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  • Giarnera Piccola
  • Ascoli Satriano
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  • Italy
  • Apulia
  • Provincia di Foggia
  • Ascoli Satriano

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Monuments

Periods

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Chronology

  • 700 BC - 300 BC

Season

    • Investigation of the settlement of Gianiera Piccola brought to light an “a grotticella” tomb with an access shaft situated on the western edge of the excavation’s central area. The tomb had been sacked. Hints at the presence of an important tomb (n. 7/05) had emerged during the 2005 excavations when, at some depth, an antefix of the Magna-Grecian type in the form of a medusa’s head was found. The 2006 excavation revealed that tomb 7/05 was originally “a grotticella”, probably containing two burials. Only part of the chamber’s south side was preserved with the remains of a skeleton in a fetal position and fragmentary grave goods dating to the 4th century B.C. (Daunian pottery). The fill of the destroyed tomb contained bronze laminae from a belt, pottery fragments and another fragment of medusa head antefix. These finds prove that this was an aristocratic burial. At the feet of the deceased was a floral style Daunian jar decorated with coloured bands and vegetal frieze, with modelled protome, datable to the second half of the 4th century B.C. Near the tomb a number of tanks were found that can be associated with funerary rites (the westernmost one took the form of an oval pit, whilst the eastern one had two parts, one oblong and shallow, the other larger). In the south-west corner of the area an inhumation was found with the deceased laid in a fetal position, with a pottery tomb group: an iron spearhead and a sword identify this as a male burial. In sector G the excavation uncovered three stretches of paving: the first on an east/west alignment, with well-made oblong paving stones laid in a spiral decorative motif; the second was rectangular in shape on a south/east-north/west alignment, whilst the third and final stretch was on a north-south alignment. The discovery of a nucleus of houses, partially preserved at foundation level, dated the latest phase of this sector to the end of the 4th century B.C.
    • Excavations in the Giarnera Piccola, undertaken by the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Innsbruck, reopened the same areas as in the previous years with the aim of identifying the settlement’s occupation phases. This entailed the extension of the excavation to the south and deepening of the trench in zones A, D and especially in G, in order to obtain a complete stratigraphy of the area. Three earth graves were found in the central zone (tombs 3, 4 and 7/2007). They had been robbed and only a few skeletal remains were preserved within them. Tomb 4/07 had been reused and the bones of the earlier skeleton placed in a heap. Structures 3 and 4 were characterised by tile collapses and irregular cobbled surfaces. This zone was disturbed by clandestine activity whilst the southern zone was less disturbed by agriculture and illegal excavation. Excavation in the context with the paved surface, in the southern part of the excavation, revealed a house/structure (8), a number of paved surfaces, a collapsed but not robbed “a grotticella” tomb (tomb 5/07), a presumed earth grave, an area with a number of pits and hollows, a layer of tiles, a row of stones and a hearth. It is thought that these structures went out of use in the 4th century B.C. and house 5 was built on top of the abandoned structures. Structure 8 (circa 7 x 5 m), on an east-west alignment was divided into two by an internal wall forming to the east a closed room (circa 3.80 x 2.60 m) and to the west an open space (circa 3.80 x 3.50 m). The open space originally had a cobbled paving, a patch of which was preserved in the south-east corner. This space also had a hearth in one corner and presented a tile collapse. It may be suggested that in the period of abandonment the tiles from the collapsed roof were compacted into a single layer, possible as part of a ritual act. The new paving may be interpreted as a “processional” route to the “a grotticella” tomb 5/07, found at a depth of circa four metres at the end of the paving. The grave goods were amassed together due to the pressure of the overlying earth which had caused the tomb to collapse. The tomb group, some of which very fragmentary, comprised 130 artefacts: Daunian vases, black and red glaze wares, Gnathian ware, painted vases, lekythoi with reticulate decoration, 27 Apulian red-figure vases, some of very fine quality, one bronze basin, silver fibulae and a bronze belt with mould-made bronze hooks. On the basis of the paved surface seen as a processional way, the tomb structure, the very rich tomb group and presumably ritual space north of the tomb it is possible that this was a family tomb which included the burial of the head of the family. The finds, in particular the pottery, date tomb 5/07 to between 330-320 B.C.
