The Greek and Roman coastal sites of Sybaris, Thuri, and Copia in Calabria, Italy, active from ∼727 BC to about the third century AD, were buried by Crati Delta sediments and are now positioned inland ∼2.5 km west of the present Gulf of Taranto coast. This study identifies biogenic components in two sediment cores of mid-Holocene to the present age, recovered in the Casa Bianca sector of the Sybaris archaeological park. Three biofacies are identified using primarily molluscs, along with associated faunas and vegetal components. The lower biofacies (older than 3600 BC to ∼2700 BC, Neolithic), with moderate to well-represented faunas, indicates an open marine inner shelf environment. A midcore transitional biofacies (from ∼2700 to ∼2000 BC, late Neolithic), with meagre faunas and poorly preserved specimens, mixed with plant matter, was deposited in very high energy conditions close to shore. The upper biofacies (from ∼2000 BC, early Bronze age to present) comprises even less fauna, mostly terrestrial, and was increasingly influenced by fluviodeltaic conditions; it includes the strata with Greek and Roman artefacts. The up-core sequence records evolution from marine to coastal, wetland, and then terrestrial environments, associated with active progradation seaward of the Crati Delta's coastal margin through time. This ecobiostratigraphic approach can assist archaeologists studying this region by identifying faunas that serve to interpret paleogeographic conditions that prevailed before, during, and after occupation of the three sites.
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Vol. 26 • No. 2