Original paper

The karst environment as an archive for documenting the past: some examples from Italy

Sala, Benedetto


The following paper presents some examples of karst environments from the Italian peninsula that have yielded important paleontological evidence of the past. The bones of small and large mammals can often be found in the sediments of caves and rock shelters. Such fossil evidence is useful for the reconstruction of past faunal assemblages and subsequently of the environmental and climatic successions and can therefore be considered an important archive for documenting the past. This paper furnishes examples of dwarf and giant animals of the Miocene as well as examples of human activities in the Quaternary, like hunting, cave art production, funerary and ritual practices, etc. until the more recent cave settlements such as Ginosa in the Murgia Materana area. All these documents need to be safeguarded in order to preserve their memory for the future.


quaternaryprehistoric settlementsneogenemammal paleontologykarst environmentsitalian peninsula