Alessia Masi

Alessia Masi
Sapienza University of Rome | la sapienza · Department of Environmental Biology

PhD

About

71
Publications
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Introduction
Alessia is a researcher at the Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome. She is specialized in palynology and archaeobotany of mediterranean sites mainly located in Italy, Turkey and Balkans peninsula. She is involved in several projects for palaeoclimate and human impact reconstruction that involve a number of different disciplines because she strongly believe in multidisciplinary and integrated approach to the knowledge

Publications

Publications (71)
Article
Full-text available
This study provides a high-resolution reconstruction of the vegetation of the Argive Plain (Peloponnese, Greece) covering 5000 years from the Early Bronze Age onwards. The well dated pollen record from ancient Lake Lerna has been interpreted in the light of archaeological and historical sources, climatic data from the same core and other regional p...
Article
Full-text available
The Black Death (1347–1352 ce ) is the most renowned pandemic in human history, believed by many to have killed half of Europe’s population. However, despite advances in ancient DNA research that conclusively identified the pandemic’s causative agent (bacterium Yersinia pestis ), our knowledge of the Black Death remains limited, based primarily on...
Article
Full-text available
This research presents the paleoenvironmental evolution of a drained lake at the Lousoi plateau (northern Peloponnese), for the last 10,000 years, through the study of a 7 m depth core. Analyses conducted on the core include grain size, TOC, TN, pH, EC, total carbonates (%), magnetic susceptibility measurements, XRF analysis, and radiocarbon dating...
Article
Pollen analyses have been carried out on the infilling deposits of Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, Italy), a reference site for the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Italy. The analysis focused on Terre rosse, a fine unit till now ascribed to an interstadial phase following the Würm acme, and on the uppermost unit (Terre brune), recently dated to the late...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The European colonization of the Americas at the end of 15th century AD has brought with it a series of revolutions, including the introduction of numerous new plant and animal species, many of them of great economic value and currently at the base of European diets. Plants include Solanum lycopersicum L. (tomato), Solanum tuberosum L. (potato), Ca...
Conference Paper
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Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and stone pine (Pinus pinea L.) are quite different trees, at present widespread in Italy, the first often in primeval forests, the second in monospecific artificial coastal woods. The modern Italian beech population can be distinguished genetically from the north European one, and spread from few refugia located in centr...
Conference Paper
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The history of the migration and spread of Cannabis, a genus of the Cannabaceae family, from its center of origin is still uncertain. While its sister-genus Humulus is acknowledged to have naturally dispersed from Asia to Europe prior to human agency, Cannabis is commonly thought to have been spread by humans when cultures began to enjoy the multip...
Article
The sediment record from Lake Ohrid (Southwestern Balkans) represents the longest continuous lake archive in Europe, extending back to 1.36 Ma. We reconstruct the vegetation history based on pollen analysis of the DEEP core to reveal changes in vegetation cover and forest diversity during glacial–interglacial (G–IG) cycles and early basin developme...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Black Death is the most reknown pandemic in human history, believed by many to have killed half of Europe's population. However, despite the advances in ancient DNA research that allowed for the successful identification of the pandemic's causative agent (bacterium Yersinia pestis), our knowledge of the Black Death is still limited, based prima...
Article
Full-text available
The study of plant and animal remains from archaeological sites provides important evidence about past human diets and habits: this includes species selection, food preparation, consumption and disposal practices. Furthermore, such information may also provide inferences about social status. Data from refuse disposal features identified in some eli...
Article
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The scarcity of high-resolution empirical data directly tracking diversity over time limits our understanding of speciation and extinction dynamics and the drivers of rate changes. Here, we analyze a continuous species-level fossil record of endemic diatoms from ancient Lake Ohrid, along with environmental and climate indicator time series since la...
Article
Full-text available
Today, coastal cities worldwide are facing major changes resulting from climate change and anthropogenic forcing, which requires adaptation and mitigation strategies to be established. In this context, sedimentological archives in many Mediterranean cities record a multi-millennial history of environmental dynamics and human adaptation, revealing a...
