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  • Incoronata
  • Metaponto
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  • Italy
  • Basilicate
  • Provincia di Matera
  • Pisticci

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Chronology

  • 800 BC - 600 BC

Season

    • Work at Incoronata di Metaponto has re-started, the main objective being to set up the research programme and excavation plan for next year. This will be based on a careful examination of the state of both the archaeology and terrain. To this end, the hill, its slopes and the surrounding area have been surveyed. A magnetometer survey has been carried out on the Greek settlement and an archaeological plan of the area has been made using GPS. This research aims to understand the spatial organization within the hilltop settlement, re-examine the function of the spaces and investigate the non-residential areas. A further objective is the construction of chronological grids for each phase of the settlement's life.
    • Following the digging of trial-trenches last year, excavations were reopened in September 2003 at Incoronata di Metaponto. This research aims at a fuller understanding of the site's topography and the nature of the Greek settlement in the first half of the 7th century B.C. Trenches were dug on the western part of the hill, in correspondance with an obbligatory point of passage towards the route leading from the Basento valley up to the river's source. The excavation revealed large scale terracing at a point in which the hill needed consolidating. This was composed of a deposit of pinkish, very compact soil mixed with numerous bricks, covering an area of 15 x 6m. A section cut on its south side verified its substantial depth (c. 1m) and revealed the deposit on which it rested. This was also circa 1m deep and was made up of fine earth mixed with clay and was rich in pottery. The pottery, which fits within the Incoronata chronology", includes imports but is mainly indigenous. The building technique employed and the planning which such an imposing construction suggest appear to be coherent with other settlements in the Greek world of the proto-archaic period (see the nearby site of Siris).
    • Research conducted on the Incoronata hill at Metaponto aims to gain an understanding of the topography, function and nature of the Greek settlement of the first half of the 7th century B.C. and its relationship with the indigenous Iron Age village. To this end, the excavation on the large 'plateau' in the north-western area of the hill has been re-opened. These investigations have confirmed the nature of this imposing terrace which was constructed using very compact clayey soil reinforced in its upper level by a large quantity of reused, broken bricks and by pebbles and pottery sherds in the lower part. The terrace, completely impermeable and reinforced at the extremities with irregular stone blocks which run along the edges of the hill, was built to fill a natural hollow in the hillside. An interesting find, situated just above natural, was a pit relating to the building's foundation ritual. The fill of blackish soil contained numerous burnt inclusions, bones and the upper half of a polychrome _amphoriskos_. The vessel, probably imported and dating to the earliest phase of the Greek settlement, was broken before deposition in the pit. The chronology seems to be confirmed by the type of pottery found within the layers forming the -plateau'. It is mostly indigenous, but also of colonial production, and dates to between the end of the 8th century B.C. and the beginning of the 7th century B.C. Further excavation was undertaken on the extreme north-west end of the hill, in corrispondence with a trench already begun by Piero Orlandini, in which Medieval remains came to light. Lastly, a small trench dug in the north-eastern part of the hill along the northern slopes of the modern approach road, revealed pottery fragments of colonial production: stamnoi, painted deinoi, a relief decorated pithos and a perirrhanterion (large basin on a stand)e.
    • The 2005 campaign excavated two adjacent sectors: “Sector 1” on the south-eastern part of the hill, in correspondence with the plateau uncovered during previous campaigns, and “Sector 4”, further north, in the zone where excavations by the University of Milan had uncovered an outstanding number of oikoi. _Sector 1_ A large trench, 9 x 7 m, was put in south of the plateau excavated in previous campaigns, with the aim of clarifying the nature and function of this artificial structuring of the southern edge of the hill. This imposing artificial terracing appeared to be consolidated, along the edge of the hill, by a layer of river cobbles directly overlying a surface belonging to an earlier phase. Immediately south of this beaten surface the remains of one or more kilns emerged which, if subsequent investigations confirm them to be in situ, appeared to be arranged along the hill slope, exploiting both the slope and the artificial terracing to which the beaten surface was attached. To date the upper levels of the collapse have been excavated, constituted by – in the interior a substantial layer of earth mixed with ash – the remains of the vault and of the clay grill, mixed with numerous vitrified elements, bronze elements, remains of burnt wood, a number of spindle whorls and numerous fragments of mostly indigenous pottery. This included thin walled ware jars, found almost intact, impasto pottery, coarse wares and fragments of colonial cups, plain buff ware vases and a handle from a Corinthian amphora. Most of the vases showed heavy traces of burning on the surface, attesting the fact that the kiln, or kilns, were destroyed when they were still in use. Continuation of the excavation will probably reveal the entire craft-working structure and, in particular, its exact use. It is hoped that it was connected with the production of the substantial amount of pottery that it is known was produced here. In any case, the remains of the kiln constitute some of the earliest well-preserved evidence of this type (7th century B.C.) excavated in Magna Graecia. It is very likely that this is not an isolated find, but was part of a workshop area situated on this part of the hill. Moreover, the association of Greek and indigenous pottery, in use at the same time in the kiln area, makes it possible to take a new critical look at the historical-archaeological interpretation proposed by previous excavators regarding the existence at Incoronata of an 8th century B.C. indigenous settlement that was clearly distinguished from a subsequent Greek phase. Thus, it appears possible to begin formulating a hypothesis regarding the existence of an intermediate phase, of mixed character, for which the next excavation campaigns will provide a more definitive chronology. _Sector 4_ In the central zone of the western area of the hill, between the old trenches P and Q dug by Milan University, a trench was put in with the aim of taking a direct look at the problems of the historical-archaeological interpretation of the structures interpreted to date as oikoi and house-warehouses belonging to the 7th century B.C. Greek settlement. The excavation brought to light the upper part of a new deposit of stones and pottery fragments, mostly of Greek production (local and imported) mixed together: necks, handles, rims and bases of numerous amphorae, Attic and Corinthian in particular; two oinochoai, a cup and two undecorated louteria, as well as a substantial deposit of shells. Furthermore, the profiles of circular pits belonging to the preceding phase began to appear. Work in the trench, where particular attention was paid to the pottery find contexts and therefore took a long time, will continue next year.
