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  • Riparo l’Oscurusciuto
  • Ginosa
  • Italy
  • Apulia
  • Province of Taranto
  • Ginosa



  • 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)

  • The investigation of the middle Palaeolithic shelter of Oscurusciuto at Ginosa (TA) continued between the 5th and 23rd September 2011. During the first part of the campaign, the excavation of US 11 was completed. In the previous campaign numerous hearths in shallow circular pits (diam. 20-50 cm, depth 3-6 cm) had been uncovered in this layer. Within the excavation area, these features were concentrated in a band, orientated north-east/south-west leaving a corner of the shelter, circa two metres wide, completely free. This corner was probably used by the Neanderthals as a sleeping or living area. This season a pair of small hearths in partially overlapping pits (diam. circa 20 cm), and a larger hearth (diam. circa 40 cm) were uncovered in an area below the southern sector of the excavation, itself characterised by the presence of a concentration of hearths.

    The hearths in US 11 were often overlapping and it was not possible to work out which of the individual structures in the sediment (average thickness 8cm) had been in use at any one time, due to the lack of evidence for the intermediate occupation levels. The exception was the base layer, constituted by 16 hearths in shallow pits of circa 20 cm in diameter (including the pair during this campaign), which characterised the lower part of the stratum. All of these hearths were smaller than those in the upper levels of US 11 and 9, and probably belonged to a single occupation phase. Micro-stratigraphic analyses are being undertaken which may indicate whether differences in dimensions is related to differences in the use of the pits. In the base part of US 11 the presence of tephra in the sediment gradually increased and the number of lithic and bone finds decreased.

    Phase two of the excavation involved the removal of the underlying US 13, partially exposed in the previous year, with a matrix rich in tephra and small calcarenite fragments. Nine hearths in shallow pits (diam. 20-30 cm) were uncovered, together with a larger patch of burning whose real shape and extension are unknown, as a part of it had eroded away. The hearths, mainly single, occupied the same area as the overlying structures, that is none were present in the north-western corner of the shelter and a corridor along the back wall. Only three hearths were overlapping (83a, 83b, 84).
    Finds within this layer were sporadic and often in small concentrations. The bones, heavily fragmented, and the lithic industry continued to be characterised by the dominance of the Levallois technique with flakes parallel to the plane of percussion. No particular changes in the methods of the production chain were noted during the excavation.

    This stratigraphic unit covered a compact layer of volcanic ash circa 60 cm thick (US 14) sealing an ancient ground surface that was rich in materials. The hearths found in US 13 were therefore pertinent to the first sporadic occupations of the shelter, successive to the substantial ash fall. The analyses of the tephra will probably provide data about the attribution, and therefore on the chronology, of the volcanic eruption. The surface of US 14 was irregular and characterised by frequent depressions/excavations perhaps the result of erosive action. These irregular holes, in part still to be excavated, were filled by US 13 and contained few lithic and bone finds.

    The upper part of the layer of volcanic ash contained occasional finds, which had penetrated into the sediment, and will be investigated during the next campaign.

  • Annamaria Ronchitelli - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti”, Sezione di Ecologia Preistorica 
  • Paolo Boscato - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti” 



  • Stefano Ricci - Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente – Unità di Ricerca di Preistoria e Antropologia – Università di Siena
  • Claudia Abruzzese - Università di Pisa, Dipartimento di Scienze Archeologiche
  • Daniele Aureli - Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Elena D'Itria
  • Filomena Ranaldo - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti”
  • Giulia Musella
  • Marco Serradimigni - Università degli Studi di Siena
  • María José Peñalver Puerta
  • Silvana Condemi
  • Stefania Mainieri
  • Vincenzo Spagnolo - Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Francesco Boschin - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell'Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia
  • Jacopo Crezzini - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti”
  • Francesco Berna - Department of Archeology, Boston University (USA)
  • Helena Klempererova - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti”

Research Body

  • Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti” – Unità di Ricerca di Ecologia Preistorica – Università di Siena

Funding Body

  • Comune di Ginosa
  • Università degli Studi di Siena


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