This volume presents the results of fifteen years of an interdisciplinary archeological research carried out in a mountainous territory in the central part of the Mediterranean basin. A surface survey, led by Vincenza Forgia for her PhD research project between 2006 and 2008 (with Dr. Andreu Ollé and Dr. Josep Maria Vergès as cotutors of the PhD), was conducted on sample areas of the Madonie Mountain Range, on the northern part of Sicily (Italy), as part of a major research project on the Himera river valley. The latter, led by Cattedra di Topografia Antica (Prof. Oscar Belvedere), was devoted to the study of the chora of the ancient colony of Himera and interested in all the periods (prehistoric and historic) and in the investigation of the relationship between the lowlands, the mountainous area and its natural resources. One of the sample areas selected for the new surface survey was located between the Imera River valley and the highlands with an altitudinal range spanning from 500 to 1000 meters above the sea level. In this sample area, in the territory of Scillato, we were able to identify the Vallone Inferno rock shelter with its impressive archaeological and paleo environmental deposit. Since the first inspection, it was immediately clear the importance of the place, because the Inferno stream had cutted the archeological deposit, showing a section of several meters with different layers alternating coarse to fine beds, the latter rich in organic matter and archaeological finds (pottery, lithics, fauna). The site has been immediately selected as the reference site, in order to give an absolute chronological framework to the results of the survey on the same mountainous area. The excavation started in 2008, in collaboration and agreement with the Soprintendenza ai BB.CC.AA. of Palermo (responsible for the area, Dr. Rosa Maria Cucco). The first campaigns were devoted to the geoarchaeological description of the stratigraphy by Prof. Diego Angelucci and to the definition of the absolute chronology of the whole sequence. Synchronous results from the excavation and the surface survey led the team to plan a new research project, named HUMAnS (Human Upland Mobility in Ancient Sicily), in order to complete the paleoenvironmental and archaeological investigation. Test pits were opened on the highlands, along a natural corridor reconstructed by spatial analyses and in coincidence with very specific places as pastoral pens (as Fonte Castellaro or Zottafonda) or dry small lakes (as Piano Cervi). The book is conceived like a synthesis of the entire research, with a focus on the results from the excavation of the upper archaeological layers, covering a period spanning from the Early Middle Ages to the Middle Neolithic when, after a long period of absence since the Mesolithic, human groups returned to the mountains. Our results are then contextualized on a wider territorial area in order to interpret the settlement strategies adopted on a diachronic perspective. After the introduction to the local topography and to the state of the art in the archaeological research and the methodology of excavation, two subchapters are devoted to the description of the geological background of the area and to the geoarchaeological description of the stratigraphy of the deposit. This description, with the identification of the stratigraphic units, is at the base of the excavation strategy, complicated from cyclical phenomena of deposition and erosion of anthropogenic and natural origin. The core of the book is the presentation of the whole archaeological record, with chapters divided with a chronological criterion describing structures, pottery finds, lithic finds, personnel ornaments and macro fauna. The interdisciplinary approach, as described in the methodological chapter, led us to collect the whole information coming from the excavation, involving experts of different disciplines, like paleobotany, analytical chemistry and paleoanthropology. The paleoenvironmental reconstruction was also completed by the study of the microfaunal remains. During the VII-IX century CE, the deposition activity of the Inferno stream formed a couple of meters of new deposit in less than two hundred years. During this period the human activity into the rock shelter is poorly documented by common pottery, while the herding strategy, as shown by zooarchaeology and analytical chemistry on biomarkers from sediments, was strongly oriented to the breeding of suids. The site gave shelter to pregnant females and to the newborns during the first months of life. The anthropic signal intensifies in the units relating to the medieval and modern age horizons, in which, in addition to observing a marked decrease in the arboreal component of the vegetation, the presence of ruderal, adventitious and herbaceous plants appears well defined. The most important activity identified on the basis of the palynological analysis is breeding, which could indicate the consumption of arboreal fodder in the initial stages, as the anthracological results suggest. In any case, the cultivation of cereals progressively assumed greater importance in the early medieval occupation levels, as also demonstrated by the carpological documentation. The archeological layers corresponding to the Classical Age has been destroyed, likely by the Inferno stream, but the archaeological record testifies the human presence in the shelter also in these periods. In particular, it has to be noticed the possible funerary use of the place, for the presence of a Hellenistic unguentary. A small fragment of a colony-made cup testifies to the interest in shelter within a larger territorial context. The extensive human activities across a broad area are confirmed by the large colonial settlement on the surrounding hills and the permanent site identified on the highlands, at an altitude of 1400 metres, coinciding with the Fonte Castellaro water source. The Vallone Inferno rock shelter is located exactly in between the main settlements and the mountainous basecamp, topographically and politically dependent from Himera. The stratigraphy is again complete for the Early Bronze Age and Final Copper Age (end 3rd - mid 2nd millennium BCE). The record spans over a period of more than one thousand years, during which it has been possible to follow the uninterrupted use of the shelter by pastoral groups coming from the central and the southern part of the island and interested in the exploitation of the mountainous resources exclusively located on the northern part of Sicily. The interest in the mountains by human communities here began during the Middle Neolithic (end of 6th millennium BCE). This is evidenced by the presence of a stratigraphic unit with tricromica pottery, obsidian, and chert, absolutely dated to the second part of the 6th millennium BCE. During the Early Neolithic, this mountainous territory was likely less attractive than the coastal area for the first agro-pastoral communities that reached the island. The closed forests, in fact, were difficult to exploit for both pastoral practice and agriculture. However, during the Middle Neolithic period, the landscape opened up to medium-high altitudes (around 1000 metres), allowing the peopling of the uplands. Concomitant action of anthropogenic fires and the over-exploitation of certain shrub species finally indicate the importance of pastoral practices in a mountainous context.

