The site of Salorno - Dos de La Forca is located just north of the homonymous lock, on the left side of the river Adige, about 30 kilometers south of Bolzano. The locality is known for having given back on several times evidence of prehistoric, protohistoric and Roman frequentation. The site was discovered in 1986 in a quarry cultivated for the extraction of gravel, at the foot of the talus cone that lies on the rocky walls of Monte Alto (Geiersberg, 1083 m). In the following year, the Soprintendenza Provinciale ai Beni Culturali of Bolzano ordered an archaeological excavation to be carried out in an area partially damaged by mechanical means for the excavation of a large pit intended for waste disposal. At the time of the intervention, of the four visible sections, the southern section presented the best preserved stratigraphic sequence with regard to the depositional events of the debris cone. The microenvironmental context of the site is that of an acclive talus that has been deposited at the foot of the imposing rock walls, here practically vertical, that constitute the western side of Monte Alto, and of the easternmost edge of the Adige alluvial plain. within the stratigraphic sequence observable in the section opened by mechanical means above the ustrinum/ mortuary place of worship, at least eight different episodes of deposits were observed, which stratified above the most recent anthropic layer (US 10). They document the progressive degradation of the slope following the abandonment of the site by man. The stratigraphic episodes are substantially similar and almost indistinguishable from each other. These are originally weakly vegetated sediments, originating from the flow of water, with the consequent transport of more or less coarse gravelly material. Above the original sequence, no less than two metres of modern debris linked to the industrial activity of the quarry had been deposited. In the context of the stratigraphic succession, the highest anthropic level (US 10), brought to light on an area of about 150 m², differs from the gravelly growths above for the less intense black color of the earth matrix, and for the almost total absence of remains of material culture. The characteristics and compactness of the US 10 layer, whose inclination was completely different from the levels above and below the ustrinum, lead us to believe that in ancient times it was briefly pedogenized. The layer, of power between 5 and 8 cm, composed of selected and compacted earthy and gravelly material, seems to be the product of an intentional obliteration of the ustrinum. US 10 had a subplane portion that evolved on a slope towards N, w and S. The flat portion of US 10 was therefore interpreted at the time of the excavation as an artificial plane. A sort of podium subject to trampling, covering US 11, a strongly carbonaceous earth layer rich in ceramic remains, minute carbonized bone fragments, glass beads, bronze objects and a deer antler, which could be interpreted as the product of the activity of a funeral pyre and of a related area of funerary worship. Also US 11, like US 10, seems to be set on a sort of tiny terrace of the slope. In plan US 11 has a subcircular shape: towards S and towards w the limits of US 11 were underlined by the clear chromatic difference compared to US 12, gravelly-loamy sediment weakly anthropic, of light colour, covered by US 11. within US 11, two concentrations of ceramic fragments were excavated, powerful up to twenty cm, pertinent to several dozen pots crushed on the ground, called US 14 and US 18. These concentrations were coacerviums of ceramic fragments in almost direct contact with each other, minutely fragmented and repeatedly trampled underfoot. e fractures, mainly ancient, had sharp edges. An interesting aspect, useful to define the meaning of these clusters of ceramic fragments, consists in the fact that in these points, unlike the rest of US 11, there were no calcined bones, except in such a small measure as to make the suspicion of sporadic infiltrations due to localized phenomena of erosion of US 11 itself lawful. is means, that in US 11 there are some areas with ceramic thickenings combined with calcined bones and areas where ceramic thickenings are not accompanied by calcined bones. In summary, the area occupied by US 11 can be defined as an area of subcircular shape of about six meters in diameter, cut by mechanical means in the northeastern portion and characterized by a powerful accumulation of ashes and coals, ceramic remains and various artifacts probably related to funerary outfits and ritual practices. US 11. In the Sw direction, a large square-shaped boulder, longitudinally crossed by a wide and deep crack, with a sub-flat top surface, delimited the area. It is difficult to determine whether the rock existed before the implantation of the culto-ustrinum area, or if it had been brought deliberately. A cultural function seems likely. The study of pottery and non-vascular artefacts refers to the selection of a sample of 320 objects, selected on the basis of chronological, cultural and morphological information that could be inferred from them. e stratigraphic situation, which was considerably compressed as a result of the persistence of activity on a small area (about 150 square meters), makes it necessary to rely exclusively on typological studies for the analysis of the findings. 134 lUCA PISoNI, UMBERTo TECChIATI The discovery of a small quantity of ceramic fragments, which is compared to the recent Bronze levels of many complexes of the Adige basin, makes it reasonable to assume that the site of Salorno began in that same chronological horizon. However, the complex stratigraphic situation and the small number of findings do not allow us to exclude the hypothesis of productions, referable to prototypes of the recent Bronze, which continued until phase A of the Luco culture. The number of mugs of Salorno has been calculated based on the count of the loops that, for morphology or decoration, belong with certainty to different specimens. e 48 mugs identified are theoretically the most represented form in the site; actually, it is quite probable that the truncated cone and the bicone forms are significantly underestimated, given that many edges with angled inner profile have not been attributed to any form. obviously, the closest correspondences were found with the geographically closest sites (Appiano, La Groa, Monte ozol, Seeberg, Luco), but numerous comparisons were also found in the Venosta valley complexes (Ganglegg, Corces, Covelano), and, to a lesser extent, in the Engadine (Scuol-Munt Baselgia) and Upper Rhine valley (Montlingerberg) sites. The data of Salorno seem therefore to confirm the hypothesis of Renato Perini, according to whom the areas of production of the mugs were to be found in the basin of the Adige, where groups of artisans in possession of common techniques of workmanship acted, such as to justify a reduced variability in the decorative syntax. Since the excavation area was excavated according to extremely fine grids (0.25m2) and since the finds were collected paying the utmost attention to their original location, it was possible to plant and quantify the relative abundance (expressed in grams) of ceramic materials in the various points where it thickened. This makes it possible to evaluate the methods of deposition as part of the complex funerary ritual. Distribution graphs show the quantities of ceramic shards collected in the four cuts of US 11, and are expressed in grams. we propose that the smaller quantities dispersed on the surface of the layer can be interpreted as an overall effect of the destruction and dispersion of the pots at the time of deposition/offering, while the larger thickenings, especially highlighted in cuts I and III, represent the primary point of deposition. If this reading were actually close to the truth, we could see in the different weight quantities of finds in the different cuts what remains of deposition acts repeated over time, probably in correspondence to single combustion events of the deceased, or repeated posthumous commemorations of the same. In US 14 and US 18, on the other hand, the quantity of finds, and their location, in accordance with a significantly circumscribed thickening, do not change in an appreciable way, so that it is possible to think of a single deposition event for each US. In conclusion, the symbolic and social character of the ritual and cultural deposition of objects, with particular regard to pottery, is discussed.

