CLAUDIA MORICCA

PhD

PhD program:: XXXIII


tutor: Prof. Laura Sadori
advisor: Prof. Lorenzo Nigro

Thesis title: PALAEOENVIRONMENTAL RECONSTRUCTION OF A PHOENICIAN SITE: ARCHAEOBOTANY AT MOTYA (SICILY, ITALY)

The present PhD thesis concerns the archaeobotanical analysis of materials found in the archaeological site of Motya, a small island (ca. 40 ha) located in the Stagnone di Marsala, a coastal lagoon of western Sicily. Due to its strategic, harbored position in the middle of the Mediterranean and the presence of fresh-water springs, the site was chosen by Phoenicians as a settlement in the 8th century BC until the siege of Motya in 397/6 BC. The study of macro-remains, retrieved using bucket flotation, focused on two closed contexts: a votive favissa found on the SW side of the Temple of Cappiddazzu (dedicated to Melqart/Herakles), and a big disposal pit in Area D, both dating between the 8th and the 6th century BC. In the latter context, palynological analyses were also performed. The study has yielded a wide set of data which allows to reconstruct different aspects of the human-environment interaction of Phoenicians at Motya. Concerning the ritual sphere, animal sacrifices were likely accompanied by ceremonial meals. A high concentration of officinal plants is probably correlated to the salvific aspects of Melqart at Motya. Interesting is the find of numerous plants toxic to livestock, which suggests their use to stun animals before sacrificing them. Remains referable to fruit (Vitis vinifera) and flower offerings (Verbena officinalis), as well as ornamental (Cupressus cf. sempervirens) plants are also attested. From the secular perspective, human diet was comprised of cereals (mostly naked wheat), pulses and fruits. Different-sized weeds (such as Lolium temulentum and Phalaris ssp.) and chaff remains, referable to different stages of crop processing, indicate that crop processing was carried out daily before consumption. This aspect is enriched by the find of cereal pollen, which suggests that threshing (if not even cultivation) was carried on site. Palynology also indicates an open environment, with little to no forest cover, characterized by complex anthropogenic activities. Anthracology suggests the presence of typical Mediterranean plant taxa. The presence of a stone pine nut and of Pinus pinea/pinaster in the pollen rain is noteworthy, suggesting the local occurrence of these Mediterranean pines outside their native distribution range. This represents the first such find in the central Mediterranean. Fossil evidence also allows a comparison of Motya’s past and present environment. The disappearance of Juniperus sp. and Erica arborea from the present-day surroundings of the Marsala lagoon appears to be related to land-overexploitation, aridification or on a combination of the two. Finally, the role of Phoenicians in the spread and trade of grapevine was investigated through morphometric analyses of the Vitis vinifera seeds retrieved from the disposal pit in Area D. These were compared to waterlogged samples from the western Mediterranean sites of Nuraghe S’Urachi (Sardinia, Italy) and Huelva (Spain), associated to Phoenician expansion and cultural interaction. Archaeobotanical samples were compared to ten chosen cultivars from the “Vivaio Federico Paulsen: Centro Regionale per la Conservazione della Biodiversit  Agraria” in Marsala (western Sicily), selected as modern reference material. PCA analyses allowed an inter-site comparison, showing that samples from the three sites are clearly distinguishable based on their morphology. This indicates the use of different varieties which may be due to different factors. Statistical analyses of pip outlines show that archaeological material from these sites is morphologically comparable to that of modern varieties, suggesting that the archaeological finds may be described as “strongly domesticated”. Nonetheless, no apparent correspondence to modern cultivars was found. This is partly related to the limited size of the reference collection, to the centuries of history that have had an impact on grape diversity, and to taphonomic factors.

