The pleistocene inheritance of Riparo Tagliente, identified in 1958 and the object of investigations from 1962, represents one of the main reference points for the series of the phases of the Paleolithic in north eastern Italy. The series consists of two different contexts which, together have a thickness of over 4.5 metres: the lower deposit, relating to the Glacial event known as Würm (ancient and middle phases, dating to between circa 60.000 and 30.000 years ago), contains Mousterian finds (the Neanderthal man, middle Palaeolithic) and, in the uppermost levels, aurignaziani (modern man, Palaeolithic superiore antico); the final upper level dated to the Late Glacial Würmianao (between circa 17.000 – 11.500 years ago) is characterized by the industries of the recent Epigravettiano (Paleolitico superiore finale). The two series are separated by a lacuna caused by a erosion due torrent.
The site is located a few kilometres from the entrance of the Valpantena, on Monti Lessini, about 250 metres above sea level, below a small rock face at the foot of Monte Tregago. It is in a strategic position compared to the surrounding territory, rich in mineral and natural resources, which has favoured the intense occupation. The only absolute dates available at present relate to the epigravettiani levels and cover the period between 13,430±180, 14,600-13,280 cal. B.C. (levels 15-16) and 12,040±170 BP, 12,520-11,500 cal. B.C. (levels 10-8), including il Dryas antico and part of the intermediate late glacial period.
During the 2009 season excavations concentrated exclusively on the epigravettiani levels. In particular, the research focused on two areas:
- in the northern sector, the area outside the overhang of the shelter where planning continued along with the removal of a great pile of lithic wasters covering an area of circa 8 sq.m (context 356), belonging to the lower part of the epigravettiana series. In order to better understand the formation processes of these deposits the excavation continued using décapage photographic plans and the removal of individual finds through the recording of the coordinates.
- in the southern sector the investigations the upper levels of the epigravettiana series in the transition area between the interior and the exterior of the shelter, beginning on the right side of the trench up to the section which delimits the deposits towards the south. Soil levels relating to habitation were brought to light, characterized by the remains of meals and artefacts in a sub-planare position (US 616 and 617) and a part of a hollow for a hearth (US 615), which had been partially destroyed by medieval and later interventions. This area is also of notable interest for the reconstruction of the natural formation processes, in the phases following the abandonment of the site with the deposition of sediments and collapses which have sealed and in part disturbed the upper portion of the epigravettiani deposits.
- Federica Fontana - Università degli Studi di Ferrara - Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
- Antonio Guerreschi - Università di Ferrara - Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
- Maria Giovanna Cremona - Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Dipartimento di Biologia ed Evoluzione
- Carlo Peretto - Università degli Studi di Ferrara - Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
- Ursula Thun Hohenstein - Università di Ferrara - Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
- Luca Trombino - Università di Milano - Dipartimento di "Scienze della Terra"
- Marta Arzarello - Università degli Studi di Ferrara
- Università degli Studi di Ferrara
- Comune di Grezzana
- Regione Veneto
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