The territory and vegetation

The study of sediments and ancient pollen to reconstruct the environment

The skeleton found was resting on fine dark grey sand, with various minerals and fragments of limestone (the white-coloured sedimentary rocks that form the surrounding mountains). On top of this was a layer of grey clay, and above this a layer sand and clay. In the last layer, was fossil-rich and darker clay.

1.3 million years ago, in this area there were forests with trees that are no longer part of Italian flora: Tsuga (a conifer) and Carya (a tree of the walnut family), which are now found in Asia and North America; and Zelkova, a tree of the elm family that grows in Asia, and that was recently rediscovered in Sicily.

This data is derived from the study of ancient pollen: the fact that there were many Tsuga and Carya, and few pines and cedars, indicates that it was a warm interglacial period.

Progetto grafico di Francesca Condò – Direzione generale Musei