    • The 2006 excavation campaign concentrated on “Sector 1”, at the southern edge of the north-western part of the hill. Here a floor and containing layer were present, as well as charcoal elements, vitrified fragments and ash, numerous clay elements belonging to one or more kilns. In fact, the latter contained the collapse of a large number of clay elements from the one or more kilns that were completely destroyed. Most of these elements, some of which were large, were part of the vault, the grill and the walls and were found mixed with pottery fragments the majority of which bore traces of burning. This was mainly Enotrian pottery, characterised overall by high technical and stylistic quality (plain buff, monochrome and bichrome) associated with locally made Greek pottery, grey ware, Corinthian amphorae, large containers and imported Greek pottery. A loom weight, bronze elements and rim fragments from a bronze vessel were also found. The structures may be attributed to a workshop for the production of Enotrian pottery, as suggested by the high density of fragments of indigenous pottery associated with the kiln remains, the presence of kiln wasters, of a large bichrome container which held substantial remains of solidified liquid clay, of body sherds mended in antiquity (holes for the insertion of cramps) and of body sherds with incised letters. Of particular interest within one of the contexts of this type was a find of vessel forms characterised by decorative motifs of the Greek repertory that would have been reproduced by Greek potters working on the site (an imported hydria neck and an exact local copy), but also interpreted by indigenous potters (a cup of Enotrian decoration and clay, but of Greek form). The manner in which the kiln remains were discovered together with a series of motivations dictated by the stratigraphy suggest that this was a collapse caused by destruction that occurred whilst the complex was still functioning (as the burning on the surface of the vases would seem to show). The clay elements, uniformly present throughout the area, were repeatedly amassed in “strips”, large concentrations of kiln fragments and pottery, which lay in a regular pattern perpendicular to the floor. These mainly occured in correspondence with large hollows in the beaten earth below which may be interpreted as the edges of the kiln housings. In fact, the curving southern profile of the floor corresponded to them. The entire layer of the kiln collapse overlay a very compact yellowish earth surface. A small trench dug in the north-eastern corner demonstrated that it contained no colonial pottery but only indigenous ceramics, therefore it was possible to attribute it to the Enotrian phase of the settlement. From what is known at present it is possible to identify at least two phases: - phase 1, characterised by remains belonging to a workshop area datable to the first half of the 7th century B.C. The kilns appeared to have been on one level and to have functioned with the pavement which surrounded them to the north. The area may be attributed to an occupation phase of the Incoronata which did not correspond with the 8th century indigenous settlement preceding the Greek settlement (University of Milan hypothesis) but to a point within the 7th century when the production of Greek pottery had already begun on the hill. This would account for the existence of an occupation phase of a mixed character, Greek together with Enotrian, now finally stratigraphically and chronologically defined. - Phase 2, in which the entire area was obliterated by a layer of levelling which was connected to the substantial fill brought to light during preceding campaigns towards the interior of the hill, the extensive terracing which filled a deep depression (natural? artificial?) thanks also to the reuse of numerous bricks. This vast levelling layer, characterised by very compact greyish earth, can be dated to a late phase of the 7th century B.C. (probably around the middle) on the basis of the presence within it – together with minute fragments of dumped indigenous and Greek pottery – of imported pottery which dated to after the middle of the century (Wild Goat Style). An interesting hypothesis – yet to be checked – could be that this intervention was the result of the overall obliteration of the area connected with the creation of the numerous rich deposits of pottery (mainly Greek) present at several points to the north of this terracing (the so-called oikoi excavated by the University of Milan).
    • The 2007 excavation centred on the north-western area of the hill (“Settore 4”, in correspondence with the area excavated during the 1980s and 1990s by the University of Milan). The trench begun in 2005, which revealed one of the many deposits of pottery and stones characterising the upper levels of the hill, was reopened. The need to clarify the stratigraphic relationships (and therefore chronological and functional relationships) between this deposit and the elements in context with it – in particular the pits adjacent to or below it – led to the excavation of an area of only 5 x 6 m. The same attention was paid to the understanding of the ways in which the numerous objects present, large containers of finely made pottery of Greek production, had been deposited. The present state of knowledge indicates that the area was characterised by two occupation phases and a destruction phase. _Phase one occupation: the pits_ The earliest occupation phase appeared to be characterised by a series of pits made at the same time and perfectly circular in shape (diameter between circa 2 and 1.5 m). They were cut into sterile terrain and aligned on an east-west axis, following a defined and functional topographic project. Their shape and careful manufacture, their decreasing size and the clayey nature of the terrain in which they were cut seems to suggest that they were used for the settling and preparation of clay. This working hypothesis is also based on the consideration of the nature of the occupation of the area brought to light in the adjacent “Settore 1”. This was a workshop area contemporary with this phase, dating to the final moment of the Enotrian occupation at Incoronata (first half of the 7th century B.C., characterised by the presence of both Greek and indigenous elements), as was shown by the excavation of “Settore 1” (2005 and 2006 campaigns). _Phase two occupation: the deposit_ At a subsequent time, and probably not too distant from the moment when the pits were obliterated, a large deposit of mainly Greek pottery was formed. This filled a large rectangular cavity which cut both the sterile terrain and the pits below. The deposit was created during the course of the third quarter of the 7th century B.C., the period which corresponds to the final occupation phase on the hill. The absolute chronology was provided by the presence of a late Proto-Corinthian kotyle. The pottery recovered, in contrast to that found within the pits, was very well preserved: many of the vases could be completely reconstructed, whilst others had clearly been deposited intact. Moreover, the excavation demonstrated the impossibility of identifying any type of construction (an “oikos” according to the interpretation of the excavators from Milan University in these deposits of pottery mixed with stones. Neither could it be shown that the deposit had any relationship – functional or chronological – with the adjacent or below pits. On the contrary, what emerged very clearly was that the pottery and stones were deposited through progressive activity in the subsequent manner: a) a deeper deposition of fine, painted, thin walled ware vases, locally produced, mainly belonging to one (or more) services for libations, (cups, drinking vessels, oinochoai, stamnoi). These vases were extremely well preserved: some were still intact, others had been purposely broken; b) this level was covered by large irregular stones, sherds from the bodies and necks of large containers: Corinthian, Attic and eastern Greek amphorae, pithoi, louteria. These containers – all forms for holding liquids – often appeared to have been deliberately placed in a position which protected the smaller delicate vases below, so much so that the latter were preserved intact. This type of deposition is extremely coherent with the ritual pottery depositions commonly found on Mediterranean cult sites of the Archaic period. The form of their deposition thus provided a precise indication of the probable function of these deposits.