Conference Paper
The research team at the Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome has a long-standing interest in th e study of past ecosystems and human adaptation to environment across time. Researches span from the earliest phases of prehistory to modern times and include the study of both human and botanical remains. Within the ADAMO pr...
Article
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Mediterranean climates are characterized by strong seasonal contrasts between dry summers and wet winters. Changes in winter rainfall are critical for regional socioeconomic development, but are difficult to simulate accurately¹ and reconstruct on Quaternary timescales. This is partly because regional hydroclimate records that cover multiple glacia...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The study of plant and animal remains from archaeological sites provides important evidences on past human diet: these include species selection, food preparation practices, consumption, and discard; furthermore, information on social status may also be inferred from organic materials recovered during archaeological excavations. Data from some elit...
Article
Full-text available
The Mediterranean region and the Levant have returned some of the clearest evidence of a climatically dry period occurring around 4200 years ago. However, some regional evidence is controversial and contradictory, and issues remain regarding timing, progression, and regional articulation of this event. In this paper, we review the evidence from sel...
Article
In recent years the chronological framework provided by the AMS ¹⁴ C dating has had a great impact on archaeological studies in the Near East, also affecting the previous synchronization of cultural events across the Mediterranean region. Here we present a consistent set of ¹⁴ C dates from the site of Arslantepe (Turkey) between the 5 th and the 3...
Article
Full-text available
Our study aims to reconstruct climate changes that occurred at Lake Ohrid (south-western Balkan Peninsula), the oldest extant lake in Europe, between 160 and 70ka (covering part of marine isotope stage 6, MIS 6; all of MIS 5; and the beginning of MIS 4). A multi-method approach, including the “Modern Analog Technique” and the “Weighted Averaging Pa...
Article
Full-text available
The BRAIN (Botanical Records of Archaeobotany Italian Network) database and network was developed by the cooperation of archaeobotanists working on Italian archaeological sites. Examples of recent research including pollen or other plant remains in analytical and synthetic papers are reported as an exemplar reference list. This paper retraces the m...
Article
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This paper reports the archaeobotanical and archaeozoological data from a disposal pit, whose use started after the partial closure of a staircase, and from a mortar surface within a former porch in the Santi Quattro Coronati complex in Rome, Italy. The two contexts were in use in the Early Modern Age, when the complex served as a cardinal seat. Th...
Article
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Sclerochronological data from whole bivalve shells have been used extensively to derive palaeoenvironmental information. However, little is known about the relevance of shell fragments more commonly preserved in the sediment record. Here, we investigate the oxygen and carbon isotope composition of Dreissena carinata fragments from a core recovered...
Article
Full-text available
Our study aims to reconstruct climate changes that occurred at Lake Ohrid (south-western Balkan Peninsula), the oldest extant lake in Europe, between 160 and 70ka (covering part of Marine Isotope Stage – "MIS" - 6 and all of MIS 5). A multi-method approach, including the "Modern Analogues Technique" and the "Weighted Averaging Partial Least-Squares...
Article
Full-text available
A new high-resolution pollen and NPP (non-pollen palynomorph) analysis has been performed on the sediments of Lake Dojran, a transboundary lake located at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The sequence covers the last 12 500 years and provides information on the vegetational dynamics of the Late Glacia...
Article
Full-text available
A considerable amount of charcoal remains from the archaeological site of Arslantepe (Eastern Anatolia) has been analysed. The anthracological assemblage comes from seven archaeological periods, ranging from the Late Chalcolithic 1–2 (mid-5th millennium BCE) to the Early Bronze Age III (late 3rd millennium BCE). The woody taxa exploited by the loca...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Archaeobotanical analyses carried out in a Renaissance pit of a tower in the Santi Quattro Coronati complex (Rome) are presented. The carpological materials, preserved by mummification through desiccation, are roughly dated between the 16th and 17th centuries, with prevalence for the former. Approximately 6,000 well-preserved fragments of seeds and...
Article
In this article, we present new, high-resolution, pollen results obtained from the DEEP site sequence recovered from Lake Ohrid (Albania/FYROM) for the Last Interglacial Complex (LIC), corresponding to Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS 5) of the marine isotope stratigraphy. LIC covers the period between 130 and 70 ka and includes the Eemian (Last Intergl...