    • During the two 2008 seasons attention concentrated on the conservation of the finds from tomb 5/07, on the TMA cataloguing and the concluding investigations of the tomb itself. The conservation of the materials from 5/07 was undertaken in April and September 2008 with the result that 121 pottery vessels were restored and numerous metal artefacts were cleaned and conserved. With the 2008 excavation a total of 131 pieces were recovered from the tomb. Most of the catalogued material (2004-2007) comprises tomb groups. The catalogue may form the basis for a future exhibit (finds and tomb groups from Serpente and Giarnera Piccola). TMA cataloguing was also undertaken on the tiles from the collapse overlying the paved surface (US 391) found in 2007 together with a Medusa-head antefix and two other antefix fragments of the same type. Five examples of drip tiles, numerous fragments of tegulae (flat tiles with rim), one fragmentary triangular tile and numerous fragments of the same type and fragments of curved tiles were documented. Lastly, an attempt was made to partially reconstruct a roof with drip tiles and Medusa-head antefixes. In the area above the “a grotticella” tomb 5/07 excavations began directly from the floor of the “grotticella”. A row of three post holes (perhaps a canopy for the tomb), an L-shaped wall with an opening (house IX), a hearth and two earth graves were exposed. One of the tombs had been robbed, whilst the second, with the remains of at least three infants contained personal ornaments such as bronze armbands and a piece of amber. The concluding work on tomb 5/07 showed that the dromos ramp, slightly off-centre, sloped on a gradient of 8 degrees between the paving (US 391) and the “grotticella”. It was between 2 and 3.20 m deep and had a maximum width of 1.53 m. The floor of the “grotticella” measured circa 2.25 x 2.25 m and was circa 0.15 m lower than the ramp. The poorly-preserved skeletons were in the rear part of the tomb, whilst most of the grave goods seemed to have been placed on either side of the entrance and along the sides of the deceased. The skeleton at the centre of the tomb, in a fetal position, was identified as a male individual due to the bronze belt and was presumably the last to be buried here. The few skeletal remains to the left and right of the centre seem to belong to two women, considering the finds of silver fibulae and a glass paste necklace. The remains of a fourth skeleton were found in a heap in the south-east corner of the tomb together with a bronze belt and spear point. A robbed earth grave (tomb 1/08) was also examined. Together with various pottery fragments, a piece of worked bone, two glass paste beads and a bronze ring there was a well-preserved skeleton in a fetal position and with a bronze belt. Traces of an earlier burial was visible below the pelvis.
    • The 2009 excavations concentrated on the same areas as in previous years, extending the excavation to the south to cover a surface area of 800 m2. Tomb 1/08 was a large earth grave which had been robbed. It contained two well-preserved skeletons and various objects of personal ornament, including six hemispherical bronze buttons with moveable loops, another perforated bronze loop and an oval amber pendant. Both individuals had bronze belts. The pottery fragments in the grave dated it to the second half of the 4th century B.C. South of the paved surface (US 391) the remains of a structure (house X) came to light. It was on a north-east/south-west alignment in axis with the paving 391 leading to tomb 5/07. The building was on a lower level than the paving. Tile collapses showed that it had two rooms on two different levels. Unbaked bricks were found in situ and below the collapsed tiles. The tile collapses were connected by a row of flat tegulae with an upside-down Medusa antefix. Another structure came to light in the south-eastern part of the excavation area, so-called house XI. It was on a north-west/south-east alignment and divided into two rooms on different levels by a foundation wall. In the southern part of the higher room the remains of a cobbled surface were visible. Between structures X and XI an almost square cobble paving was uncovered. Reused in the wall next to this paving there was a fragment of cyma with ovolo and bead decoration. Two fragments of a drainage tube were recovered from among the tiles overlying the cobbles. In the eastern area of the excavation a series of post holes and sections of wall were identified, suggesting the existence of another building. Among these structural remains were two earth graves in a superficial position. They dated to the 7th century B.C. and were perhaps part of a cemetery belonging to the earliest phase. The earth grave 1/09 was surrounded by stones on three sides. The skeletal remains were those of a female about 50 years old. The grave goods comprised various fragments of iron and bronze, a jar with a curtain motif on the shoulder and a jug without a handle with geometric decoration of the Daunian I sub-geometric phase. The finds dated the burial to the second half of the 7th century B.C. Grave 2/09 was completely filled with and covered by stones. The burial contained the scarce skeletal remains of two children. The grave goods comprised iron and bronze fragments, a boat-shaped fibula with lateral knots and a long pin, a double-handled plain coarse ware cup and a proto-Daunian platter. The finds dated the burial to the beginning of the 7th century B.C.
    • The 2010 excavations undertaken by the University of Innsbruck’s Institute of Classical Archaeology at the Gianrnera Piccola worked on the same areas as in previous years (cadastral lot no. 546). The area was extended by 700 m2 towards the south and west and the investigations concentrated on the phasing of the structures. At the edge of the northern area the investigation of “houses” 6-8 was concluded during which a tomb was uncovered below the west room of structure 8. This was a child’s burial in an earth grave containing grave goods comprising a jar, two ladles and a small jug - sub-geometric Daunian II, dating to the 6th century B.C., together with bronze torques and a bronze fibula. In the case of structure 10 it was necessary to remove two collapses and a tile paving before it was possible to identify the roof collapse. Below the latter were the remains of unbaked bricks and the structure’s foundation trench. For structure 11 several pits and a side wall acting as a containing wall abutting the slope were identified as attesting the earliest phase of this dwelling. The structure resulted as having a sub-rectangular plan measuring 5.50 x 3.50 m. A great terracing wall, at the moment about 29 m long and almost 1 m wide, was a spectacular find. It has a curving alignment and is divided into two by an entrance with a drainage channel. In the north-western part of the excavation area it curves towards the south for 4.83 m. The wall continues in the south section of the excavation. On its east side two pits were discovered, one containing 7th century B.C. pottery, which may be interpreted as oikoi for sacrifices made at the moment of the wall’s construction. In zone J in the western part of the excavation area several tombs, either heavily damaged or robbed, were identified. Two dated to the 6th century B.C. Tomb 2/10, damaged by agricultural activity, was the burial of a new-born dating to the 7th century and containing glass beads, the remains of a bronze personal ornament and fragments of a sub-geometric Daunian I jug. In zone H, in front of house 11, a pit at least 2 m deep was found to the side of an intact tomb covering. The pit contained the remains of at least three individuals and grave goods including glass-past beads and heavy bronze armlets. Below the tomb cover was a 4th century B.C. tomb with modest, but numerous, grave goods (20 artefacts). To conclude it can be stated that the 2010 excavations uncovered increasing amounts of 7th century B.C. evidence and the discovery of the long wall has provided new evidence for the structural layout of the Daunian settlement.
    • The 2011 excavations on the Giarnera Piccola, undertaken by the University of Innsbruck’s Institute of Classical Archaeology, re-opened the same areas as in previous years. The area was extended by a total of 135 m2, in particular towards the west, concentrating on the area of the necropolis. In the case of structure 11, the material from a pit (1.20 m deep) below the remains of the paved floor inside the house provided a _terminus post quem_ of the 4th century B.C. The west and north walls, built to enlarge the structure from 15.5 to 17.5 m2 also dated to this phase. Tomb 5/11 was discovered almost below the east wall of house 11. It had eight covering slabs, one with an oblong aperture in which to insert another stone. The tomb group comprised four sub-geometric Daunian II vases datable to between the 6th and 5th century B.C. The area west of house 11 was delimited by a partially preserved wall, running parallel to wall 617. The remains of a new structure emerged in the space between structures 11 and 10 and directly beside tomb 3/10. Denominated house 9, it comprised two rooms covering circa 25 m2. Due to lack of time, it was not possible to follow the line of the supporting wall identified in 2010. The zones adjacent to the wall were investigated. To the east of wall 617, below two tile collapses, a gravel floor surface came to light in which there was a channel constructed with large stones. Fragments of fine and coarse ware pottery, including large column kraters decorated in the floral style of the 4th century B.C., were recovered from a triangular-shaped deposit positioned on the west side of wall 617. This deposit may have been created during abandonment rituals. The structural evidence overlying wall 617, including house 9 excavated in 2011, constitutes a residential area on the terracing. Zone J, west of the excavation area, was seen to be of greater interest in chronological terms for the quantity and variety of burials, and the presence of numerous postholes. Of the ten identified tombs, four had been robbed, while six were intact or only disturbed by agricultural activity and dated to between the 7th and 4th century B.C. (tombs 2/11, 3/11, 4/11, 6/11, 9/11, 11/11). Together with the finds from 2010, the latest finds show the necropolis to have been fairly densely occupied. It was in use throughout the Daunian presence on the site. Two _enchytrismos_ burials in medium sized impasto pottery vessels were also found. As well as the usual data regarding the age and sex of the skeletal remains, the anthropological analyses undertaken in Munich showed that the male individual in the double tomb 4/11 had suffered severe lesions to the cranium caused by a heavy weapon. These were not, however, the cause of death.
    • The 2012 excavations undertaken by Innsbruck University at Giarnera Piccola continued work on the structures found in the previous year. The area was extended towards the south and west by about 225 m2 in order to check a number of situations that needed to be clarified. Excavations to the north-west, close to the paved surface 369, revealed a foundation wall, only one course of which survived, and an infant burial in a double grave (tomb 1/12). The grave contained a geometric jar with a flattened body that was not a Daunian production, and a small jug with banded decoration, both handmade. Several walls belonging to house 10 were uncovered, as well as a stepped _dromos_ with a number of pottery fragments from a robbed _a grotticella_ tomb (tomb 4/12). The chamber itself had been identified in 2010. In the south-eastern part of the house, tomb 2/12 lay below a large limestone slab and large _tegula_ fragments incised with curved lines on the back. This infant burial contained a small beaker with geometric decoration, the bow of an iron fibula and a bronze ring, and may date to between the 7th-6th century B.C. The east wall of house 9 (discovered in 2009) presented an area of substantial subsidence and below this was another burial. This tomb, 3/12, was covered by a heap of stone slabs and comprised three rectangular graves, one inside the other, on a north-east/south-west alignment. The upper grave served as support to the covering, the middle grave housed the skeleton of an elderly male individual in a fetal position. The tomb group comprised ten pottery vessels including a sub-geometric Daunian jar with curtain motif on the shoulder, five jugs, and small jugs with banded decoration. Lastly, the lower, smaller grave contained the bones from an earlier burial. Given the presence of the jar with the curtain motif, in use for many decades, and of black gloss cups, a date within the second half of the 5th century B.C. is proposed for this tomb. In the south-eastern area of the excavation, a circular structure was exposed, dug into the surface below the structures of house 11. This was originally used for the storage of dry foodstuffs. A drainage channel constructed with sloping _kalypteres_ (cover tiles) above the rim of this cellar structure, and another funnel opposite it were added at a later date, indicating a change in function. The structure itself was 4.50 m in diameter at the top and 3.29 m at the bottom, and was 1.65 m deep. The most surprising discovery was a polygonal enclosure in the vicinity of wall 617 (discovered in 2010). The entire structure comprised a large polygonal courtyard paved with gravel and perimeter walls uncovered to the north-east, south-west and partially preserved to the west. In the north-eastern corner there was a rectangular structure (7.05 x 4.90 m) with a hearth in the centre. The complex was entered through a corridor situated to the south-west.
    • The 2013 campaign planned to complete the investigation of the large polygonal enclosure and other finds. The area uncovered by a mechanical digger was limited to 125 m2 towards the south and west. On the settlement terrace occupied by structures 10, 9, and 11, the excavation of house 11 was completed with the emptying of the well below wall 598. The almost square area of stone paving in front of House 9 was removed. The area along the inner side of the polygonal enclosure was examined. An oval burial came to light, tomb 9/13 (not excavated), below the lowered part of the south wall (US 909). Wall 909 had at least three courses constructed in a herringbone pattern. Tomb 10/13 lay below the north wall (US 617), under a substantial covering. It contained thirteen artefacts datable to the 5th century B.C. Evidence of the earliest construction phase was provided by part of an L-shaped wall (US 1040) exposed at the level of the lowest occupation surface inside the north-western sector of the enclosure together with a series of posholes. Tomb 7/13, situated between the postholes and structure 14, had been robbed. A structure (US 959 a-d) was uncovered to the south of the enclosure. It had two phases, of which the earliest phase was almost rectangular in plan. The later phase was attested by a north-south wall. Ten postholes were scattered around the site (US 994-999, 1001-1004), attesting the date of the huts. Further south, a new structure came to light (16), 2.70 x 1.80 m in size, only half of which was excavated. Close to structure 16, an area of stones, tile and pottery fragments, 4 x 2.65 m, was exposed that covered, at its centre, a pit lined with lime. The pit was almost circular, 0.70 m in diameter and 0.33 m deep and filled with sterile clayey soil. This was a cult area, an “oikos” for the making of sacrifices. The necropolis investigated in previous years was seen to continue in zone J, the western part of the excavation area. The new area was a cemetery for foetuses, newborns, and infants, an unusual find at least for Daunian Ascoli Satriano. To date, five infant burials have been identified within a limited area. Tomb 1/13 was a small pit (0.25 x 0.15 m) lined with cobbles and bordered by small stones and pottery fragments. The grave was covered by fragments of a large pottery storage vessel. It contained a sub-geometric Daunia I single-handled cup decorated with solar symbols, nine amber beads, a triangular bone amulet, and other small decorative elements that give a date of the 7th to 6th century B.C. Tomb 2/13 was situated at a short distance from tomb 1/13. It had no covering and was only identifiable by a few skeletal remains lying on a bed of cobblestones. The rich tomb group of three bronze boat fibulae, three triangular bone amulets and other elements of personal ornament date the tomb to the second half of the 7th century B.C. Two almost circular structures of small stones appeared to the east and western sides of tomb 2/13, which together with nine other examples in the area can be identified as bases on which funerary rituals were performed. Two 7th century B.C. _enchytrismos_ burials completed this group of tombs. In addition, a pit grave (8/13) with the remains of four infants and a tomb group of 19 artefacts dating to the 5th century B.C. was excavated. East of this burial there were two robbed “a grotticella” tombs (3/13 and 6/13) and a large earth grave, tomb 11/13, dating to the 5th century B.C.
    • The 2013 excavations were extended towards the west and south, in particular in the area known as the cemetery of the infants. The circular or oval features present here and further east, were carefully examined and seen to be U-shaped postholes, with maximum dimensions of 0.90 x 0.80 m and up to 0.70 m deep. The walls were vertical or slightly sloped and the floors flat. All the holes were filled with stones mixed with earth and fragments of large containers; pieces of daub were used as wedges. In some cases, the floors of the postholes were carefully lined with medium-sized stones. Only the lower part of some holes was preserved, the original ground surface having been removed by later agricultural work. Therefore, the so-called cemetery of infant burials can be associated with a hut of various phases. An earth grave (10/13) was uncovered below the north-eastern wall of the polygonal enclosure. The well-preserved skeleton of an adult female was in a foetal position and the grave contained a tomb group of 16 artefacts. The assemblage comprised Daunian vases of the sub-Geometric Daunia II type, that is jars with bi-chrome bands and geometric frieze, a series of jugs and juglets with painted bands and geometric motifs, an impasto jug, three ladles, two with the symbol of the sun at the centre and one with a horned protome, one “ad occhiello”, a high-footed banded cup, a fragment of a worked-bone ring, an iron knife and a bronze ring. Two jugs and two ladles were of the same production, and two monochrome banded juglets were made and painted by the same potter. Grave 11/13 found further south contained the well-preserved bones of an adult woman in a foetal position, the head lying on a stone and an earlier burial underneath. The tomb group was made up of 18 artefacts: a jar, a jar and two juglets with bi-chrome decoration of painted bands and geometric motifs and a one-handled ladle with protome “ad occhioni”, all of the sub-Geometric Daunia II type and presumably of the same production. There were also two monochrome banded juglets, a banded cup with high foot, a two-handled ladle, a monochrome juglet, an impasto beaker, a banded _krateriskos_, and a banded one-handled cup, both wheel-made. Personal ornaments, a glass-paste bead, an ivory pendant, a bronze fibula with knotted terminal with traces of textile fibres and fragments of iron fibulae completed the tomb group.