    • _Settore 4_ E’ stato portato a termine lo scavo di uno dei depositi di ceramica (terzo quarto del VII secolo a.C., Fase 1) realizzati direttamente nel banco di argilla che costituisce lo strato geologico superiore della collina, già portati alla luce dagli scavi dell’Università di Milano e nel corso delle nostre campagne 2005 e 2007. Nuove tracce di pratiche rituali sono state identificate nelle modalità di deposizione della ceramica e di altri oggetti, tra cui un’ascia miniaturistica in bronzo. Si è potuto definitivamente confermare l’ipotesi formulata lo scorso anno, che interpreta le fosse circolari della fase precedente (appartenenti alla Fase 3, e riempite intorno alla metà del VII secolo – Fase 2) come fosse per la decantazione dell’argilla: il completamento dello scavo della fossa più grande ha infatti rivelato la presenza di cospicui resti di argilla sul suo fondo. Nell’angolo sud-orientale del saggio è inoltre emersa una nuova fossa, di forma quadrangolare e di più grandi dimensioni, nella quale ancora più cospicui appaiono i resti dell’argilla di decantazione, ancora in situ lungo le pareti del suo lato meridionale. A sud delle tre fosse circolari è stato individuato un battuto in terra, che corrisponde al piano di calpestio relativo alla fase in cui sono stati realizzati i depositi (Fase 1). Alla fase pertinente all’area produttiva (Fase 3) appartiene invece una buca di palo, la quale apre ora nuove prospettive di ricerca in questo settore, suggerendo la verosimile presenza di un edificio connesso al funzionamento del complesso artigianale. _Settore 1_ L’area appare caratterizzata, come ormai noto, da un grande strato che ha ricoperto integralmente ogni evidenza precedente, frutto di una vasta operazione di livellamento del suolo – corrispondente a quanto appena osservato nel Settore 4 – databile intorno alla metà del VII secolo (Fase 2). Ai limiti delle pendici meridionali del plateau collinare, in concomitanza con quanto avvenuto nel Settore 4 dove erano state riempite le fosse per la decantazione dell’argilla, questo piano ha obliterato ogni struttura precedente, tra cui quelle pertinenti all’area artigianale della Fase 3 (strato ricco di resti di forni). Poco lontano da quest’area, da cui lo divide un pavimento, nel corso delle precedenti campagne era stata portata alla luce un’enorme cavità scavata nella collina, che raggiunge il terreno vergine sabbioso a una profondità di quasi 2 metri e mezzo dal suolo. Essa è stata obliterata mediante un grande riempimento di terra (Fase 2, metà del VII secolo a.C.) riversato nello stesso momento in cui sono state riempite le fosse nel Settore 4, la cui superficie costituisce il suolo dell’ultima fase di occupazione. Grazie a nuovi dati stratigrafici e contestuali, è stato possibile quest’anno comprendere definitivamente la natura artificiale di questa enorme depressione: una grande cava dell’argilla di cui è costituito lo strato geologico più superficiale della collina, dotata di gradini per l’accesso. Il quadro generale che ne deriva, ormai piuttosto coerente, traccia le coordinate di un’area artigianale di notevoli dimensioni, comprendente i forni, la cava di argilla, le fosse per la decantazione dell’argilla. Questo complesso ha dovuto funzionare in un momento di occupazione “mista” della collina, la prima metà del VII secolo a.C. (Fase 3). Quest’area artigianale ha riutilizzato le strutture pertinenti alla fase precedente. Lungo il bordo meridionale della collina, tra la cava di argilla a nord e l’area dei forni a sud, è stato infatti portato alla luce – al di sotto dello strato di obliterazione della Fase 2, - un grande pavimento conservato su una lunghezza di almeno una dozzina di metri e una larghezza ridotta (di circa 3 m), in quanto i sui limiti nord e sud sono stati strappati al momento delle realizzazione della cava di argilla a nord e dell’installazione dei forni a sud. Costituito da un fine battuto, estremamente solido e duro, di minuscole pietre e di frammenti ceramici, il pavimento presenta uno stato di conservazione eccezionale, e appare consolidato da grosse pietre e da puddinga concentrate soprattutto lungo il suo limite meridionale, le quali si appoggiano a un grande strato di terra di sostruzione che al suo interno contiene esclusivamente ceramica enotria: monocroma, acroma, grandi contenitori, a impasto; estremamente rari sono i frammenti di ceramica bicroma, mentre si nota una non secondaria presenza di ceramica buccheroide (rossa e nera). Tali elementi invitano a datare tale struttura al terzo quarto – seconda metà dell’VIII secolo a.C. (Fase 4, la cui cronologia andrà precisata ulteriormente). La ruderatio di questo pavimento si appoggia a sua volta su un suolo più antico, che insiste direttamente sullo strato vergine di argilla ed è costituito da un battuto di ciottoli di dimensioni piccole e medie e di frammenti di ceramica, i quali ne suggeriscono una datazione all’interno della prima metà dell’VIII secolo a.C. (Fase 5). L’alta qualità tecnica della realizzazione dei due pavimenti, il loro eccezionale stato di conservazione, la notevole estensione di almeno uno di essi e la loro alta cronologia, tracciano per la prima volta il quadro della reale importanza che le fasi dell’età del Ferro (Fasi 4 e 5) hanno dovuto assumere nella storia dell’occupazione dell’Incoronata.
