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Excavation

  • Truncu ‘e Molas
  • Truncu ‘e Molas
  •  
  • Italy
  • Sardinia
  • Provincia di Oristano
  • Terralba

Summary (English)

  • The site at Truncu ‘e Molas was investigated as part of the Terralba Rural Settlement Project that studies ancient rural settlement in western central Sardinia between the 6th and 2nd centuries BC in order to gain an understanding of the Sardinian agrarian economy in the wider context of the Carthaginian colonial network. After extensive geophysical prospection, intensive surface collections and limited excavation in 2003 and 2004, excavation in 2007 brought to light well-preserved subsurface elements of the original Punic building. It also showed, however, that recent agricultural activities had damaged the site from the original floor level up. Only subsurface features were therefore preserved and these include two wells, a double wine-press and a domestic storage space made of recycled amphorae. Enough stone wall-bases survived to give a rough idea of the layout of the site.

    Following the fieldwork, the environmental remains, the pottery as well as the other small finds, including several coins and iron tools, were studied during study campaigns in 2008 and 2009. Over 10,000 items were recovered from reliable stratigraphic contexts, of which just under 80% is represented by pottery. Plaster, metal, stone, animal and fish bones, shell, charcoal and seeds make up the remaining 20%. The pottery has been studied in terms of both the shapes and the ceramic fabric of the fragments: whereas the former analysis has been limited to around 750 diagnostic pieces, the latter has been applied to all fragments collected. Locally produced coarse wares (amphorae, bowls and cooking pots) make up the bulk of the pottery but imported amphorae and fine wares are also well represented. The latter group largely falls under the label of ‘Black Gloss’, which in this case mostly comprises wares produced in Sardinia but also includes imported Attic products (including one Red Figure cup).

    The environmental evidence brought to light at Truncu ‘e Molas documents most of all the production of wine that is attested by both equipment (wine press and two iron pruning sickles) and remains of the crop itself (grape pips). The rich environmental evidence also provides precious information on the inhabitants’ diet and, in combination with the pottery forms attested, informs us about local culinary traditions. Fish and shellfish were a common part of the local diet but it is significant that no deep-sea fish are represented. A good sample of charcoal fragments comprises both lowland and upland species, which together with fragments of deer antler prove that the nearby mountains were not ignored. Only a limited sample of animal bones was recovered that is dominated by sheep and/or goat.

    Together, these results add significantly to our knowledge of agrarian practices and domestic life-styles of Punic rural communities. By signalling the importance of cash-crops like wine in the local rural economy, these results undermine conventional views that Punic rural production in Sardinia focused exclusively on cereals.

  • Peter van Dommelen - Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow 
  • Carlos Gómez-Bellard - Universitat de València 

Director

  • Carlos Gómez-Bellard - Universitat de València
  • Peter van Dommelen - Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow

Team

  • Alicia Vendrell Betí - Università di Valencia (Spagna)
  • Andrea Roppa - University of Glasgow
  • Carlo Tronchetti - Sopr. Beni Archeologici province di Cagliari-Oristano
  • David Quixal Santos - Università di Valencia (Spagna)
  • Elisa Pompianu - Università degli Studi di Sassari
  • Emily Modrall - Pennsylvania University
  • Helen Loney - Univeristy of Worcester
  • Jeremy Hayne - University of Glasgow
  • Guillem Pérez Jorda - Università di Valencia (Spagna)
  • José-Miguel Ruiz-Perez - Università di Valencia (Spagna)
  • Pilar Carmona González - Università di Valencia (Spagna)
  • Cristiano Nicosa - Università degli Studi di Milano

Research Body

  • University of Glasgow, Department of archaeology
  • Università di Valencia

Funding Body

  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
  • Ministerio de Cultura
  • The National Geographic Society

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