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  • Grotta della Monaca
  • S. Agata di Esaro
  • .
  • Italy
  • Calabria
  • Provincia di Cosenza
  • Sant'Agata di Esaro



  • 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)

  • During the 2009 field season, excavations and photographic documentation were carried out of the deepest sector of the cave (Cunicoli Terminali), where during the 2008 season a new burial area had previously been discovered. The excavations brought to light numerous human skeletons, including many young children. At the same time, the excavations of the underground areas where mining took place were extended, and a careful sampling taken of the charcoal remains (parts of torches for the illumination of the subterranean areas).

    Remaining in the context of the evidence for mining, we should note the recovery of additional lithic tools for digging operations (hammers and mallets). These tools were retrieved from the clastic fills investigated up to a depth of three metres from the surface; their position in the debris highlights the enormous earth removing operations carried out by the prehistoric miners. A series of radiocarbon dates has allowed the identification of three distinct phases of ancient human activity in the subterranean site: the earliest dates to around 20000 years ago (radiocarbon dating of a sample from a human ulna); the next phase placeable between 6500 and 5500 years ago (six measurements from charcoal and bone remains); and the most recent between 1250 and 1400 AD (two measurements from charcoal).

  • Alfredo Geniola - Università degli Studi di Bari, Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Dipartimento di Beni Culturali e Scienze del Linguaggio  
  • Felice Larocca - Università degli Studi di Bari 



  • Emanuela Gualdi - Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Girolamo Fiorentino - Università del Salento
  • Pasquale Acquafredda - Università degli Studi di Bari
  • Filippo Vurro - Università degli Studi di Bari
  • Lucio Calcagnile - Centro di Datazione e Diagnostica dell’Università di Lecce

Research Body

  • Centro Regionale di Speleologia “Enzo dei Medici”
  • Università degli Studi di Bari, Dipartimento di Studi Classici e Cristiani
  • Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Università del Salento

Funding Body

  • Comune di S. Agata di Esaro
  • Parco Nazionale del Pollino


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