    • The seventh excavation campaign was undertaken on the north-western area of the hill, where the excavation of “Sector 1”, situated along the southern edge of the plateau, was extended. A more limited investigation took place in “Sector 4” in the centre of the plateau. Sector 1 was extended in order to acquire more data relating to the two 8th century B.C. floors. The extension of the trench to the east and west revealed the total width of the floor to be 18 m. The removal of a further section of its substructure confirmed a chronology that pre-dated the passage between the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. The locally produced Greek pottery, characterizing the first half of the 7th century B.C., was absent, the archaeological horizon appeared anchored to the Enotrian culture of the 7th century B.C., as suggested by the numerous fragments of dark red and black buccheroide impasto pottery and the geometric Enotrian pottery of early date. This monumental construction may be attributed to the second half of the 8th century B.C. (Phase 4). At the eastern limit of Sector 1, a little to the north of the floor’s edge, the extension of the trench brought to light a new deposit, within the 7th century B.C. layer of obliteration and levelling, of pottery mixed with stones. The deposit datable from the mid 7th century B.C. onwards, appeared smaller in size (but the excavation is not complete) than the large deposits uncovered further north (Sector 4 and University of Milan excavations). The manner of the deposition, the voluntary breaking of the vases, the chronology of the pottery classes (mainly Greek), appear the same as those present in the latter deposits. The ritual gestures and the choice of pottery forms suggest that this was a “foundation” deposit for the levelling, and they appear coherent with those characteristic of the larger deposits uncovered to the north. In the same sector, beyond the northern edge of the floor, “torn up” during the course of the first half of the 7th century B.C. (Phase 3), two new post holes appeared (another had emerged previously made in the floor surface), relating to a surface that seemed be a “continuation” of the floor situated to the north. This was probably the remains of the craft working area that was active during the first half of the 7th century B.C. (Phase 3). In the south-eastern area of Sector 1 the layers overlying the cobbled surface were excavated. A fragment of a Corinthian Middle Geometric II _protokotyle_ decorated with chevrons dated the use of the cobbled surface to during the first half of the 8th century B.C., and confirmed the chronology of its construction proposed last year: at least within the first half of the same century and probably within the first quarter (Phase 5). This find, together with the analogous find made by the University of Milan (trench A1), confirmed the “international” contacts that characterised the emergence of the Enotrian communities of this area in the phases preceding the arrival of the Greek communities in the proto-colonial period. In Sector 4 the remains of settled clay, previously found still in situ inside a number of circular pits, appeared even clearer on the bottom of another larger pit of quadrangular form (Phase 3, pre-mid 7th century B.C.). This emerged along the south side of the circular pits but was only partially excavated. Immediately below the humus the floor level belonging to the last occupation phase of the area came to light, relating to the realisation of the deposits (third quarter of the 7th century B.C., Phase 1), characterised by ritual actions connected with the creation of large pottery deposits and the definitive levelling-obliteration of the craft working area to which the pits belonged.
    • Sector 1 of the excavation, along the southern edge of the plateau, was enlarged. The aim was to gain further understanding of the function a) of the great pavement extending for at least twenty metres along the southern edge of the area, on an artificially terraced zone dating to from the beginning of the 8th century B.C.; b) of the structures belonging to a craft-working area dating to the beginning of the 7th century B.C., adjacent to the pavement. In sector 1, immediately below the humus, there was a substantial greyish layer resulting from a clearing-levelling operation dating to the mid 7th century B.C. and completely covering all earlier evidence. A large part of this was removed revealing a substantial concentration of medium and large sized cobbles (height 15-25 cm) above the pavement, probably functioning to obliterate and preserve the earlier structures. In the northern part of the excavation area a substantial layer of very hard, clayey earth emerged, containing numerous stones placed with their flat surfaces uppermost. Three large impasto containers were present, whose fragments all joined and lay horizontally, an indication of that they were probably originally in situ here. The association with locally produced Greek pottery confirmed the dating of this layer and (possible) structure to the latest occupation phases on the hill (late 7th century B.C.) Levels from an earlier phase (mid 7th century) emerged south of this layer and north of the paving. They comprised an ample layer of bright red clayey soil, whose surface in several places showed heavy traces of firing in a reducing atmosphere, surrounded by several layers of over-fired and shapeless clay layers. The profile of the excavated section appeared to be circular (diam. about 3 m; thickness of the rubefied surface 1-2 cm). Significant kiln wasters relating to monochrome Enotrian vases and plain ware pottery, associated with fragments from the perforated kiln floor were found in contact with this surface. Thus, it may be identified as the lower floor of one (or more?) kilns used for pottery production. A concentration of wasters and/or over-fired pottery fragments together with kiln sections was found along one of the (probable) surviving edges of the structure, built in clay and already partially documented previously. There was no Greek pottery, whilst for the moment only late Geometric painted monochrome pottery diffused in the Bradano area and in the Salento is attested. On the basis of this new discovery it seems likely that the numerous kiln remains which came to light in the layer of earth and ash immediately south of the paving belonged to the kiln (or kilns) which were situated just north of the paving, and that they had been thrown beyond the paving, towards the south, when the craft-working area was abandoned. In fact, the bottom of the kiln, although quite “clean” preserved some waste products from pottery production which had accumulated in particular along the edges. This important find forms another element of the craft-working area of which to date the large clay quarry situated a few metres away, the numerous settling tanks, round and occasionally rectangular, which are scattered across the entire surface on this part of the hill, and the remains of the upper parts of the kilns described are known. It is difficult to read their precise functional-chronological relationship with the adjacent paving and post holes. However, the stratigraphy and a preliminary analysis of the archaeological material associate it with the phases between the end of the 8th and the first half of the 7th century B.C.
    • The west part of Sector 1, in the north-eastern area of the hill, was enlarged by 6 x 6 m. This led to the exposure of a new area of the large floor US 38, without however reaching its edge. The surface of minute cobbles was 25 m long, on a perfect east-west alignment with a uniform level for the entire length. It overlay a substantial artificial ruderatio (of earth and stones) datable to the 8th century B.C. With the aim of defining the nature and limits of this structure, most of the large layer of fine greyish soil was removed that completely covered the sector at the edge of the hill, and took the form of a concentration of large cobbles in correspondence with the floor. The creation of these massive “covering” layers appeared to be the result of a vast operation of razing, levelling and obliteration. An interesting example of figured pottery, probably from Chios, and an Ionian cup datable to the end of the 7th century B.C. were found within the obliteration layers. This evidence – in association with the dating of the eastern Greek and Laconian amphorae present within coeval deposits – confirmed that the abandonment of the site can no longer be dated to the third quarter of the century (as previously thought) but to at least the last quarter of the 7th century B.C. In the north-eastern zone of Sector 1, the excavation of the craft-working area was extended (10 x 13 m). This area included an underground clay quarry, the remains of kilns, kiln wasters, firing surfaces and developed to the north of the cobble floor. The excavation revealed, at a few centimetres below the humus, a layer of earth covering an extensive surface relating to the last phase of use of this production area. It was characterised by the presence of marked concentrations of baked clay, layers of earth that had been exposed to fire (reddened and/or blackened), fired and blackened vegetal remains. Large concentrations of pottery fragments were also present, belonging to single vessels made of plain and impasto wares of Greek and Enotrian production, datable to the 7th century B.C., corresponding with the final phase of the craft-working area and further attesting the “mixed” nature of the 7th century occupation phase. Further north, a row of small stones was uncovered, about 3.5 m long and on an east-west alignment. Due to its reduced measurements, at present it is not interpreted as an actual wall. Still further north was an area characterised by a substantial concentration of jumbled together stones and brick fragments, whose function has yet to be determined. Excavations also began in the zone between the surfaces relating to the craft-working area and the eastern edge of the clay quarry, with the aim of analysing the stratigraphical and chronological relationships between these features. This led to the identification of the eastern edge of the cut for the underground clay quarry. In order to gain a further data regarding the functioning of the craft-working area, samples were taken from the firing floor and from patches of baked clay.
