Volcanic events that have marked the anthropic history of the Aeolian Islands

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Marco Manni
Mauro Coltelli
Maria Clara Martinelli


Archaeological and historical studies, conducted since 1950, allow us to trace a hypothetical demographic framework in which three crises attributed by scholars to unfavourable social-economic situations or to war aggression, can be observed. The comparison with volcanological studies highlights the occurrence during the crisis of volcanic events that can affect the local anthropic history. 

The first crisis occurred in 4th millennium BC involved all the Aeolian Islands and in particular Contrada Diana the main Neolithic site of Lipari. During the Diana Spatarella facies are documented the reduction of the coastal settlement of Contrada Diana, the choice to inhabit the Rocca del Castello, and the settlements development on areas protected from the volcanic activity. These facts support the hypothesis that Contrada Diana could be exposed to the effects of the tsunami waves caused by Sciara del Fuoco collapse of Stromboli, and indirectly to the eruptions of Gran Cratere of Vulcano that also caused problems to the sailors travelling from mainland to Lipari and back.

The second crisis located between 9th and 6th century BC could be similarly caused by the effects of the strong eruptive phase occurred 2.9 ka at Vulcano and the tsunami produced by another sector collapse occurred at the end of the Neostromboli. As during the first crisis, even the navigation from mainland to Lipari will have been involved making difficult this destination.

The third crisis is happened in the historical period between 6th and 11th century with a possible peak during the eruption of Monte Pilato occurred in 776 AD in the NE sector of the Lipari.


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How to Cite
Manni, M., Coltelli, M. and Martinelli, M. C. (2019) “Volcanic events that have marked the anthropic history of the Aeolian Islands”, Annals of Geophysics, 62(1), p. VO08. doi: 10.4401/ag-7716.
Special Issue: Explosive Eruptions and the Mediterranean Civilizations through Prehistory and History

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