School of History, Classics and Archaeology


Case Bastione Archaeological Project

The archaeological dig at Case Bastione.

The project seek to explore Case Bastione, a multi-stratified prehistoric settlement site from central Sicily (Late Neolithic – Middle Bronze Age, fourth-second millennia BC).

Previous excavation seasons have concentrated on the Late Copper Age and Early Bronze Age layers (mid-third to mid-second millennia BC), which yielded abundant domestic evidence including grindstones, baking ovens and clay-lined pits.

Remains of craft activities such as spinning and weaving, pottery making, and stone working were also brought to light. Extensive geophysical prospections were also conducted, which identified the layout of the Early Bronze Age village.

This seems to consist of several elliptical sunken houses built on a terraced slope, two of which have been excavated to date. Moreover, the team carried out comprehensive radiocarbon dating, which clarified the occupation span of the village and its pottery sequence in the context of prehistoric central Sicily. 

Current research is focusing on two problems: reconstructing the natural environment surrounding the prehistoric village (and how it was modified by its inhabitants), and investigating the numerous clay-lined pits unearthed from the Late Copper Age horizon.

These pits closely resemble the copper smelting installations brought to light at early metallurgical sites across Mediterranean Europe, but chemical analysis of the clay lining suggests other uses yet to be identified through planned analytical work.

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