The Archaelogical Area of “Scorpo”

SAC-B-055

The archaeological area of the locality of Scorpo is one of the sites of early medieval period, interestingly investigated in southern Italy in the last years. The settlement was discovered in 1999 following an unauthorized excavation, that profoundly dented a part of the structure of the site...

The archaeological area of the locality of Scorpo is one of the sites of early medieval period, interestingly investigated in southern Italy in the last years. The settlement was discovered in 1999 following an unauthorized excavation, that profoundly dented a part of the structure of the site. From that year, the Laboratory of Medieval Archaeology of the University of Salento, headed by Professor Paul Arthur has conducted researches in the area managing to identify a series of ovoid shaped holes, relevant to hut foundations, constructions using perishable material (wood, clay, branches etc). Also known as Grubenhäuser, this type of houses were very common in northern Europe, while its finding in a Byzantine context like that of Supersano is little known. The hole placed under the house defended the wooden planking from humidity, one of the main characteristics of the woodland and swamp environment in which the Byzantine settlements were found. The remains of a wall probably refer to the stone structure that originally surrounded the small village or farm, while to the northern part of the excavation, the discovery and digging of a well with various botanic remains and crockery lost by the inhabitants trying to draw water. The biological remains preserved in the well have allowed the reconstruction of the environment of the oak woodlands and the swamp and also the agricultural activities of the byzantine community settled in the place. In fact, thousands of seeds and pruned vines were found, an evident sign that in the 8th century grapes were grown in this place. The artefacts of the settlement, conserved in Mubo –Museum of the woodlands- of Supersano tell the story of a community largely self-sufficient and able to exploit the resources of the woods where wood was useful for building tools and housing, for hunting wild animals such as deer, wild boars, birds and also for livestock and cultivations. However, there were contacts with distant territories as shown by fragments of a glass cup, probably made in northern Adriatic and various fragments of lava grindstones. The settlement, inhabited from the late 7th century or early 8th century, was probably inhabited for a century or less. However, evident signs were found of habitual visits, even though not constant, over the centuries around the year one thousand, a period in which the fencing wall of the old village still looked like a ruin.

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