Vincenza Forgia, Andreu Ollé, Josep Maria Vergès (2023). Il riparo di Vallone Inferno (Madonie, Sicilia): attività umana, ambiente e paesaggio negli ultimi settemila anni. Oxford : British Archaelogical Reports [10.30861/9781407361130].

Il riparo di Vallone Inferno (Madonie, Sicilia): attività umana, ambiente e paesaggio negli ultimi settemila anni

Vincenza Forgia
Primo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2023-12-01

Abstract

This volume presents the results of fifteen years of an interdisciplinary archeological research carried out in a mountainous territory in the central part of the Mediterranean basin. A surface survey, led by Vincenza Forgia for her PhD research project between 2006 and 2008 (with Dr. Andreu Ollé and Dr. Josep Maria Vergès as cotutors of the PhD), was conducted on sample areas of the Madonie Mountain Range, on the northern part of Sicily (Italy), as part of a major research project on the Himera river valley. The latter, led by Cattedra di Topografia Antica (Prof. Oscar Belvedere), was devoted to the study of the chora of the ancient colony of Himera and interested in all the periods (prehistoric and historic) and in the investigation of the relationship between the lowlands, the mountainous area and its natural resources. One of the sample areas selected for the new surface survey was located between the Imera River valley and the highlands with an altitudinal range spanning from 500 to 1000 meters above the sea level. In this sample area, in the territory of Scillato, we were able to identify the Vallone Inferno rock shelter with its impressive archaeological and paleo environmental deposit. Since the first inspection, it was immediately clear the importance of the place, because the Inferno stream had cutted the archeological deposit, showing a section of several meters with different layers alternating coarse to fine beds, the latter rich in organic matter and archaeological finds (pottery, lithics, fauna). The site has been immediately selected as the reference site, in order to give an absolute chronological framework to the results of the survey on the same mountainous area. The excavation started in 2008, in collaboration and agreement with the Soprintendenza ai BB.CC.AA. of Palermo (responsible for the area, Dr. Rosa Maria Cucco). The first campaigns were devoted to the geoarchaeological description of the stratigraphy by Prof. Diego Angelucci and to the definition of the absolute chronology of the whole sequence. Synchronous results from the excavation and the surface survey led the team to plan a new research project, named HUMAnS (Human Upland Mobility in Ancient Sicily), in order to complete the paleoenvironmental and archaeological investigation. Test pits were opened on the highlands, along a natural corridor reconstructed by spatial analyses and in coincidence with very specific places as pastoral pens (as Fonte Castellaro or Zottafonda) or dry small lakes (as Piano Cervi). The book is conceived like a synthesis of the entire research, with a focus on the results from the excavation of the upper archaeological layers, covering a period spanning from the Early Middle Ages to the Middle Neolithic when, after a long period of absence since the Mesolithic, human groups returned to the mountains. Our results are then contextualized on a wider territorial area in order to interpret the settlement strategies adopted on a diachronic perspective. After the introduction to the local topography and to the state of the art in the archaeological research and the methodology of excavation, two subchapters are devoted to the description of the geological background of the area and to the geoarchaeological description of the stratigraphy of the deposit. This description, with the identification of the stratigraphic units, is at the base of the excavation strategy, complicated from cyclical phenomena of deposition and erosion of anthropogenic and natural origin. The core of the book is the presentation of the whole archaeological record, with chapters divided with a chronological criterion describing structures, pottery finds, lithic finds, personnel ornaments and macro fauna. The interdisciplinary approach, as described in the methodological chapter, led us to collect the whole information coming from the excavation, involving experts of different disciplines, like paleobotany, analytical chemistry and paleoanthropology. The paleoenvironmental reconstruction was also completed by the