• Serra Cicora
  • Nardò
  • Italy
  • Apulia
  • Provincia di Lecce
  • Nardò


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 5000 BC - 3300 BC


    • The plateau of Serra Cicoria is in an elevated position overlooking the surrounding territory (circa 46 m a.s.l.). Surrounding the plateau, following the scarp, are the remains of a dry-stone wall (which must have been imposing judging by its width of 2 m at the base) comprising two outer facings filled with a core of earth and stones. The wall must have been interrupted at the cliff which overlooks the modern provincial road between S. Isidoro and Santa Caterina. The plateau’s history dates to the early Neolithic period, as attested by impressed and graffito pottery fragments scattered over the entire area. There was archaeological evidence for this first phase in all three of the sectors investigated (IV, V and VI). In particular, in sector IV, in direct contact with the bedrock there was a layer of baked clay with post-holes made in the natural cavities and pottery with impressed and graffito decoration. The dating for this phase falls between 5670 and 5480 B.C. Further confirmation of early Neolithic occupation was provided by a burial of a single individual below the curtain wall, in the tract near the present point of access to the plateau: it dates to circa 5740-5620 B.C. Sector VI also produced undisturbed evidence of early Neolithic occupation in the form of pottery with impressed and graffito decoration. This was associated with areas showing traces of burning and large quantities of plaster, a fragment of which datable to 5740-5550 B.C. The successive occupation of the site relates to a Serra d’Alto-Diana phase which takes shape largely in the context of cult and funerary spheres. Most of the burials found both below the curtain wall and in the centre of the plateau date to this period. The evidence brought to light by the excavation this year confirms that the site was in use from the middle of the 6th millennium B.C. and, during the 5th millennium was used for funerary purposes. There did not seem to be a change in the artefacts corresponding with later groups: the technology, shape and decoration of the pottery containers remained that of impressed ware. There were few finds of Serra d’Alto-Diana pottery and in some cases it was associated with impressed ware. Therefore, the hypothesis of a contiguous chronology between the culture of impressed pottery and that of Serra d’Alto may be valid.
    • The object of this campaign was to extend the excavation area to the south-west. This involved the demolition of two limestone boulders. The grid was set up in the new area and an extensive survey of the exposed surface carried out. The area slopes east-west and is characterised by stony outcrops. Leaves and humus, patched with sediment from excavation and sieving activities from the Borzatti excavations, were cleared. The surface cleaning exposed an erosion surface (11a) across almost the entire extension, which covered a layer of brown soil (US 11). Two further contexts were identified on the surface of US 11, identified as US 8 and 9. Layers US 10 and 8 were then excavated. Layer US 8 was a residual patch of yellowish-brown soil with a find sandy matrix lying sub-horizontally up against the rock face. The context was excavated in four spits and contained numerous fragments of impasto pottery from one vessel, and a substantial concentration of marine malacofauna (mussels, patellidae). The finds give an approximate Iron Age date for US 8. In the south-western zone, US 11 was covered by a pocket of reddish sand, of recent and natural origin, US 10 (Tab. 1 of 4). This contained a few lithics, pottery fragments and a human phalange. Two of the three large boulders shown on the general plan were removed. They rested directly on US 11 and a well-preserved tortoise shell was found beneath the south-westernmost one. Given the importance of this faunal element for the reconstruction of the paleo-environment in post-Palaeolithic periods, it was decided to include a 3D survey of this area of the excavation in the site documentation. The extension opened this season revealed a stratigraphic sequence that provided a substantial amount of information about the dynamics of the territory’s formation and transformation in the post-Palaeolithic phases. The radiometric dating planned for this year will be able to insert this new data into a more detailed overall chronology.


    • A.G. Spennato, 1981, I livelli protoaurignaziani della grotta di Serra Cicora (Nardò – Lecce), Studi per l\'Ecologia del Quaternario, 3: 61-76.
    • S. Campetti, 1986, Il Musteriano della grotta di Serra Cicora A nell\'ambito dell\'evoluzione del Paleolitico nel Salento, Studi per l\'Ecologia del Quaternario, 8: 85-115.
    • F. Ranaldo, c.s., L’arco ionico pugliese tra la fine del Paleolitico medio e gli esordi del Paleolitico superiore: problemi e prospettive di ricerca per la ricostruzione dei sistemi antropici. Atti XLVII Riunione Scientifica dell’Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria Preistoria e Protostoria della Puglia - Ostuni 2012.
    • A. Palma di Cesnola, 1966, Il Paleolitico superiore arcaico (facies uluzziana) della Grotta del Cavallo, Lecce (continuazione), Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche, XXI: 3-59.