Article
Vegetation patterns during the 1st millennium AD in the central Mediterranean, exhibit a great variability, due to the richness of these habitats and the continuous shaping of the environment by human societies. Variations in land use, witnessed in the pollen record, reflect the role that local vegetation and environmental conditions played in the...
Article
Full-text available
RATIONALE Past climate has always influenced human adaptation to the environment. In order to reconstruct palaeoclimate fluctuations and their role in the evolution of Near Eastern societies during the mid‐Holocene, high‐resolution Δ¹³C records from fossil wood remains at the archaeological site of Arslantepe (eastern Turkey) have been developed....
Article
Full-text available
A new high-resolution pollen and NPPs (Non-Pollen Palynomorphs) analysis has been performed on the sediments of Lake Dojran, a transboundary lake located at the border between Greece and Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The sequence covers the last 12 500 years and provides information on vegetational dynamics of the Late Glacial a...
Poster
Full-text available
Background. In 2015, a paper on the archaeobotany as a key tool ‘for the understanding of the bio-cultural diversity of the Italian landscape’ gave rise to a new initiative, the realization of the first cooperative network of archaeobotanists and palynologists working on archaeological sites located in Italy. The Botanical Record of Archaeobotany I...
Article
In semi-arid environments of the Near East water availability and soil fertility are limiting factors for crop growing and land use is locally adjusted to environmental features. In the last decades stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses on archaeobotanical cereal remains have been developed in order to reconstruct water and nutrient sources f...
Article
This study reviews and synthesises existing information generated within the SCOPSCO (Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid) deep drilling project. The four main aims of the project are to infer (i) the age and origin of Lake Ohrid (Former Yu-goslav Republic of Macedonia/Republic of Albania), (ii) its regional seismot...
Article
In this study, we present lipid biomarker and palynological data for a sediment core from Lake Dojran (Macedonia/Greece), which covers the entire Holocene period. We analyzed vascular plant-derived n-alkanes, combustion-derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), fecal steroids, and bacterial and archaeal glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether (...
Article
Lake Ohrid (Balkan peninsula) is the oldest European extant lake and one of the deepest and largest. Such a unique, terrestrial natural archive is especially relevant for both paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions but also for genetic studies. In the frame of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), a deep dr...
Article
Full-text available
The DEEP site sediment sequence obtained during the ICDP SCOPSCO project at Lake Ohrid was dated using tephrostratigraphic information, cyclostratigraphy, and orbital tuning through the marine isotope stages (MIS) 15-1. Although this approach is suitable for the generation of a general chronological framework of the long succession, it is insuffici...
Article
Lake Ohrid is located at the border between FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) and Albania and formed during the latest phases of Alpine orogenesis. It is the deepest, the largest and the oldest tectonic lake in Europe. To better understand the paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental evolution of Lake Ohrid, deep drilling was carried out...
Article
In this corrigendum we report an updated pollen record from the Lake Ohrid DEEP site spanning the past 500 ka whereby we have reprocessed and re-analyzed 104 samples affected by chemical procedure problems that occurred in one palynological laboratory. Firstly, these samples were affected by the use of wrong containers, causing inadequate settling...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reviews the methodological and practical issues relevant to the ways in which natural scientists, historians and archaeologists may collaborate in the study of past climatic changes in the Mediterranean basin. We begin by discussing the methodologies of these three disciplines in the context of the consilience debate, that is, attempts t...
Article
Full-text available
The DEEP site sediment sequence obtained during the ICDP SCOPSCO project at Lake Ohrid was dated using tephrostratigraphic information, cyclostratigraphy, and orbital tuning through marine isotope record. Although this approach is suitable for the generation of a general chronological framework of the long succession, it is insufficient to resolve...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the interrelationship between the natural and human history of Sicily over the last 2000 years. It presents a close comparison of the data from the key multi-proxy site of Lago di Pergusa – located inland in the eastern part of Sicily – with the existing archaeological and textual evidence on the socio-economic processes. The ar...