study of the microfaunal remains. During the VII-IX century CE, the deposition activity of the Inferno stream formed a couple of meters of new deposit in less than two hundred years. During this period the human activity into the rock shelter is poorly documented by common pottery, while the herding strategy, as shown by zooarchaeology and analytical chemistry on biomarkers from sediments, was strongly oriented to the breeding of suids. The site gave shelter to pregnant females and to the newborns during the first months of life. The anthropic signal intensifies in the units relating to the medieval and modern age horizons, in which, in addition to observing a marked decrease in the arboreal component of the vegetation, the presence of ruderal, adventitious and herbaceous plants appears well defined. The most important activity identified on the basis of the palynological analysis is breeding, which could indicate the consumption of arboreal fodder in the initial stages, as the anthracological results suggest. In any case, the cultivation of cereals progressively assumed greater importance in the early medieval occupation levels, as also demonstrated by the carpological documentation. The archeological layers corresponding to the Classical Age has been destroyed, likely by the Inferno stream, but the archaeological record testifies the human presence in the shelter also in these periods. In particular, it has to be noticed the possible funerary use of the place, for the presence of a Hellenistic unguentary. A small fragment of a colony-made cup testifies to the interest in shelter within a larger territorial context. The extensive human activities across a broad area are confirmed by the large colonial settlement on the surrounding hills and the permanent site identified on the highlands, at an altitude of 1400 metres, coinciding with the Fonte Castellaro water source. The Vallone Inferno rock shelter is located exactly in between the main settlements and the mountainous basecamp, topographically and politically dependent from Himera. The stratigraphy is again complete for the Early Bronze Age and Final Copper Age (end 3rd - mid 2nd millennium BCE). The record spans over a period of more than one thousand years, during which it has been possible to follow the uninterrupted use of the shelter by pastoral groups coming from the central and the southern part of the island and interested in the exploitation of the mountainous resources exclusively located on the northern part of Sicily. The interest in the mountains by human communities here began during the Middle Neolithic (end of 6th millennium BCE). This is evidenced by the presence of a stratigraphic unit with tricromica pottery, obsidian, and chert, absolutely dated to the second part of the 6th millennium BCE. During the Early Neolithic, this mountainous territory was likely less attractive than the coastal area for the first agro-pastoral communities that reached the island. The closed forests, in fact, were difficult to exploit for both pastoral practice and agriculture. However, during the Middle Neolithic period, the landscape opened up to medium-high altitudes (around 1000 metres), allowing the peopling of the uplands. Concomitant action of anthropogenic fires and the over-exploitation of certain shrub species finally indicate the importance of pastoral practices in a mountainous context.
Forgia, V; Ollé, A; Vergès, JM
dic-2023
Settore L-ANT/09 - Topografia Antica
Settore L-ANT/01 - Preistoria E Protostoria
Settore L-ANT/07 - Archeologia Classica
Settore L-ANT/08 - Archeologia Cristiana E Medievale
Settore L-ANT/10 - Metodologie Della Ricerca Archeologica
Il riparo di Vallone Inferno (Madonie, Sicilia): attività umana, ambiente e paesaggio negli ultimi settemila anni
9781407361130
9781407361147
https://www.fulcrum.org/concern/monographs/3r074x766
Vincenza Forgia, Andreu Ollé, Josep Maria Vergès (2023). Il riparo di Vallone Inferno (Madonie, Sicilia): attività umana, ambiente e paesaggio negli ultimi settemila anni. Oxford : British Archaelogical Reports [10.30861/9781407361130].
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Il+riparo+di+Vallone+Inferno+(Madonie,+Sicilia)_compressed.pdf

Solo gestori archvio

Descrizione: pdf dell'intero volume
Tipologia: Versione Editoriale
Dimensione 6.38 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
6.38 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/620089
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact