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  • Grotta del Col de la Stria
  • Col de la Stria
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    Monuments

    Periods

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    Chronology

    • 43193 BC - 16993 BC

    Season

      • The Grotta del col de la Stria is situated on the eastern flank of the Colli Berici at circa 370 m a.s.l. The archaeological sequence is formed by five stratigraphic units: the upper ones (1 and 2) have a loam (loess) matrix with small glacial plates; the lower units (3, 4 and 5) are constituted by colluvial clays with rounded clastics. A bone from unit 3 gave a C14 dating of 30,304±330 years ago (LTL-798A). There were no artefacts in the upper units. Sub-unit 3b contained several waste flakes from flint working, part of a production chain for making blades. The assemblage in the upper part of unit 4 comprised waste materials from the production chain making laminae and lamelle. To date no artefacts of greater significance have been recovered. Amongst the fauna the predominant species is the cave bear, found in almost all assemblages. Fauna typical of a wooded environment with clearings ( _Capreolus capreolus, Cervus elaphus, Megaloceros giganteum_ ) is present in the lower part of the deposit (units 3 and 4), whilst species from open areas ( _Capra ibex, Bos/Bison_ ) are present in the upper parts (units 1 and 2). A hare’s tooth was found in sub-unit 3a. Fish and bird remains are abundant in all assemblages, unit 3b containing a high concentration. Butchery marks are only present on the bones from unit 4, in particular from the base of layer 4 t.I., from which also comes a fragment of marine shell ( _Homalopoma sanguineum_ ).
      • The Grotta del Col de la Stria (Mossano, VI) is situated in the Berici hills, at circa 375 m a.s.l., a few metres from the road linking Mossano to Soghe, about 50 m downhill from the known Grotta di Paina. It is constituted by a large, almost rectangular cave with two large adjacent openings. It can also be reached from the western slope of the Cole de la Stria via at least three further openings which give access to three shafts. The excavation campaigns undertaken in 2004-2007 recovered a large amount of material relating to the occupation of the cave by Homo Sapiens in the Upper Paleolithic (US1÷US4t1) and by large carnivores. The site had been repeatedly used by the cave bear for winter hibernation: this was attested by a large amount of food remains showing bite marks and by milk teeth lost by bear cubs. Two absolute dates (using the C14 AMS method), one from a megacerus mandible and another from a bone with butchery marks, date the anthropological occupation layer 3b to between 30.304±330 BP and 28.342±160 BP. The evidence of human occupation from U.S.4, at the base of cut I, constituted by lithic artefacts (probably of the Aurignacian period) and food remains, were dated to 40.829±450 BP (using the C14 AMS method). Moreover, a fragment of seashell, probably used for personal ornament, was found in the same layer. Two pieces of carbonised wood, found together with stone blades in U.S.2, were dated, using the C14 AMS method, to 16.037±100BP and 16.802±90BP . The research project aims to define the occupation dynamics and the survival strategies used by Homo Sapiens during the Upper Paleolithic: hunting areas, supply of lithic materials, lithic and bone working techniques, cultural organisation. The results will be integrated with what is already known of Man’s occupation of the Berici hills during the Upper Paleolithic from excavations undertaken in the Grotte di Paina, in the Covolo Fortificato di Trene, in the Grotte and in the Riparo del Broion and on the southern slopes of the Eastern Alps (Monti Lessini, Altopiano di Asiago, Altopiano del Cansiglio, Val Belluna etc.) in general. In 2007 excavations took place from the 16th July to 18th August. The excavation area was enlarged to the south by 6 m2. In squares D1,D2,E1,E2,F1,F2 the upper most deposit was excavated which overlay US0, constituted by a fan of colluvial soils and collapsed stones, heavily disturbed by plant growth, up to 30 cm deep. Within this layer six flint flakes and occasional faunal remains were found. The stratigraphic units below were then removed, beginning with US1a and US1b constituted by a loess deposit with a limestone matrix, up to 30 cm and 50 cm deep respectively. These layers were also heavily disturbed by plant growth. Lithic industry was represented by 8 flakes and 2 blade fragments, a scarce amount of macro-fauna and a substantial amount of micro-faunal remains. At the top of US2 there was a well defined patch of charcoal material. It was circular in plan, the shape suggested by the position of a number of stones around its edge. Two flint implements were found at the top of the charcoal sediment of US2: a blade and a large flake with a faceted heel, both made with allocthonous Biancone flint. Around the hearth was a horizon of ash, some charcoal and faunal remains, denominated US2CL, which represented a paleo-surface. US2 was the final layer investigated. Between 5-10 cm deep, it was characterised by the presence of collapsed stones and numerous remains of micro-mammals and sporadic macro-mammals and the absence of any further archaeological evidence.
      • Excavations took place between 3rd – 28th June, the aim being to deepen the excavation in the area of the 2007 campaign. The surface visible at the start of the campaign corresponded to the top of US2 base, constituted by yellowish-brown loess partially disturbed by plant growth, containing a slight charcoal patch, some bones of small carnivores and numerous remains of micro-mammals. Four flint micro-flakes, fragments of mammal bone diaphises and a marmot’s jaw bone came from the lower part of the layer. US2 base also contained ferrous concretions and several clasts. The underlying layer US3a was characterised by altered and rounded limestone clasts in a dark brown clayey-silt matrix. It contained remains of cervids and other ungulates and lithic industry of “Scaglia Rossa” and “Scaglia Variegata” flint (a lamellar core, several blade flakes and abundant debris). The US3b was distinguished by the presence of large boulders which had fallen from the vault and walls of the cave. Below the collapse the sediment became sandy-silt. The upper part of US3b produced only a few bone fragments with a shiny surface (perhaps swallowed and digested by carnivores), bear teeth, fish and bird remains. It also contained some flint micro-flakes, two blade fragments of “Scaglia Rossa” flint (one with a marginal steep retouch). At the base of US3b carnivore and herbivore bones were recovered, some showing man-made marks. Murids were present among the micro-mammals indicating an environment which included undergrowth. The underlying layer US4tI was characterised by a continuous horizon of collapsed stones and boulders, with faunal remains and some flint flakes. At the base of this layer was a horizon containing charcoal of anthropological origin. Flint artefacts made using the Levallois technique, attributable to the Mousterian period, were found situated between two hearths.
      • The excavation concentrated on two distinct areas, one close to the centre of the cavity and the other in the eastern sector. The first intervention was undertaken in sectors F8-H8, where in H8 digging stopped at a depth of one metre in correspondence with great collapses within unit 1. In F8 and G8 only unit 0 was investigated (about 50 cm thick), constituted by a fan of clayey and organic detritus which had come from the openings along the western wall of the grotto. The finds comprised glazed and decorated wheel-made pottery and two flint flakes. Below the fan a silty deposit (unit 1) with large collapsed stones, appeared. It was disturbed at its roof by pedological activity. In this sector unit 1 produced the remains of bear, marmot, carnivore, bird and fish bones. The second intervention was undertaken in sector H 11, where the base rock was reached at a depth of 2.85 m. H 11 is situated by the east wall, between the two main arches providing access to the grotto. The stratigraphy comprises, from the top to bottom, a disturbed deposit (RIM) situated at the roof of a deposit of hill detritus with a clay matrix, above which a surface with an active organic horizon (unit 0) had developed. The archaeological content of unit 0 was represented by finds of historical date (decorated glazed pottery). Below this was a silty deposit with collapsed material (unit 1a and 1b), with aeolian and thermo-clastic elements, rich in bone fragments and with few archaeological finds represented by a lithic industry datable to the Upper Paleolithic period. The next deposit was mainly sandy (units 2, 2a and 3) presenting corrosive and concretionary phenomena with a mainly thermoclastic and hydraulic contribution. There was no evidence of anthropological activity but the deposit was rich in the skeletal remains of large mammals, above all _Ursus spelaeus_ some still in anatomical connection, _Alces alces_, _Rupicapra rupicapra_, _Megaloceros giganteus_ and _Cervus elaphus_. The deepest units (4, 5, 6 and 6a) constituted an ossiferous breccias with a sandy matrix, partially loosened (in particular at the base) where the matrix is carbonaceous with a doughy consistency. The deposit contained a small number of flint flakes with clear pseudo-retouches dating to the Mousterian period. Also present were a large quantity of large mammal skeletal remains blackened through the absorption of Fe/Mn. These included _Canis lupus_, _Cervus elaphus_, _Bos-Bison_ and _Alces alces_ and _Ursus spealeus_. Where it met the base rock, the breccia, like the roof of the embedding rock, was heavily altered by water corrosion.

