Mousterian Scraper from San Marco in Lamis (Gargano; Italy)

This is a surface finding from a rock shelter, used as a dumpsite by the local population near San Marco in Lamis (Gargano; S-E-Italy)

Gargano is a small mountainous promontory protruding into the Southern Adriatic and, from a structural point of view; it is part a carbonate block that is part of the slightly deformed foreland of the southern Apennine thrust belt(http://www.aggsbach.de/2011/09/lost-and-found-epigravettian-point-from-the-gargano-peninsula/).

The Gargano promontory stretches for 70 km along the coast, giving rise to the Gulf of Manfredonia. It is a mountainous, rocky island, almost out of place along the flat coastal Adriatic, which rises to over a thousand meters from the plate Tavoliere Puglia. The Gargano is full of contrasting landscapes, very similar to the better known karstic regions in southern Croatia (Just opposite from Vela Spila where first evidence of a developed Palaeolithic ceramic art technology and tradition that postdates the Last Glacial Maximum in Europe were recently found and published!).

The hinterland of the Gargano typically appears as an environment with wild ravines, cliffs, caves, high ridges, pinnacles and columns. Some of these caves have been excavated and yield abundant prehistoric material from the Paleolithic to Protohistoric times. Many caves and rock shelters remain unexplored till now.

The recent years of archaeological research helped to better define the conditions of the first peopling of Europe thanks to the discovery of numerous new sites dated between about 1 and 1.5 Ma. In this context, the Pirro Nord site situated at the north-western margin of the Gargano promontory, close to the village of Apricena and dated between 1.3 and 1.6 Ma on a bichronological basis became important by the discovery of an unequivocal Mode-1 industry. The reduction sequences at this site were always short and opportunistic, finalized to obtain flakes that were only rarely retouched.

Non-dated Handaxes and lower Paleolithic material was found at several sites in the Gargano (e.g. at Baia delle Zagare). A Middle Paleolithic with Quina / Charentian aspects is known from “the early last glaciation” at Paglicci rock shelter / cave, Piani di San Vito (an open air site) and the Grotta di Spagnoli.

The Grotta Paglicci at Rignano Garganico (Apulia, Southern Italy) represents undoubtedly one of the reference cave sequences for Southern Italy, both for archaeological and palaeoenvironmental implications. The cave was discovered at the end of the 1950s and archaeological excavations were performed in the 1960s. The systematic excavation of the site started only at the end of the 1970s, under the direction of Prof. A. Palma di Cesnola. The paleo sequence is about 8 m thick, subdivided into 26 units and begins with a late Acheulian followed by a Quina Mousterian, a typical Aurignacian (35 k.a. BP) and a wonderful Gravettian, with the oldest strata dated between 29 and 27 k.a. BP. Several evolved Gravettian and Epigravettian layers complete the stratigraphy until a late Epigravettian (unit 2, 12 k.a. BP).

The numerous caves and abris in the Gargano need prospection, protection and surveillance. I do not doubt that this microregion is full of unexpected Paleolithic material.

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One Response to Mousterian Scraper from San Marco in Lamis (Gargano; Italy)

  1. Pingback: At the Shores of Europe: Acheulian in the Gargano | Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog

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