Using archaeological and geomorphological evidence for the establishment of a relative chronology and evolution pattern for Holocene landslides

Autoři: Mihai Niculiţă aff001;  Mihai Ciprian Mărgărint aff001;  Alexandru Ionuţ Cristea aff002
Působiště autorů: Department of Geography, Geography and Geology Faculty, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, Iaşi, Romania aff001;  Department of Geography, Ştefan cel Mare University, Suceava, Romania aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


Hilly regions around the world are one of the most vulnerable places for inhabitation, where landslides represent a permanent threat for their population. In some particular cases, in the past, due to their topographic features, areas affected by massive landslides served a real opportunity for the location of strategic and fortified settlements. In this study, we have extended a previous approach of correlation between landslides and archaeological heritage, adding 14 new representative case studies of landslided hillforts, a new period with landslided hillforts, and a new typology of relationship (landslided tumuli) for establishing relative chronologies for landslide inventories. The landslide mapping presented here supplements a previous inventory, which now has 1211 landslides, and it is based on the interpretation of high-resolution DEMs, geomorphometric derivatives, remote sensing images, and field validation. For one of the most characteristic sites (Băiceni settlement, Iaşi County), we used Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) to assess the geometry of the compound and complex landslides. The current approach allowed us to acquire a more accurate relative chronology of landslide activity during the Holocene and Upper Pleistocene, and more importantly, to establish the pattern of landslides evolution in the Moldavian Plateau, North-Eastern Romania. The relict landslides are Lateglacial and Lower Holocene, the old landslides are post-Holocene Climatic Optimum and pre-Medieval, while the recent landslides are post-Medieval. The landslide magnitude decreased continuously, the new events being retrogressive reactivations of earlier events scarps and landslide bodies (as shown by the ERT data). Further studies on absolute dating will improve the relative chronology. Still, while not all the landslides can be dated, the methodology that we describe can be applied to increase the spatial density of the relative chronology. The presented approach can be used in other regions all over the world to establish the relative age of landslide inventories when archaeological topography can be related to landslide topography.

Klíčová slova:

Archaeological dating – Archaeology – Fungal evolution – Geomorphology – Holocene epoch – Paleoclimatology – Plateaus – Rivers


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