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Determination of burial age of the "Augustus' villa" (Italy)

Takayuki Kaneko, Setsuya Nakada, Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Toshitsugu Fujii, Atsushi Yasuda, Minoru Yoneda, Masanori Aoyagi
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 39, No. 6, P. 573-578, 2005

ABSTRACT

Based on the combination of petrologic characteristics of the deposits and carbon-14 dating of charcoal pieces, we determined the burial age of the ancient Roman villa, believed to belong to the first Roman Emperor Augustus, at the northern foot of Mt. Vesuvius. Volcanic deposits covering the site consist of three geological formations related to the eruptive activity of Mt. Vesuvius. Juvenile material of the lowest formation show the same whole-rock chemical composition as that of the AD472 eruption, and carbon-14 ages of charcoal in and below the deposits coincide with AD472, indicating that the villa was first buried by the AD472 eruption. The villa itself is thought to have been already abandoned, judging from the depositional relation of the Plinian-fall and pyroclastic surge deposits to the damaged building frames.

KEYWORDS

Vesuvius, volcanoes, burial age, AMS, XRF

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