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Summer 2019 field school

In June-July 2019, a field school directed by Dr Martijn van Leusen and Dr Francesca Ippolito will be conducting excavations and surveys in three locations in the Raganello Basin area, as part of the FBA-EIA Transition Study 2018-2021. 2nd Year GIA students will learn about excavation and survey techniques, landscape and pottery analysis, and the virtues of keeping a proper documentation. Follow us on Facebook: RaganelloBasinProject!

A pilot excavation at Monte San Nicola (Civita, CS)

In June 2018, an excavation was carried out by the authors at Monte San Nicola, a hilltop flanked on three sides by plateaux that, at 500m a.s.l. forms the highest point of the marine terraces landscape south of the Raganello River. I t is part of a multi-annual research program carried out by the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA) in north-eastern Calabria called the Raganello Archaeological Project – RAP (Attema et al. 2010, Attema, Ippolito 2017 ).

Previous studies of the site have already been reported in De Neef (2016). During systematic intensive field-walking surveys carried out between 2000 and 2010 , s everal diffuse pottery scatters were mapped on all sides of the hill. In 2011 and 2013 this was followed up by geopedological study and large-scale magnetic gradiometry, which revealed about 35 positive round magnetic anomalies of about 1.5 m diameter .

In 2018 we excavated four of these anomalies (named 245a-d) within a 10x10m area, whilst collecting detailed geophysical data and samples for a forthcoming study of the relation between geophysical anomalies and buried features. We brought to light part of a production area, surely connected to a settlement of which however we did not find any evidence, dating to the transition between the Bronze and Iron Ages (FBA3-EIA1A). This corresponds precisely to a current chronological hiatus in the Sibaritide.

In a geological substratum consisting mainly of clayey silts, four circular pits were found, two of which (245a and 245d) were filled with soil mixed with refuse probably related to nearby habitation. Differences between the pottery and bone assemblage suggest that the refuse derived from two different spaces. The fills contain fragments of impasto and figulina vessels datable to BF3-PF1A. 54 Bone fragments from pit 245d have been determined as belonging to Bos taurus, Sus scrofa and Ovis aries/Capra hircus.

A third pit (245c), more elliptical in shape, differs from the previous two pits due to the presence of a lining of red fired clay, up to 25 cm wide in the best preserved part. A carefully smoothed and clearly visible step made of baked clay runs along the lower perimeter of the pit, and fragments of pithos (storage vessels) had been used for the – poorly preserved – floor isolation. The fill again was composed of soil including bones and ceramic fragments datable to the FBA3-EIA1A. In view of the small dimensions and the absence of indicators such as firing waste or tools, this is probably an oven intended for food preparation, as also attested at Sorgenti della Nova near Viterbo ( Cattani et al. 2015) and Torre Mordillo in the Sibaritide (Colburn 1977). Analysis of the fired clay will provide information on the temperatures reached during use, and therefore of its likely purpose.

The fill of the fourth pit (245b) contained charcoal and a few ceramic fragments, including a decorated one of FBA3 date.

Last modified:18 June 2019 4.00 p.m.