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  • Grotta di Santa Maria di Agnano
  • Ostuni
  • Santa Maria di Agnano



    • 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 2016, excavation continued in the areas investigated in 2015 with the extension of the excavation of the Hellenistic enclosure wall, exploration of the Holocene and Pleistocene layers below the western rock face of the shelter in area H-I-P-Q, continuation in the sectors identified as “External excavation” with Palaeolithic layers, and in the areas of quadrants L-M, relating to the central lower terrace where occupation is attested from the Hellenistic period onwards. Geophysical investigations were also carried out.

      This season, the continuation of excavation in area H-P revealed a sequence of natural deposits containing a few lithic tools, characterised by the presence of several circular scrapers and hyper-microliths of Mesolithic date. The Recent Mesolithic sequence forms a diachronic stratigraphy defined by periods of intense occupation of a ritual nature in the area alternating with breaks in occupation. This was highlighted by a palaeo-surface formed by a circle of small and medium stones (Circle 3) and the presence of a limestone cobblestone inscribed with a linear-stepped syntax, which support the suggested ritual nature of the area abutting the rock face. In area H-I, the excavation was deepened in order to check the nature of the underlying deposit. The upper part of the deposit related to the Neolithic occupation already seen in the area. Bone spatulas, perhaps associated with the remains of a probable ritual stone circle were present in the underlying layers. The successive layers contained evidence of a final Epigravettian phase, with a calibrated dating of 9141 BC – 8763 BC (95.4 %) (LTL16801) and lithic industry in which micro-Gravettian points were prevelant.

      During work to restore Ritual Area 1, a votive deposit was found, covered by a tile and positioned close to the east wall defining the area. The pottery, datable to the final decades of the 4th and the 3rd century B.C., comprised an intact trilychne lamp with white slip and a miniature bi-lobed kantheros-type jar with volute handles, and fragments of a cup with relief decoration depicting a chariot, with charioteer and running horses. The offering of a polilychne lamp is indicative of a votive dimension not strictly linked with the cult of Demeter but may refer to other Chthonic divinities associated with her.
      The excavations in quadrants L and M concentrated on the extension opened in 2015, in an attempt to reach the layer formed of crumbled local stone, called “tufina”, found in the north-west corner. The operation to remove the tile collapse over the vast area continued and a series of finds dating to the sanctuary’s first Hellenistic phase (late 4th-3rd century B.C.) were recovered.
      The excavation of area SMA-External investigated what were essentially two levels of a single context. Most of the lithic finds were constituted by honey coloured flint from the Gargano. Among the commonest tools were burins, scrapers, backed implements, and authentic micro-Gravettian tools, often two-pointed. The contexts chronology was linked to the a classical Gravettian that was slightly later or contemporary with the burial Ostuni 1.

    • Donato Coppola – Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” 
    • Nicola de Pinto - Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”  
    • ; Michele Pellegrino - Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” 


    • Donato Coppola – Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”


    • Henry Baills - Musée de Tautavel, Centre Européen de Préhistoire
    • Nicola de Pinto - Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”
    • Martine Dewailly - Ecole Française de Rome
    • Michele Pellegrino - Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”

    Research Body

    • Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”

    Funding Body

    • Comune di Ostuni
    • Museo di Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia meridionale


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