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From Early to Late Mesolithic in Sicily. New data from Grotta D'Oriente (Favignana Island)
Domenico Lo Vetro  1, 2, *@  , Andrè Colonese  3@  , Federico Poggiali  4@  , Stefano Bertola  1, 5@  , Fabio Martini  1, 2@  
1 : Dipartimento SAGAS - Unità di Archeologia Preistorica, Università di Firenze
Via S. Egidio, 21 50121 Firenze -  Italie
2 : Museo e Istituto Fiorentino di Preistoria  -  Website
Via S. Egidio, 21 50122 Firenze -  Italie
3 : Department of Prehistory and Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona  (ICTA)
Bellaterra, 08193, Spain -  Espagne
4 : Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool
12-14 Abercromby Square Liverpool L69 7WZ -  Royaume-Uni
5 : Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Sezione di Scienze preistoriche e antropologiche, Università di Ferrara
Corso Ercole I d'Este, 32 44121 Ferrara -  Italie
* : Corresponding author

Grotta d'Oriente, a coastal cave located in Favignana Island (Sicily), is one of the key-site for the study of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of Sicily and, more generally, of the Central Mediterranean. Archaeological excavations, performed by University of Florence, have provided evidence of several short-term human occupations of the cave in a period spanning from latest Upper Palaeolithic to the Late Mesolithic/Early Neolithic (~14.2 to ~7.8 cal. ky BP) (Martini et al. 2012; Lo Vetro et al. 2016; Colonese et al. 2018). The archaeological sequence consists of 3 main unit: Layer 7, Upper Palaeolithic - Late Epigravettian, Layer 6, Early Mesolithic, with Sauveterrian-like stone assemblage and Layer 5, Late Mesolithic or Early Neolithic, which presents a small stone assemblage marked by the occurrence of blades and trapezes and by the appearance of the pressure blade technique.

A multidisciplinary research project carried out in the last fifteen years, has resulted in a large amount of data which has significantly improved the knowledge on both the cultural-economic framework known for the Paleo-Mesolithic of Sicily and the local environmental evolution at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition.

This communication focuses on the post-Palaeolithic occupations of the cave by the last Hunter-gatherer groups presenting new data on chronology, material productions and resources exploitation (chert, terrestrial and marine fauna). Particular attention will be paid to the evidence from Layer 5 and to its chrono-cultural attribution also in relation to the current debate on the diffusion of the Blade and Trapeze assemblages in the Mediterranean. New achievements from the anthracological study provide also new insights on the evolution of the regional landscape during the Early Holocene in North-Western Sicily.



Colonese, A. C.; Lo Vetro, D.; Landini, W.; Di Giuseppe, Z.; Hausmann, N.; Demarchi, B.; d'Angelo, C.; Leng, M. J.; Incarbona, A.; Whitwood, A. C.; Martini, F. 2018, Late Pleistocene-Holocene coastal adaptation in central Mediterranean: Snapshots from Grotta d'Oriente (NW Sicily), Quaternary International, 493, pp. 114-126.

Lo Vetro D., Colonese A.C., Di Giuseppe Z., Landini W., Martini F. 2017, Human response to Late Palaeolithic-Early Mesolithic transition: stone tool production and resources exploitation of the last hunter-gatherers in SW Sicily, Bulletin du Musée d'Anthropologie Préhistorique de Monaco, 56 (2016), pp. 130-133. 


Martini F., Lo Vetro D., Colonese A.C., Cilli C., De Curtis O., Di Giuseppe Z., Giglio R., Locatelli E., Sala B., Tusa S. 2012, Primi risultati sulle nuove ricerche stratigrafiche a Grotta d'Oriente (Favignana, Trapani). Scavi 2005, Atti della XLI Riunione Scientifica dell'Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria, pp. 319-332.

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