Article
Lake Ohrid is located at the border between FYROM and Albania and formed during the latest phases of Alpine orogenesis. It is the deepest, the largest and the oldest tectonic lake in Europe. To better understand the paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental evolution of Lake Ohrid a deep drilling was carried out in 2013 within the framework of the Scien...
Article
Wildfires in the Mediterranean basin are very important even if their causes and dynamics are not always fully understood. Fire occurrence is driven by several factors, such as the availability of fuel and the amount of biomass. In the Mediterranean basin, the seasonality of climate and its influence on vegetation plays an important role on flammab...
Article
Full-text available
In Italy, Platanus orientalis L. is judged as an endangered species by some authors and non-native by others: these contrasting assessments can mislead the prioritization of management actions to preserve the species and the riparian vegetation that is its host. Based on a multidisciplinary approach, including palaeobotanical and ecological informa...
Article
Full-text available
In 2008, during a rescue excavation in the Sa Osa area, near the town of Cabras (Sardinia, Italy), a Nuragic settlement was discovered. The excavation revealed numerous pits, wells and structures dug by the local communities between the Early Copper Age and the Iron Age. These structures were interpreted as elements of a settlement mainly involved...
Article
Full-text available
The present study is a review of the archaeobotanical analyses carried out in the last decade at the three ancient Roman port/dock system sites of Pisae, Portus, and Neapolis. Pollen, plant macrofossils (leaf, wood, seed/fruit macroremains) and wood constituting the shipwrecks were considered, and the results, partly unpublished, integrated and int...
Article
The present article analyses the charred seeds and faunal remains from the Late Chalcolithic 2 (ca. 4200-3900 BCE) occupation at Arslantepe, in the Anatolian Malatya plain. Charred seeds are all found in situ, in a single room clearly interpretable as a kitchen on the basis of its installations and materials. Faunal remains are from all sealed and...
Article
In Near Eastern archaeology, studies on crop management during the early stages of civilisation have been based on cuneiform texts and only recently have geoarchaeological surveys and archaeobotanical studies tried to identify agricultural practices. Nevertheless, direct evidence for irrigation and water management is very rare and difficult to int...
Article
Full-text available
Modern pollen samples provide an invaluable research tool for helping to interpret the Quaternary fossil pollen record, allowing investigation of the relationship between pollen as the proxy and the environmental parameters such as vegetation, land-use, and climate that the pollen proxy represents. The European Modern Pollen Database (EMPD) is a ne...
Article
The 13C/12C ratio of juniper charcoals from the archaeological site of Arslantepe, Malatya (Turkey) was analysed for the mid-Holocene period spanning from 3350 to 2000 years BC. In addition, modern juniper and deciduous oak specimens were collected during a botanical survey around Arslantepe in August 2008. After the evaluation of weather parameter...
Article
The interpretation of past environment changes in coastal marshes, river mouths and drainage channels connecting fresh to salt water bodies, is a difficult task since several factors must be considered such as the variable influence of climate, sea level changes, coastline variations and changes in the river discharge. It is even more difficult if...
Data
The project PaCE-Plants and Culture: seeds of the Cultural Heritage of Europe (Culture Programme 2007-2013, EACEA 09/2006) has promoted and still promotes the green cultural heritage common to Europe. PaCE project was proposed with the main idea of creating an interdisciplinary cooperation on the scientific and humanistic cultural heritage of Europ...
Poster
The small town of Valentano (Latium, central Italy) belonged to Farnese family that transformed an old fortification of 11th cent. in a Renaissance palace, Rocca Farnese. In recent years some archaeological excavations were undertaken during the latest renovation works in Rocca Farnese and in the church of Santa Maria. The excavations have provided...
Article
Remnants of the ancient harbour of Rome are located in the tiber delta area 3.5 km away from the present coastline. it was the main Rome maritime port from the middle of the first century to Late antiquity. in 42 ad, emperor Claudius started the excavation of the harbour. then, the emperor trajan added to the former construction, which had graduall...
Article
Comparison between modern trees and archaeological charred wood is an under-explored method to study climate change, which may help to infer past environmental changes. The stable carbon content of deciduous oak charcoals was analysed for five periods covering more than a 1000 years (3350-2000 BC) at the site of Arslantepe, Turkey, together with mo...