La ceramica e i fittili non vascolari del Bronzo finale provenienti dall’ustrinum/luogo di culto funerario di Salorno - Dos de la Forca (Cava Girardi) (BZ). Inquadramento cronologico e culturale / L. Pisoni, U. Tecchiati. - In: PADUSA. - ISSN 1724-0573. - 55:(2019), pp. 113-139.

La ceramica e i fittili non vascolari del Bronzo finale provenienti dall’ustrinum/luogo di culto funerario di Salorno - Dos de la Forca (Cava Girardi) (BZ). Inquadramento cronologico e culturale

U. Tecchiati
2019

Abstract

The site of Salorno - Dos de La Forca is located just north of the homonymous lock, on the left side of the river Adige, about 30 kilometers south of Bolzano. The locality is known for having given back on several times evidence of prehistoric, protohistoric and Roman frequentation. The site was discovered in 1986 in a quarry cultivated for the extraction of gravel, at the foot of the talus cone that lies on the rocky walls of Monte Alto (Geiersberg, 1083 m). In the following year, the Soprintendenza Provinciale ai Beni Culturali of Bolzano ordered an archaeological excavation to be carried out in an area partially damaged by mechanical means for the excavation of a large pit intended for waste disposal. At the time of the intervention, of the four visible sections, the southern section presented the best preserved stratigraphic sequence with regard to the depositional events of the debris cone. The microenvironmental context of the site is that of an acclive talus that has been deposited at the foot of the imposing rock walls, here practically vertical, that constitute the western side of Monte Alto, and of the easternmost edge of the Adige alluvial plain. within the stratigraphic sequence observable in the section opened by mechanical means above the ustrinum/ mortuary place of worship, at least eight different episodes of deposits were observed, which stratified above the most recent anthropic layer (US 10). They document the progressive degradation of the slope following the abandonment of the site by man. The stratigraphic episodes are substantially similar and almost indistinguishable from each other. These are originally weakly vegetated sediments, originating from the flow of water, with the consequent transport of more or less coarse gravelly material. Above the original sequence, no less than two metres of modern debris linked to the industrial activity of the quarry had been deposited. In the context of the stratigraphic succession, the highest anthropic level (US 10), brought to light on an area of about 150 m², differs from the gravelly growths above for the less intense black color of the earth matrix, and for the almost total absence of remains of material culture. The characteristics and compactness of the US 10 layer, whose inclination was completely different from the levels above and below the ustrinum, lead us to believe that in ancient times it was briefly pedogenized. The layer, of power between 5 and 8 cm, composed of selected and compacted earthy and gravelly material, seems to be the product of an intentional obliteration of the ustrinum. US 10 had a subplane portion that evolved on a slope towards N, w and S. The flat portion of US 10 was therefore interpreted at the time of the excavation as an artificial plane. A sort of podium subject to trampling, covering US 11, a strongly carbonaceous earth layer rich in ceramic remains, minute carbonized bone fragments, glass beads, bronze objects and a deer antler, which could be interpreted as the product of the activity of a funeral pyre and of a related area of funerary worship. Also US 11, like US 10, seems to be set on a sort of tiny terrace of the slope. In plan US 11 has a subcircular shape: towards S and towards w the limits of US 11 were underlined by the clear chromatic difference compared to US 12, gravelly-loamy sediment weakly anthropic, of light colour, covered by US 11. within US 11, two concentrations of ceramic fragments were excavated, powerful up to twenty cm, pertinent to several dozen pots crushed on the ground, called US 14 and US 18. These concentrations were coacerviums of ceramic fragments in almost direct contact with each other, minutely fragmented and repeatedly trampled underfoot. e fractures, mainly ancient, had sharp edges. An interesting aspect, useful to define the meaning of these clusters of ceramic fragments, consists in the fact that in these points, unlike the rest of US 11, there were no calcined bones, except in such a small measure as to make the suspicion of sporadic infiltrations due to localized phenomena of erosion of US 11 itself lawful. is