Research products

  • 11573/1087534 - 2018 - Archaeobotanical analysis of a pit in Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; SADORI, LAURA; MASI, ALESSIA; BARELLI, LIA; PUGLIESE, RAFFAELE
  • 11573/1095996 - 2016 - Material characterization of a Florentine painter in Portugal in the late 19th century: paintings by Giorgio Marini (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA
  • 11573/1162288 - 2018 - CARPOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE SANTI QUATTRO CORONATI PIT (ROME, ITALY) (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; SADORI, LAURA; MASI, ALESSIA; BARELLI, LIA; PUGLIESE, RAFFAELE
  • 11573/1212793 - 2018 - Early Arrival of New World Species Enriching the Biological Assemblage of the Santi Quattro Coronati Complex (Rome, Italy) (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; ALHAIQUE, FRANCESCA; BARELLI, LIA; MASI, ALESSIA; PUGLIESE, RAFFAELE; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/867617 - 2016 - The influence of environmental parameters in the biocolonization of the Mithraeum in the roman masonry of casa di Diana (Ostia Antica, Italy) (01a Articolo in rivista)
    SCATIGNO, CLAUDIA; MORICCA, CLAUDIA; TORTOLINI, CRISTINA; FAVERO, GABRIELE
  • 11573/1280174 - 2019 - Archaeobotany at Motya (Italy) (04b Atto di convegno in volume)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1280199 - 2019 - Botany meets archaeology: archaeobotany at Motya (Italy) (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1335970 - 2019 - Archaeobotanic investigations at the Phoenician site of Motya (Sicily, Italy) (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1335966 - 2019 - Elite food between the late Middle Ages and Renaissance: some case studies from Latium (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    ALHAIQUE, FRANCESCA; MORICCA, CLAUDIA; BARELLI, LIA; MASI, ALESSIA; SADORI, LAURA; BRANCAZI, LUCA
  • 11573/1373078 - 2020 - ARCHAEOBOTANICAL ANALYSIS OF A PHOENICIAN DISPOSAL PIT: A TOOL TO RECONSTRUCT PAST LANDSCAPE (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; CAPPELLA, FEDERICO; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1438182 - 2020 - Food and weed plants in sacred and secular contexts: archaeobotany at the Phoenician – Punic site of Motya (Sicily, Italy) (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; CAPPELLA, FEDERICO; SABATINI, SHARON; SPAGNOLI, FEDERICA; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1433075 - 2020 - The dwarf palm tree of the king. A Nannorrhops ritchiana in the 24th-23rd century BC palace of Jericho (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; GALLO, ELISABETTA; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1466198 - 2020 - Plant assemblage of the Phoenician sacrificial pit by the Temple of Melqart/Herakles (Motya, Sicily, Italy) (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; SPAGNOLI, FEDERICA; SABATINI, SHARON; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1480745 - 2020 - Investigating the relationship between Phoenicians and wine through geometric morphometry (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; SPAGNOLI, FEDERICA; PENA CHOCARRO, MARIA LEONOR; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1474528 - 2021 - Elite food between the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Some case studies from Latium (01a Articolo in rivista)
    ALHAIQUE, FRANCESCA; MORICCA, CLAUDIA; BARELLI, LIA; MASI, ALESSIA; SADORI, LAURA; BRANCAZI, LUCA
  • 11573/1516325 - 2021 - Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of a Phoenician site: archaeobotany at Motya (Sicily, Italy) (07a Tesi di Dottorato)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA
  • 11573/1540803 - 2021 - Grapes and vines of the Phoenicians: morphometric analyses of pips from modern varieties and Iron Age archaeological sites in the Western Mediterranean (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; SPAGNOLI, FEDERICA; PENA CHOCARRO, MARIA LEONOR; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1568141 - 2021 - Sacred and secular aspects of Phoenicians' life at Motya (Sicily, Italy) inferred by multidisciplinary archaeobotanical analyses (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA
  • 11573/1549947 - 2021 - Cultural landscape and plant use at the Phoenician site of Motya (Western Sicily, Italy) inferred from a disposal pit (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; MASCI, LUCREZIA; CAPPELLA, FEDERICO; SPAGNOLI, FEDERICA; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1568143 - 2021 - New species from the New World: early archaeobotanical and archaeozoological evidence from the Santi Quattro Coronati complex in Rome (Italy) (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; ALHAIQUE, FRANCESCA; BARELLI, LIA; MASI, ALESSIA; PUGLIESE, RAFFAELE; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1568145 - 2021 - Beech and stone Pine, the Italian landscape modelled by valuable ritual trees (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MASI, ALESSIA; GAVERIAUX, FANNY; MASCI, LUCREZIA; MORICCA, CLAUDIA; VIGNOLA, CRISTIANO; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1566324 - 2019 - Humans and environments as Cultural Heritage. Bioarchaeological case studies from Latium (04b Atto di convegno in volume)
    MASI, ALESSIA; TAFURI, MARY ANNE; BUZI, COSTANTINO; DI VINCENZO, FABIO; GAVERIAUX, FANNY; MICARELLI, ILEANA; MORICCA, CLAUDIA; VIGNOLA, CRISTIANO; SADORI, LAURA; MANZI, GIORGIO
  • 11573/1648759 - 2022 - Motya through the millenia: Analyzing Phoenician impact on the local vegetation (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; SPAGNOLI, FEDERICA; CAPPELLA, FEDERICO; FERRANTE, NINA; SABATINI, SHARON; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1648743 - 2022 - Study and Analysis of Plant remains from the tomb of Tutankhamun (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    HAMZA, NAGMELDEEN MORSHED AHMED MORSHED; MORICCA, CLAUDIA; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1648751 - 2022 - Nannorrhops ritchiana: the dwarf palm tree of the king in the 24th-23rd century BC palace of Jericho (04d Abstract in atti di convegno)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA; NIGRO, LORENZO; GALLO, ELISABETTA; SADORI, LAURA
  • 11573/1665601 - 2023 - Archaeobotanical Evidence of Funerary Plant Offerings at the Southern Etrurian Necropolis of “Valle Santa nell’Agro Veientano” (Rome, Italy) (01a Articolo in rivista)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA
  • 11573/1663300 - 2022 - Archeobotanica e Bioantropologia: le potenzialità della VR e della stampa 3D nella valorizzazione di resti organici (04b Atto di convegno in volume)
    MANZOLLINO, ROBERTA; CHELLINI, GIULIA; LA TORRE, PAOLA; MORICCA, CLAUDIA
  • 11573/1657828 - 2022 - Prime attestazioni di specie del Nuovo Mondo all’interno del complesso dei Santi Quattro Coronati (Roma, Italia) - First attestations of New World species inside the Santi Quattro Coronati complex (Rome, Italy) (04b Atto di convegno in volume)
    MORICCA, CLAUDIA

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