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Excavation

  • Incaldana, Roccia S. Sebastiano
  • Mondragone
  • Tusculum

    Tools

    Credits

    • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

      MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

      ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

      AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

    • AIAC_logo logo

    Summary (English)

    • Surface survey in the territory of Mondragone began in 1994 as part of a project promoted by the Dept. of Prehistory, Naples “Federico II” University and continued by Rome “La Sapienza” University, in collaboration with the Archaeological Superintendency for Naples and Caserta and the town of Mondragone.
      The materials discovered in 1993, out of context in a quarry in the locality of Incaldana, date to a final phase of the Upper Palaeolithic. The lithic industry can be attributed to the final Epigravettian period. The first palaeontological studies identified the presence of fauna characterised by equids, bovines and, in smaller numbers, deer.
      A C14 date on the faunal remains (Mondragone R-2447=11.495±143 BP, calibrated 13,595-13,249 BP) dates this deposit to about 13,500 years ago.
      In 1999, during subsequent surveys, a grotto was found in the locality of Roccia San Sebastiano, at the foot of the southern slopes of Monte Massico, completely blocked by a partly disturbed deposit and detritus from a nearby limestone quarry.
      Annual excavations undertook a limited investigation covering a few square metres of a significant deposit attributable to a final phase of the Gravettian period. C14 dating on burnt bones, undertaken at “La Sapienza” attributed a date of c. 23,000 years ago (19.570±210 BP, calibrated 23.660 – 22.770 BP) and an underlying Mousterian deposit dated to c. 40,000 years ago.
      Georadar survey and a control core sample taken in 2005, indicate that the prehistoric deposit is c. 3 m thick.
      The lithic industry recovered during the various campaigns, constituted by tens of thousands of artefacts and waste, seems mainly linked to the production of microgravettes and backed blades, while the Mousterian materials belonged to a final facies.
      The faunal remains included horse, ‘idruntino’ horse, deer, aurochs, chamois, and rarer boar, wolf, and fox.
      Some human remains belonging to an individual aged between 8 and 10 years, and an adult molar were found in the superficial part of the Gravettian deposit. A deciduous molar from a child approximately 10 years old was found at the base of the Mousterian level in 2009. Prof. David Caramelli at Florence University is carrying out research on the DNA from this find.

      During recent years, the removal of the large boulders on top of and within the deposit has revealed a much larger area of the prehistoric deposit, which has been explored on several occasions, in particular the Gravettian and, in limited areas, Mousterian levels. As regards the Mousterian deposit, it was possible to further define knowledge of the earliest occupation and uncover several layers that were previously unknown. These were characterised by the presence of a small lithic industry using flint and jasper cobblestones, with evidence of the Levallois method and flaking. These levels overlay the already known base levels, characterised, among other things, by Mousterian artefacts made from limestone.

      Above these levels, the sequence continues with a phase of Aurignacian occupation, which is in turn covered by the aforementioned long Gravettian occupation sealing the deposit.
      Lastly, a substantial part of the research was dedicated to the progressive 3D survey of the grotto and the more sophisticated recording of possible manifestations of incised rock art on the grotto walls.

      The removal of large boulders and a substantial part of the disturbed deposit during the last year has made it possible to gain a better idea of the extension of the grotto itself.

    • Marcello Piperno - Università degli Studi di Roma \"La Sapienza\", Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche Archeologiche e Antropologiche dell\'Antichità 

    Director

    Team

    • Carmine Collina - Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”
    • Marcello Mannino - Aarhus University, Department of Culture and Society-Archaeology, Denmark
    • Carlo Donadio - Università di Napoli Federico II
    • Diana Barra - Università di Napoli “Federico II”
    • David Caramelli - Department of Biology, Laboratory of Anthropology, Molecular Anthropology/Paleogenetics Unit University of Florence
    • Giorgio Manzi - Università “La Sapienza”
    • Antonio Tagliacozzo - Museo Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”
    • Benedetto Sala - Università di Ferrara
    • Francesca Ruiu - Museo Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”
    • Monica Gala - Museo Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”
    • Leopoldo Repola – Uni. SOB Napoli

    Research Body

    Funding Body

    • Comune di Mondragone

    Images

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