Summer Farms - Seasonal Exploitation of the Uplands from Prehistory to the Present - John R. Collis

Summer Farms - Seasonal Exploitation of the Uplands from Prehistory to the Present - John R. Collis

Pastoral land use and climate between the 17th and 19th century in the Italian Southern Alps (Pasubio massif, Trento): a preliminary report

Summer Farms - Seasonal Exploitation of the Uplands from Prehistory to the Present - John R. Collis

John R. Collis [+-]
University of Sheffield
John Collis is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Marco Avanzini
Museo delle Scienze, Trento
Isabella Salvador
Museo delle Scienze, Trento

Description

Upland population levels are strongly correlated to environmental dynamics such as morphology, exposure and climate. A temperature fall leads to a shortening of the plant growth season, which can lead to lower pasture productivity hence shorter periods spent by the livestock in the mountains. The aim of this research is to correlate natural climate constraints with variations in post-medieval human settlements of the Pasubio plateau, located between 1500 and 1800m, in the Italian southern Alps (Trento). A survey of a 630ha area has identified the remnants of 145 structures used for milk processing, which date from the 17th to the 19th century. A ‘building density curve’, grouped into fifty year intervals, shows oscillations over time. The high population density that characterises the first half of the 17th century is followed by an almost total abandonment of pastures in the second half of the century. Dairyman-shepherds returned to the high pastures only after the mid-18th century. The correlation of this trend with climatic oscillations in the same area derived from speleothems, reveals that the decrease in highland exploitation between 1650 and 1750 was linked to the Maunder temperature fall. The subsequent temperature rise corresponds to the resettlement of the highland pastures.

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Citation

Collis, John; Avanzini, Marco Avanzini; Salvador, Isabella . Pastoral land use and climate between the 17th and 19th century in the Italian Southern Alps (Pasubio massif, Trento): a preliminary report. Summer Farms - Seasonal Exploitation of the Uplands from Prehistory to the Present. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 138-153 Aug 2016. ISBN 9780906090565. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=28011. Date accessed: 14 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.28011. Aug 2016

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