Under the volcano and far away: Effects of the Bronze Age eruption of Monte Somma-Vesuvius on settlement and land use in the Campanian and Pontine coastal plains

Peter Attema*, Martijn van Leusen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


This article discusses the consequences of the Early Bronze Age eruption of the Monte Somma-Vesuvius that devastated the proximal areas around the volcano around 1900 BC and must have caused a crisis as the substantial population sought refuge elsewhere. In particular, it investigates the hypothesis that refugees fled north along the Tyrrhenian coast and settled in the Pontine coastal plain, which lay at the basis of the NWO Open Competition program The Avellino Event. Based on new environmental reconstructions of the Pontine plain and on the available archaeological evidence both there and in the buried landscapes near the Vesuvius itself, its suitability for Early Bronze Age settlement and land use is assessed in detail. The article concludes that though suitable, the population density of the Pontine plain remained very low until at least the Middle Bronze Age, some 150 years after the eruption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalTijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie
Issue number64
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2020

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