    • This year’s excavations on the western part of the Incoronata hill were extended and deepened. This produced a substantial of new data regarding the nature and functions of the various occupation phases on the site. Evidence dating to the Enotrian phase (8th century B.C.) was uncovered of pottery production (kiln remains and wasters) to one side of the extensive cobbled floor (US 70, fig. 1), and on the other side there was evidence of ritual practices, probably relating to a specifically structured space (still being excavated), which developed towards the south. It appears significant that these two activities – which fundamentally characterise the entire Greco-Enotrian _facies_ of the subsequent century – were already present at Incoronata in the indigenous phase of the 8th century B.C. Towards the end of the 8th century-beginning of the 7th century these structures were systematically obliterated by a ritual closure (which preserved them) and a new floor was created (US 38) overlying the earlier one, using the dumped layers of stones and earth as a substructure. This new, imposing structure (the floor perfectly aligned east-west, at present measures 26 m in length, fig.2) dates to the period of the first Greek materials found _in situ_, that is the beginning of the Greek presence on the hill. It seems possible (although this hypothesis must be confirmed by further excavation) that the two floors were on the same alignment. If this significant fact is confirmed, we may be in the presence of a single monumental building, founded in the 8th century B.C. and then rebuilt on the same site when a Greek community settled here between the end of the 8th and beginning of the 7th century B.C. In the western part of the sector new, important elements came to light, linked both topographically and chronologically with the large floor (US 38): a longitudinal structure built of stones and earth, on a north-south alignment, which stopped at the point of contact with the surface in question. This was a great “scarp” of stones, cobbles, and earth, bordering the floor surface along the south edge of the hill. It is still not possible to say whether they were part of a construction. In the 7th century, there was a phase of mixed, Greco-indigenous occupation, characterised by the large craft working area, which developed to the north of floor US 38. Postholes, the bottom of a pottery kiln, clay settling basins, and a large underground clay pit had already been identified, and the new evidence attested the continuation of pottery production (there were also traces of metalworking) in several periods during the 7th century B.C. Permanent structures and several pieces of equipment, (including the support for a potter’s wheel) were found on several levels. To the north of this area, beyond a row of small stones, new evidence was revealed of the numerous ritual activities undertaken at Incoronata during the various occupation phases. The foot of an SOS amphora, the bottom of which had been carefully cut off, was fixed vertically into the ground like a “terracotta pipe” for pouring libations (fig. 3). Evidence for ritual practices constantly characterise the archaeology in this sector of the hill, and this find consolidates the overall picture provided by the archaeological evidence uncovered in recent years. The stratigraphy, topography, and typology of the ritual context suggest a continuity of ritual activity in this area.
    • A new oval pit (3 x 1.60 m) was uncovered at the centre of the plateau (sector 4). Filled with ashy soil containing numerous pottery fragments, it was covered by a deposit of soil, stones, and pottery. These characteristics confirmed previous knowledge of the methods used to fill and obliterate these pits: fragments of Greek and local pottery and some intact vessels were thrown into the soil mixed with ash when the craft working area was obliterated. The deposit of pottery inside the pit was the result of ritual practices (end of the 7th century B.C.) including the placing of an upturned vessel at the bottom of the deposit, protected by body sherds from large storage vessels. Along the southern edge of the plateau (Sector 1), the Enotrian floor, underlying the 8th century floor, continued to the west covering the same area as the later floor. This confirmed that the earliest 8th century B.C. floor must have had the same extension as the re-make of the floor at the end of the 8th century B.C., and that the entire area had the same function throughout both centuries of the hill’s occupation. In 2012, a stone and earth structure was uncovered at the western end of the plateau. The structure was built on a higher level than the floor (fig. 1). Only Enotrian pottery was present within the building suggesting it belonged to a phase pre-dating the establishment of the Greek community on the hill, and therefore still within the 8th century B.C. To the north of these floors, excavation continued in the craft working area, in particular on the subcircular structure identified last season characterised at the surface by a layer of burnt baked clay. The fill was made up of at least three layers of ash containing kiln fragments. It was situated next to an apsidal building on a north-west/south-east alignment, with the entrance on the east side (6 x 4 m), almost completely preserved at foundation level (fig. 2). Two flat stones in the centre can be interpreted as the bases for the two central pillars supporting the roof. A substantial layer of collapsed bricks may be the remains of the walls. The construction typology suggests this was a cult building, or the residence of the community’s leader. At the centre of the apse, a double ritual feature was uncovered (datable to the 7th century B.C.). The bottom of an SOS amphora, cut and fixed vertically into the ground as a libation tube, and ritual remains comprising carbonized wood and pottery for ceremonial use: a large painted _stamnos_ of local Greek production (fig.3), a plain ware _askos_, and an Enotrian monochrome _askos_. The excavation of these features remains to be completed. The association of Greek and local pottery within the same context shows that the ceremonies undertaken in this building were performed by a mixed community (confirming theories developed over recent years).
