω·m. This kind of multidisciplinary approach resulted to be suitable to study this type of archaeological sites, revealing that areas characterized by a relevant thickness and wide areal extension of volcanic lithotypes can be a potential site where Etruscans might have excavated their necropolis.


Vulci Archeological Park; Geological survey; Electrical resistivity tomography; Magnetic susceptibility

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X