    Bibliography

      • A. Broglio, F. Gurioli, M. De Stefani, 2005, Grotta del Col de la Stria, in Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche, Notiziario LV: 508.
      • A. Broglio, S. Bertola, F. Gurioli, A. Zerbini, 2008, Grotta del Col de la Stria (Mossano, Prov. Di Vicenza), in Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche 58: 419-420.
      • F. Gurioli, N. Cappato, M. De Stefani, A. Tagliacozzo, c.s., Considerazioni paleontologiche, paleoecologiche e archeozoologiche sui macromammiferi dei livelli del Paleolitico superiore del Riparo del Broion (Colli Berici, Vicenza), Atti V Convegno Nazionale di Archeozoologia (Rovereto, 2006).
      • A. Broglio, M. De Stefani, F. Gurioli, 2007, La preistoria antica del territorio vicentino: prospettive della ricerca, in Il museo naturalistico archeologico di Vincenza, a 150 anni dalla sua fondazione: collezioni e ricerca (1855-2005),Vicenza.
      • M. De Stefani, F. Gurioli, 2004, New data on the Early Upper Paleolithic in the Berici Hills (North-East of Italy), in V. Popov, A. Praslov, S. Hoffecker (eds.), Kostenki & the Early Upper Paleolithic of Eurasia: general trends, local developments, Kostenki, 23-26 august 2004, Voronezh: 138.