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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)

  • In September 2012, a new excavation campaign investigated the middle Paleolithic deposit of the Riparo l’Oscurusciuto at Ginosa (TA). The aim was to excavate the thick stratum of tephra (about 60 cm) identified during the first investigations in 1998. In fact, in this shelter the hill erosion has damaged the entire deposit, so that in the first trench part of the stratigraphy was identified simply by removing the top soil. The analysis of the tephra (undertaken by Roberto Sulpizio at Bari University), attributed the volcanic ash to the Tufo Verde di Monte Epomeo (Ischia), dated to around 55.000 years BP (pers. com.). This established a chronology for the upper part of the stratigraphy, which develops between this date and the 43.000 years BP cal (14C on collagen, AMS – Beta 181165: 38,500 ± 900 BP) obtained at the base of the latest level (US 1). This result is of great importance for the possible paleo-environmental correlations with other Apulian deposits, some of which present tephra layers that have yet to be identified.

    In this campaign, the tephra (US 14) in quadrants D/G – 13/16 was completely excavated (about 11 m2).

    As noted in last year’s campaign, the surface of the tephra stratum is characterised by small irregular depressions probably caused by erosion, filled by US 13, but containing almost no material. The upper part of the volcanic ashes attested the first occupation, which occurred during the final phase of ash deposition. In fact, lithic finds (few in number but significant) and occasional bone fragments were found down to a depth of 10-15 cm. The material was concentrated in small areas and preliminary studies have identified a number of joining lithic elements. All of the upper part of the excavated tephra was sieved with a 2 mm mesh. The few identifiable bones were attributable to Bos primigenius. Within the tephra there were numerous small areas with inclusions of compact light brown coarse sand. Also present were sporadic small jasper cobbles, probably from the summit of the shelter.

    The paleo-surface (US 15) emerged at the base, sealed by the volcanic ash. This was a horizontal surface with an abundance of lithic material, bone and stones, partially structured to form a semicircular perimeter about 2 m in diameter, facing the north wall of the shelter. The structured stones, varying between 15 and 30 cm in size, were arranged in small groups of 3-4 elements. There were a few bone and lithic finds on the surface enclosed by this structure, including a large fragment of aurochs’ mandible. On the contrary, an abundance of finds was present among the stones, along the edge of the structure itself. Outside the structure there were numerous finds including large fragments from the diaphese of long bones, aurochs mandible and jaw fragments and lithic industry. Other stones were present on the exterior, seemingly not in any alignment, partially covered by an articulated thick layer of concretionary vegetal remains.

    The next campaign aims to excavate another sector of the tephra and expose a new area of paleo-surface of about 8 m2.

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



  • Filomena Ranaldo - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali “G. Sarfatti”
  • Francesco Boschin - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell'Ambiente, UR Preistoria e Antropologia
  • Jacopo Crezzini - Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente – Unità di Ricerca di Preistoria e Antropologia – Università di Siena
  • Francesco Berna - Department of Archeology, Boston University (USA)
  • Stefano Ricci - Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente – Unità di Ricerca di Preistoria e Antropologia – Università di Siena

Research Body

  • Università degli Studi di Siena

Funding Body

  • Comune di Ginosa


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