Excavations begin at submerged Bronze Age settlement at Italy's Lake Viverone
The first underwater excavation of an important World Heritage Site is to go ahead as part of a new research project. An international team, led by the University of Bradford, hopes to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bronze Age settlement at Lake Viverone, one of the most vibrant trading centres for bronze artefacts in Northern Italy.
|View of Lake Viverone in Northern Italy [Credit: WikiCommons]|
“Viverone is a fascinating, but difficult, place to study which perhaps explains why no excavations have been carried out there before,” says lead researcher, Professor Francesco Menotti of the University of Bradford. “We aim to combine the information we gather from the excavations with specialist scientific analysis of the site and its artefacts, to answer some of the many questions that surround the settlement.”
Although Viverone was discovered in the 1970s, the new project will be the first time it has been excavated and scientifically analysed in a systematic way. The wooden piles on which the settlement was built around 3500 years ago are still visible beneath the water, showing a group of houses, surrounded by a palisade, with a walkway to the shore.
|The site at Lake Viverone - post holes that once supported prehistoric pile dwellings|
[Credit: Telegraph and Argus]
The region around the Alps had a number of lake villages during the Bronze Age, but those in Northern Italy were all abandoned about five centuries earlier than in the northern Alpine region. The researchers hope to shed light on this mystery as well.
Underwater archaeologists will dive into the lake to dig exploratory trenches at two locations within the village, to see what information lies beneath the surface. The team hope to uncover new artefacts and show the potential for more extensive excavation at the site.
|Reconstruction of pile houses on Lake Viverone in Northern Italy |
The research will be carried out by the University of Bradford in collaboration with the University of Cambridge (UK); the ‘Terramare’ Underwater team (Freiburg, Germany), the ‘Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Biella’; the ‘Comune di Viverone’ and the ‘Museo del Territorio Biellese’ in Italy.
Source: University of Bradford [September 10, 2016]