    • A _sondage_ was opened in the area south of the large floor dating to the 8th (PV2) and late 8th-early 7th (PV1) (fig. 1) in order to check its function and date. As was to be expected, the underlying space showed anthropic activity. A pit (US 4000) had been created exactly below it and contained burnt bone fragments and a wall sherd with a horizontal handle from a bi-conical urn decorated with incised triangles (fig. 2). This important evidence, dating to between the late 9th and the first half of the 8th century B.C., confirmed the existence of an earlier occupation phase on the hill. Further north, exploration continued in the area adjacent the apsidal building, and also in the space in which there was a deposition of pottery at the centre of the apse. In the area east of the building, excavation of pit US 340 opposite the entrance, and of the area next to it, continued (fig. 1). The pit was filled with extremely compact red earth, containing very few pottery fragments, among which a figured wall sherd of transitional proto-Corinthian. This dates the obliterating fill (exactly like all the others excavated so far) to between the late 7th and early 6th century B.C., that is the moment the site was abandoned. The extension of the excavation around the pit revealed a series of surfaces created using minute cobblestones embedded directly in the earth, which surrounded the pit’s north and south edges (fig. 3). Considering the chthonic nature of the ritual practices attested inside the apsidal building, there is a strong temptation to interpret this structure as a _bothros_. The other important discovery made this season was a structure made of large stone blocks, on an east-west alignment, situated in the area immediately north of the apsidal building (fig. 4). The structure (US 381) presented a well-preserved row of blocks on the north side, while it appeared incomplete on the south side, and was preserved to a width of just under 2 m. The best-preserved blocks lay horizontally, directly embedded in a layer of earth without a foundation trench. Along the south side, there was a fired-brick feature incorporated within the structure, formed by three horizontal bricks, bordered by others that were thinner and fixed vertically to form a border, perhaps constituting a small channel? A brick wall probably stood on top of structure US 381, as there was a substantial collapse of large bricks (US 412, fig. 4) about 2 m to the south, lying longitudinally and perfectly parallel to it. Considering the presence of the substantial stone structure that recently came to light along the western edge of the excavation area (fig. 1, “west structure”), the existence of a large wall (defensive?) may be suggested that would have extended along the north-western edge of the Incoronata hill. According to this hypothesis what remains _in_ _situ_ are the foundations while the brick collapse excavated this year (US 412) and the hundreds of brick fragments thrown into the obliteration layers attest the actual walls. However, for the moment this is only a working hypothesis.
    • This season’s campaign took a closer look at several questions regarding chronology, topography, and function, in addition to opening new and fundamental research areas. The excavation of the structure, probably delimited to the south by a line of stones, was deepened and extended (fig. 2). The latter is situated in the area south of the large 8th century (PV2) and late 8th-early 7th century B.C. (PV1) floors (fig. 1), to the west of the ritual space constituted by the association of a large white stone (WS)/cobblestones/deposition of bones and Enotrian geometric pottery. Substantial concentrations of small cubes of blackish clay (US 86) were found inside the structure, which could belong to the mud brick walls, together with a large amount of 8th century B.C. Enotrian pottery, associated with large body sherds and rims from large _pithoi_. This building (as things stand) seems to have been destroyed, and therefore obliterated by the creation of the ritual space described above. Such an operation would confirm the cult’s importance, as suggested by the quality and quantity of the pottery found there. Further north, work continued on the structures in the workshop area (fig. 1, “zones des fours”), where samples were taken for archeo-magnetic analyses. Occupation levels pre-dating the 7th century B.C. phases were intercepted and at least one new kiln identified. In the apsidal building (fig. 1 and 3, BT1), micro-stratigraphic excavation completed the removal of the pottery from the “mixed” ritual deposition at the centre of the apse (completing the almost total reconstruction of the 7th century B.C. Greek and Enotrian vases found within it. The deposition rested directly on natural. To the exterior, along the line of stones delimiting the wall of the building, several post holes were identified, which probably housed the supporting structures for the roof (fig. 3); C and D are certain; A and B are still to be checked. In the area east of the apsidal building, excavation continued of a large pit that opened in front of the entrance, and of the area adjacent to it (fig. 3). This confirmed that the pit walls were lined with “carpets” of minuscule cobblestones, which also formed the surfaces of the adjacent spaces, and the probable creation of several pits, partially re-excavated one within another at different times. The excavation of the large wall north of the apsidal building was extended. Perfectly aligned east-west (figs. 1 and 3, US 381), its foundations are formed by large stone blocks resting directly on the clay soil. To the east, where it is less well-preserved, occupation surfaces, new pits and a large concentration of pottery fragments were uncovered. The continuation of work in this area next year will no doubt provided important data regarding stratigraphy and chronology. The wall continued towards the west, on the same alignment as the section exposed last year (figs. 3 and 4) and using the same construction technique. A large concentration of stones and cobbles was present in the north corner of the trench, which seems to suggest the existence of a structure on a different alignment, but perhaps associated with the wall. In this area also, a substantial collapse of large bricks (figs. 3 and 4) continued to run parallel to the wall in question. The collapse was probably formed by the walls of this monumental construction, which was also (like all the other structures relating to the final occupation phase), methodically demolished at the moment the site was abandoned.
