• Monte Bono
  • Casino di Terra
  • Italy
  • Tuscany
  • Pisa
  • Guardistallo


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  • 100


    • In 2007 excavations began on a rural site of Roman date situated on a small plateau close to the confluence of the river Sterza and river Cecina, at circa 400m from the latter’s southern bank. The site is situated in the locality of Monte Bono (Guardistallo, Pisa), in an agricultural area. It was identified during a field survey. During the 2007 and 2008 campaigns an area of 5 x 10 m was explored. Below the humus layers of clay containing stones, tile and pottery were removed, probably deriving from the destruction of the farm structures. Judging from these finds the walls had stone footings constructed using the dry stone technique or bonded with poor mortar. The walls themselves were in unbaked brick or wattle and daub; the roof was of tiles and imbrices. The diagnostic fragments found (black glaze ware, Italian sigilata, thin walled ware, coarse wares, amphorae) were attributable to between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D.. The presence of at least eight dolia suggests the working and storage of dry food stuffs. Finds of imported materials, in particular from the Iberian peninsula, attest the site’s involvement in trade routes which, through the Cecina valley, linked _Vada Volaterrana_ and its port system with Volterra and its territory.
    • In October 2009 the third excavation campaign took place on the Roman rural settlement at Monte Bono (Guardistallo, Pi), situated at the confluence of the rivers Cecina and Sterza. The surface area of the excavation was extended by circa 4.5 m to the south, in order to investigate a previously identified scatter of archaeological material. Levels formed by the destruction of ancient structures were removed, comprising clayey layers containing pottery concentrations, abundant tile, large, medium and small stones. The study of the finds (ARS, amphorae, course ware pottery, metal artefacts) confirmed the site’s economic prosperity in the period between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D., when the site was abandoned. Given the results of this campaign, it is proposed to complete the removal of the destruction layers in order to expose any buried structures that may be present.
    • Between the 18th and 29th October 2010 the fourth excavation campaign took place in the locality of Monte Bono (municipality of Guardistallo). The excavation area was extended to the east and west. The continuity with the US identified in the previous campaigns relating to the destruction of the ancient structures and to the alteration of the archaeological deposit, caused by agricultural activity, was checked. For logistical reasons a test pit (1.50x1.50 m) was dug in the central sector of the trench in order to check the stratigraphy below a substantial mass of material, US 13, present at a depth of between 108 and 139 cm below ground level. At the latter level US 17 was exposed. This was a very compact layer with a yellowish-green sandy-clay matrix, containing a very few fragments of pottery (amphorae and coarse ware), whilst brick/tile seemed absent. The data acquired during the 2010 campaign confirmed with greater precision the chronology of the site’s occupation which dates to between the late Republican period (latest evidence of black glaze ware, fragments of Dressel 1 amphorae) and the 1st century A.D. The absence to date of ARS and decorated late Italian sigillata would seen to indicate that the site was abandoned before the end of the 1st century A.D. The topographical organisation of the structures relating to the layers of accumulated material remains problematical. In fact, the latter are quite thick (30 cm) but, given the presence of at least eight _dolia_ attested by rim fragments, their surface area appears too small to comprise a warehouse and residential structure (the presence of a residential structure was further confirmed by the find of numerous coarse ware and cooking ware fragments and a third loom weight). A greater understanding of this problem, through a further increase in the excavation area, will be the main objective of future campaigns.
    • Between the 10th and 21st October 2011, the fifth excavation campaign took place in the locality of Monte Bono (Guardistallo, Pisa). Trench I was extended to the west in order to check the continuity of US 13 2010 visible in section. The continuity was documented of the layers identified in previous campaigns, both those formed as a result of the destruction of the ancient structures and those relating to the alteration of the archaeological deposit by agricultural activitiy. Following the cleaning of the trench, the US 7, 8, 10 and 16 were removed, revealing US 13, present across the entire trench and containing pottery and tile/brick fragments and large to medium sized stones. The layer was present at different depths, more superficial in the eastern sector, and was very thick in the central and western sectors. The removal of US 13 will be completed in the next campaign. For operative reasons it was decided to continue the excavation of the sondage (1.50 x 1.50 m), opened in the central sector of the trench where, in 2010, US 17 had been exposed below US 13. This layer had a compact sandy-clay matrix, yellowish-green in colour, containing occasional fragments of amphora and coarse pottery which had probably filtered down from US 13 above. The data from the 2011 excavations confirmed the site’s dating to between the late Republican period (latest attestations of black gloss ware, fragments of Dressel I amphora) and 80 A.D. (presence of a FORTIS stamp on the bottom of a lamp, absence of ARS A and late decorated Italian sigillata). The layout of the structure below the accumulation of material (US 13), characterised by its thickness (up to 30 cm in the central area) and an abundance of archaeological material (tiles, imbrices, pottery of all classes – table, cooking and storage wares etc. – amphora and dolia), remains uncertain. The main structure must have been used for storage (at least 8 dolia were found), and also have been residential/productive in function (numerous fragments of coarse wares and cooking wares as well as at least 10 loom weights). The limited size of the deposit (7 m NS x 9 m EW), may suggest that this was a two storey building, the lower floor used for storage and the upper for residential purposes.
    • The fifth campaign at the locality of Monte Bono (Guardistallo, Pisa) took place between the 8th-19th October. Following cleaning, layer US 13 was exposed comprising an accumulation of various materials (brick/tile, table ware and coarse ware pottery, amphorae) and medium to large stones, already partially removed during the 2011 campaign. US 13 was completely removed revealing the following clayey layers characterized by the presence of sporadic archaeological material, already identified in earlier seasons: - In the northern sector US 3 (2008); - In the western sector US 15 (2010); - In the southern and eastern sectors US 14 (2009). - In the central western part of the trench, US 16 (2011) was exposed below US 13. This sub-circular layer of small and medium sized stones and yellowish clay was partially excavated in 2011. Layers US 20 (yellowish clay with small stones, sub-circular form at the centre of the excavation area) and US 21 (whitish very compact clay, in the north-eastern part of the trench) were also identified. Due to bad weather, these layers were recorded but not excavated. The evidence that emerged from the 2012 excavation confirmed that the site’s chronology ranged between the late Republican period (latest evidence black gloss pottery, fragments of Dressel I amphora) and 80 A.D. (presence of a _Fortis_ stamp on a lamp base; absence of ARS and late Italic decorated sigillata). A problem remains regarding the identification of the structure relating to US 13. This accumulation of materials was quite deep (up to 30 cm) at the centre of the trench and contained a substantial quantity of archaeological material – ceramic tableware, cooking ware, storage vessels etc, amphorae, _dolia_), but very few small finds. This building was probably a warehouse (at least 8-10 _dolia_ were found), but was also residential (attested by the large quantity of coarse and cooking wares, as well as at least 25 loom weights). The reduced size of the deposit (about 7 m north-south x 9 m east-west) suggests the presence of an upper floor (basement storage and living quarters upstairs), but this remains a hypothesis to be confirmed or not by future excavations.


    • M. Pasquinucci, S. Genovesi, N. Leone, P. Sangriso, 2008, Ricerche archeologiche e topografiche in ambito volterrano e bassa val di Cecina. Monte Bono (Guardistallo, Pi): la campagna 2007, in Quaderni del Laboratorio Universitario Volterrano XI, 2006-2007: 213-220.
    • M. Pasquinucci, S. Genovesi, N. Leone, P. Sangriso, 2009, Guardistallo (Pi). Monte Bono: la campagna 2007, in Quaderni del Laboratorio Universitario Volterrano XII: 57-66.
    • M. Pasquinucci, S. Genovesi, P. Sangriso, N. Leone, 2007-2008, Montebono (Guardistallo, PI): la campagna 2008, in Quaderni del Laboratorio Volterrano XII: 57-66.