means, that in US 11 there are some areas with ceramic thickenings combined with calcined bones and areas where ceramic thickenings are not accompanied by calcined bones. In summary, the area occupied by US 11 can be defined as an area of subcircular shape of about six meters in diameter, cut by mechanical means in the northeastern portion and characterized by a powerful accumulation of ashes and coals, ceramic remains and various artifacts probably related to funerary outfits and ritual practices. US 11. In the Sw direction, a large square-shaped boulder, longitudinally crossed by a wide and deep crack, with a sub-flat top surface, delimited the area. It is difficult to determine whether the rock existed before the implantation of the culto-ustrinum area, or if it had been brought deliberately. A cultural function seems likely. The study of pottery and non-vascular artefacts refers to the selection of a sample of 320 objects, selected on the basis of chronological, cultural and morphological information that could be inferred from them. e stratigraphic situation, which was considerably compressed as a result of the persistence of activity on a small area (about 150 square meters), makes it necessary to rely exclusively on typological studies for the analysis of the findings. 134 lUCA PISoNI, UMBERTo TECChIATI The discovery of a small quantity of ceramic fragments, which is compared to the recent Bronze levels of many complexes of the Adige basin, makes it reasonable to assume that the site of Salorno began in that same chronological horizon. However, the complex stratigraphic situation and the small number of findings do not allow us to exclude the hypothesis of productions, referable to prototypes of the recent Bronze, which continued until phase A of the Luco culture. The number of mugs of Salorno has been calculated based on the count of the loops that, for morphology or decoration, belong with certainty to different specimens. e 48 mugs identified are theoretically the most represented form in the site; actually, it is quite probable that the truncated cone and the bicone forms are significantly underestimated, given that many edges with angled inner profile have not been attributed to any form. obviously, the closest correspondences were found with the geographically closest sites (Appiano, La Groa, Monte ozol, Seeberg, Luco), but numerous comparisons were also found in the Venosta valley complexes (Ganglegg, Corces, Covelano), and, to a lesser extent, in the Engadine (Scuol-Munt Baselgia) and Upper Rhine valley (Montlingerberg) sites. The data of Salorno seem therefore to confirm the hypothesis of Renato Perini, according to whom the areas of production of the mugs were to be found in the basin of the Adige, where groups of artisans in possession of common techniques of workmanship acted, such as to justify a reduced variability in the decorative syntax. Since the excavation area was excavated according to extremely fine grids (0.25m2) and since the finds were collected paying the utmost attention to their original location, it was possible to plant and quantify the relative abundance (expressed in grams) of ceramic materials in the various points where it thickened. This makes it possible to evaluate the methods of deposition as part of the complex funerary ritual. Distribution graphs show the quantities of ceramic shards collected in the four cuts of US 11, and are expressed in grams. we propose that the smaller quantities dispersed on the surface of the layer can be interpreted as an overall effect of the destruction and dispersion of the pots at the time of deposition/offering, while the larger thickenings, especially highlighted in cuts I and III, represent the primary point of deposition. If this reading were actually close to the truth, we could see in the different weight quantities of finds in the different cuts what remains of deposition acts repeated over time, probably in correspondence to single combustion events of the deceased, or repeated posthumous commemorations of the same. In US 14 and US 18, on the other hand, the quantity of finds, and their location, in accordance with a significantly circumscribed thickening, do not change in an appreciable way, so that it is possible to think of a single deposition event for each US. In conclusion, the symbolic and social character of the ritual and cultural deposition of objects, with particular regard to pottery, is discussed.
Late Bronze Age: Pottery; Worship Place; Ustrinum; Salorno; South Tyrol
Settore L-ANT/01 - Preistoria e Protostoria
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