    • In 2016 a small fieldwork campaign was carried out, limited to the area already opened in previous excavations. Since the new investigations put their focus on the Archaic findings of the site, especially the relation between architectural structures and graves, selected findspots were chosen for a detailed stratigraphical enquiry. In the area of the so-called hut 1, a structure of apsidally placed massive postholes in the southwestern part of the trenches, further excavation revealed (both by means of small trenches and larger soil removal) that this Archaic structure of 7th century BC date, already uncovered in the previous seasons, was during its use phase probably enlarged by a porch. It also turned out to have predecessors of earlier date reaching back into the 8th/7th century BC. These are represented directly below the younger structures of hut 1 by deeper and smaller postholes that appeared after the removal of the c. 0.2m thick occupation layer 1096 (in which the younger postholes were dug) in the northern part of hut 1. This layer contained pottery fragments with geometric decoration dated to the 8th/7th century BC. Below this layer, a dense, linear concentration of burnt clay (no. 1183) was found, roughly east-west oriented and consisting of many daub fragments with traces of wattle. This concentration can most likely be addressed as the remains of the wall of an older wooden hut structure (hut 1b). It rested on the occupation layer 1190 containing many charcoal pieces, as well as pottery fragments of similar decoration and date as from the layer above. With this layer can be correlated a number of stone packages (max. diameter 0.3m, max. depth 0.1m), one of which can already securely be identified as a posthole. These can probably be addressed as the remains of an east-west oriented row of postholes, located directly below 1183. Their stratigraphical position securely testifies their affiliation to a hut architecture built earlier than hut 1 on exactly the same spot. It is also likely that these posts were directly connected to 1183, forming the frame on which the daub was attached. Future investigations are needed to clarify the function and exact dating of this structure. The occupation layer 1190 was also the surface from which the enchytrismos tomb SE 1135 (= tomb 4/14) was interred. The grave was placed immediately adjacent to the postholes of the older hut structure. Another feature related to the older hut 1b is a shallow layer of gravel (SE 1184) discovered slightly southwest of the structure, probably representing a small and spacially limited ground consolidation in the outside activity area of the hut. Probably part of the same occupation layer is a surface that was uncovered directly to the east that was covered by several horizontally placed pottery fragments, most notably the securely intentionally placed rims/lips of two ollae with geometric decoration dating to phase Protodaunian Geometric. Some findings in this area provided further hints to the existence of earlier structures: the section through posthole 1221/1222 (belonging to hut 1) uncovered parts of an older occupation layer (SE 1227) characterized by a horizontal spread of charcoal fragments in which a pit (SE 1228) filled with stones and wattle was dug. These contexts were covered by a levelling layer of min. 0.25m thickness. At this stage of investigations, as a working hypothesis the following points can be noted that there are at least 2 pre-Archaic hut phases, one represented by hut 1b that is situated partly under hut 1 and partly further north, predated by the occupation layer 1227. Some 5-10m southeast of the area of hut 1, the investigations of 2016 concentrated on the excavation of further posthole structures already superficially documented in the 2013/2014 campaigns. For the time being, these represent a puzzling picture of multiple postholes that at this stage can be put together to complete hut layouts only in a fragmentary and hypothetical way, further impeded by the lack of clearly affiliated occupation layers that most likely were eroded or removed by later agricultural activities. Their decipherment will be a major task of future investigations planned by the team. The postholes were fully documented and included datable material was recovered. Interestingly, ceramic material (fragments of banded ware pottery) from a number of postholes in this area indicates that wattle-and-daub construction at the site continued well up into the 4th century BC. North to the posthole area and east of hut 1 a large modern disturbance was identified. Its removal to uncover undisturbed contexts revealed that it was a deep shaft dug by tomb robbers in order to plunder 2 Archaic tombs (tomb 1/16 and 2/16) that were situated in this area in a slightly overlapping way. The analysis of the still recoverable and undisturbed remains allows for some conclusions regarding the original contexts and their dating: Both were pit graves with stone-covered floors and stone alignments along the walls of the chamber carrying large stone slabs as a cover (the remains of these structures were found either still in situ or in the refilled shaft). The younger tomb 1/16 was probably oriented NE-SW and completely robbed. On the floor level of the lower and older tomb 2/16 some relocated skeletal remains of a juvenile or adult individual were recovered, while like in tomb 1/16 nothing was left of the grave goods. The Archaic date of the tombs is nevertheless certain since the stone alignment of tomb 1/16 is located under the Archaic posthole 1164 and the postholes 1202 and 1204 are stratigraphically clearly situated above the occupation layer (containing Protodaunian-Geometric pottery) from which the tombs were dug into the ground. Thus, also this area shows clear signs of a multi-phase history already in the Archaic age.

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