    • This campaign continued the exploration of the area surrounding the apsed building, where the remains of a chthonic ritual using Greek and indigenous artefacts was found (fig. 1). The aim was to gain further knowledge of the stratigraphy and the nature of its various occupation levels. The excavations produced a series of important results. Below a substantial layer obliterating this sector of the hill at the time of the site’s abandonment between the late 7th century and the early 6th century B.C., a sequence of floor surfaces was discovered associated with structures whose function remains to be clarified. This is the first time in the history of these excavations that we have a definitive perception of the characteristics of the different occupation levels in this area. They were perfectly preserved one on top of the other during the course of the 7th century B.C., thanks to the massive intervention of “conservative obliteration”, which covered the entire area with earth, stones and cobbles following the systematic demolition of every single structure down to foundation level. Immediately below the obliteration layers, the excavations, which covered a surface area of c. 90 m2, revealed, the later occupation levels. To the east (around the large pit that opened in front of the apsed building, US 406) they were characterised by surfaces made of small cobblestones (fig. 1, US 440). Further north, by the presence of a large concentration of pottery, within loose soil with charcoal inclusions (fig. 1, US 437), that was worn and often blackened. The pottery was indigenous (monochrome, depurated, impasto), probably imported from the Salento, and Greek (cups, _pithoi_). This may have been a midden, but was probably a post-ritual deposition, given the pottery types present, their state of preservation and the characteristics of the soil in which it was found. To the west of this context, rows of stones were uncovered, which seemed to be positioned at right angles, resting (?) on a possible make up of cobblestones, perhaps used for drainage. Nearby, a very short distance from the north wall of the apsed building, a small trench identified the presence of three circular pits, gradually excavated one inside another, and filled with dark brown soil containing abundant charcoal and fragments of indigenous and Greek pottery (fig. 2). The specific characteristics of the materials and mode of deposition at the moment the pits were closed, suggest this was intentional. Wall sherds from local Greek painted ware, a red-banded plate, bichrome Enotrian ware, two spindle whorls, an iron lance point, fragments of probable oven walls, were placed lying flat, on the upper surface of the fill of the largest pit (US 495), only fragments of Enotrian pottery with ‘a tenda’ decoration were laid flat on the upper surface of the second pit (US 514, fig.3), and in the third (US 515), the deepest of the three, only the rim of a monochrome Enotrian jar was found. The partial excavation of this complex does not allow a precise evaluation of the functional aspects and significance of the way in which the three pits were filled. However, the differences in the pottery chosen for the depositions, the choice of form, the charcoal remains, and above all the progressive excavation of one pit inside another are important indications suggesting this was a type of ritual context. Also of great interest regarding this occupation phase in the area was the confirmation (if there was still need) of the presence of both Greek and indigenous “cultural markers” throughout the 7th century B.C., until the moment of the site’s abandonment. New features emerged around the edge of the large pit in front of the apsed building (US 406). Towards the east the upper part of a pit (US 441) filled with reddish soil and, to the north, a new occupation level, underlying the cobblestone surface US 440, characterised by the presence of clay elements reddened by heat, large concentrations of blackened clay, and some small stones. The limited size of this trench prevented a precise interpretation of this data, which suggest the presence of a space that had certainly been exposed to fire. Lastly, in the north-western part of the excavations, west of the area where a substantial alignment of large stone blocks running east-west was uncovered, a massive obliteration layer put down to seal and therefore protect this part of the site, was removed. Below was a spectacular concentration of building materials intentionally crushed (stones, chips, cobbles, bricks) to form a large extremely compact block, bedded horizontally, with a quadrangular profile (US 428). Measuring 2.50 x 1.60 m, it formed a clean right angle on the north side (fig. 4). Situated next to a new ‘almond-shaped’ structure of very large stones, measuring 1.50 x 0.75 m (US 466, which will be excavated next year), this feature rested directly on another layer of soil. Its clean profile suggests it was probably part of a series of elements – in positive and in negative (parts of unbaked clay structures?) – that further excavation should clarify.
    • La XV campagna di scavo a Incoronata (settembre 2017) ha inteso proseguire l’esplorazione a nord e a sud delle grandi terrazze pavimentate che si estendono in senso est-ovest al limite meridionale della collina. Nell’area meridionale si è proceduto all’approfondimento, in estensione e in profondità, delle strutture appartenenti alla più antica fase di occupazione del sito, i cui nuovi materiali portati alla luce hanno consentito di confermarne una datazione tra la fine del IX e gli inizi dell’VIII secolo a.C. Contornata verso nord dalla grande pavimentazione US 70 e poggiante direttamente sul terreno argilloso vergine – che è stato appositamente modellato artificialmente - una complessa concentrazione di pietre (di cui sembra per ora possibile riconoscere almeno due allineamenti) ricopre un’area che si qualifica progressivamente come concava. In tal senso non sarebbe impossibile trovarci di fronte, una volta asportate tutte le pietre (campagna 2018), a una grande fossa scavata nel banco di argilla della collina. Questo complesso è stato in ogni caso obliterato da un’importante deposizione di ceramica frammentata intenzionalmente, comprendente in particolare grandi contenitori, ceramica a impasto liscio nero e nocciola, ceramica indigena dell’età del Ferro a vocazione cerimoniale, fra cui alcune olle dipinte “a tenda” (fig. 1). Un dato di estremo interesse è costituito dalle modalità della frammentazione e della deposizione dei vasi, che corrispondono con significativa precisione a quelle che abbiamo potuto osservare nei depositi di chiusura ritualizzata del sito, realizzati più a nord due secoli dopo (fine VII-inizi VI), questa volta impiegando in maggior misura la ceramica di produzione greca locale. A nord dei grandi pavimenti si è proseguita l’esplorazione dell’area circostante l’edificio absidato (BT1, che ha rivelato al suo interno l’attestazione di pratiche rituali a carattere ctonio) con l’obbiettivo di comprendere la natura delle attività che vi si svolgevano attorno. Al di sotto dei grandi strati di obliterazione che hanno ricoperto e protetto tutto questo settore della collina al momento dell’abbandono del sito (fine VII-inizi VI secolo a.C.) emergono via via – perfettamente conservati - i diversi piani di calpestio, che si situano cronologicamente nel corso del VII secolo. A est dell’edificio absidato è stata portata alla luce un’area caratterizzata dalla presenza di numerosi ammassi di argilla fortemente arrossata dal fuoco, importanti resti di elementi in legno carbonizzato, concentrazioni di ceramica, ma soprattutto – in perfetto stato di conservazione - due piccole strutture ovoidi in argilla, che potrebbero essere interpretate come fornelli (diametri : 30 x 40 et 30 x 25); esse appaiono riempite, al momento della loro obliterazione, da grossi frammenti del piano di cottura di una fornace di grandi dimensioni (fig. 2). A nord dell’edificio absidato è stata portata alla luce una vasta concentrazione di piccoli ciottoli formanti un piano, sul quale riposa un’importante quantità di ossa di animali e di frammenti di skyphoi di produzione locale, circondante verso nord una fossa (fig. 3). Tale associazione suggerisce una possibile intrepretazione della fossa (che è stata rimpita e obliterata da terra, ceramica e, infine, pietre) come bothros, intorno al quale si svolgevano pratiche rituali comportanti il consumo delle carni e del vino. Immediatamente a sud di questo contesto, è emersa una grande fossa scavata direttamente nel terreno vergine, sistemata esattamente al di sotto dell’enorme ammasso di materiali (pietre, mattoni, scaglie di materiale edilizio), estremamente compatto e allettato orizzontalmente, che la ricopriva (US 428, portato alla luce l’anno precedente: cfr. Folder 2016, fig. 4). Il riempimento della fossa, composto da terra grigia contenente quasi esclusivamente ceramica greca di importazione (e un paio di frammenti di ceramica enotria bicroma), è stato infine sigillato con pietre e ciottoli posati a piatto. Solo la prosecuzione dello scavo nella prossima campagna consentirà di intercettare i limiti di questa grande fossa, la cui cronologia piuttosto alta ci è indicata dal _terminus ante quem_ fornito dai materiali del riempimento (inizi VII) e la cui rilevante natura viene indirettamente suggerita dal peso (materiale e concettuale) della protezione che vi è stata sistemata al di sopra. Fig. 1. Incoronata. Olla biconica “a tenda”, dalla struttura di VIII secolo (foto M. Denti) Fig. 2. Incoronata. Le due strutture ovoidi in argilla, possibili fornelli, obliterate con porzioni del piano di cottura di una fornace (foto M. Denti) Fig. 3. Incoronata. Planimetria dell’area a nord dell’edificio absidato, con la concentrazione di ciottoli circondante verso nord la fossa (scavata per un quarto) (DAO T. Ben Makhad, E. Smirou) Fig. 4. Incoronata. La fossa US 564 e, nella sezione, l’ammasso di materiali (pietre, mattoni, scaglie di materiale edilizio, US 428) che la ricopre (foto M. Denti)

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    • M. Denti, 2009, Les dépôts de céramique grecque du VIIe siècle avant J.-C. à l’Incoronata. De la modalité des dépositions à la reconstitution des gestes rituels, dans S. Bonnardin, C. Hamon, M. Lauwers B. Quilliec (dir.), «Du matériel au spirituel. Réalités archéologiques et historiques des «dépôts» de la Préhistoire à non jours», XXIXe Rencontre Internationale d’Archéologie et d’Histoire d’Antibes, Antibes – Juan – les – Pins octobre 2008, Antibes: 145-158.
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    • M. Denti, 2009, Les phases œnôtres du VIIIe siècle avant J.-C. à l’Incoronata, dans la Journée du CREeAAH, Archéologie, Archéosciences, Histoire, Rennes 28 mars 2009: 12-14.
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    • M. Denti, 2010, La septième campagne de fouille à l’Incoronata: confirmations et nouveautés, in MEFRA 122/1: 310-320.
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    • M. Denti, 2011, Nouveaux témoignages du kerameikos de l’Incoronata depuis la huitième campagne de fouille, dans « MEFRA » 123/1: 364-371.
    • M. Denti, 2012, Incoronata, la neuvième campagne de fouille: le grand pavement, les strates de son oblitération, les nouvelles composantes de l’espace artisanal, in MEFRA 124, in stampa.
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    • M. Denti, 2010, Les résultats de la septième campagne de fouille à l’Incoronata, communication à la «Journée du CREeAAH, Archéologie, Archéosciences, Histoire», Rennes 20 mars 2010: 1-5.
    • M. Denti, c.d.s., Pour une Archéologie de l’absence. Observations sur l’approche intellectuelle et matérielle à la fouille de la céramique dans un contexte rituel, in La céramique dans les contextes rituels. Fouiller et comprendre les gestes des Anciens. Actes de la table ronde, M. Denti et M. Tuffreau-Libre (dir.), Rennes 2010, Rennes.
    • M. Denti, 2010, Dépositions de céramique et significations des contextes rituels à l’époque archaïque en Italie méridionale, in La céramique dans les contextes rituels. Fouiller et comprendre les gestes des Anciens. Actes de la table ronde, M. Denti et M. Tuffreau-Libre (dir.), Rennes 2010: 95-112.
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    • M. Denti, 2011, Fours et production de céramique dans un contexte «d’entre deux». Grecs et non Grecs à l’Incoronata au VIIIème et VIIème siècle avant J.-C., communication à la «Journée du CREeAAH, Archéologie, Archéosciences, Histoire», Rennes 2 avril 2011: 23-26.
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    • M. Denti, c.d.s., La notion de « destruction » entre oblitération, conservation et pratiques rituelles. Le cas des opérations réalisées à Incoronata au VIIème siècle avant J.C., dans Destruction. Archaeological, philological and historical perspectives, International Round table, Louvain - La - Neuve, novembre 2011.
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    • M. Denti, 2013, Damaged Greeks orientalising Goods in an indigenous context of the Western Mediterranean in the late Iron Age. Damaged Goods. Contextualising Intentional Destruction of Objects in the Bronze Age Aegean and Cyprus, I. Driessen, K. Harrell (sous la direction de), Workshop in Louvain, novembre 2013.
    • M. Denti, 2013, Introduction au colloque Pour ne pas tourner autour du pot? La céramique dans les contextes archéologiques mixtes. Questions de méthodologie, typologie et terminologie, Colloque international, M. Denti, Cl. Bellamy (sous la direction de), Rennes, mai 2013.
    • M. Denti, 2014, Rites d’abandon et opérations d’oblitération « conservative » à l’âge du Fer, dans H. Bernier, I. Patera (sous la direction de), « L’objet rituel. Méthodes et concept croisés », dans RHR 231 - 4, octobre-décembre 2014: 699-727.
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    • M. Denti, 2013, Incoronata. Les résultats de la dixième campagne de fouille (2012). Ruptures et continuités dans l’occupation du site entre VIIIe et VIIe siècle avant J.-C., dans MEFRA, Chroniques des activités archéologiques de l’Ecole française de Rome 125 (on line).
    • M. Denti, 2013, The contribution of research on Incoronata to the problem of the relations between Greeks and non-Greeks during proto-colonial times, dans Ancient West and East, 12: 71-116.
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    • M. Denti, M. Villette, c.s., Ceramisti greci dell’Egeo in un atelier indigeno d’Occidente. Scavi e ricerche sullo spazio artigianale di Incoronata (VIII-VII secolo a.C.), dans BdA 2013.
    • M. Denti, c.s., La céramique, les contextes mixtes, les identités. Une introduction au colloque, dans « La céramique dans les contextes archéologiques « mixtes ». Questions de méthodologie, typologie et terminologie », Colloque international, M. Denti, Cl. Bellamy (sous la direction de), Université Rennes 2, mai 2013.
    • M. Denti, c.s., Des biens de prestige grecs intentionnellement fragmentés dans un contexte indigène de la Méditerranée occidentale au VIIe siècle avant J.-C., dans « Damaged Goods. Contextualising Intentional Destruction of Objects in the Bronze Age Aegean and Cyprus », I. Driessen, K. Harrell (sous la direction de), Workshop in Louvain, novembre 2013.
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