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Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte


The excavation in progress this year suggested from the very beginning that the human presence on the acropolis of Selinunte is several millennia older than previously assumed. In fact, below the first level of the Greek settlement, under a natural deposit more than a metre deep, pottery shards of the Early Bronze Age were discovered, as well as evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry (about 8000-6500 BC).

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: La Repubblica
The discovery was announced today by archaeologist Clemente Marconi who, together with Rosalia Pumo, leads the teams of archaeologists from New York University and the State University of Milan who are carrying out important excavations at the Archaeological Park of Selinunte. 

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: CNews
Remains of animals and fragments of coal were also found in association with the first level of the Greek presence in the area, which will be analyzed by radiocarbon.

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: La Repubblica
"The excavations confirm that the layer in which the spears were found stuck in the ground at the end of the last campaign corresponds to the oldest level of Greek occupation in our area. The discovery of numerous animal bones and charcoal," continued Marconi, "should make it possible to date this layer with a certain degree of precision, thanks to the radiocarbon analyses that we will undertake in the coming weeks."

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: CNews
"At present, the layer is dated, based on the pottery and its position in the stratigraphic sequence, to the founding phase of the Greek settlement. Below this first level of Greek occupation the earth is clean, with no trace of an indigenous level from the Early Iron Age. This year's results, like those from the last ten years' excavations in the southern sector of the large urban sanctuary, suggest that when Selinunte was founded, the site had been uninhabited for many centuries."

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: Parco Archeologico di Selinunte e Cave dei Cusa
The focus of the archaeologists' investigations will be on the period prior to the foundation of Selinunte by the Megarians in 650 BC in order to reconstruct the history of the territory in its entirety.

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: Parco Archeologico di Selinunte e Cave dei Cusa
In this context the foundations of Temple C were uncovered. "It's an exciting finding," said archaeologist Clemente Marconi, "and I see that the foundations are a bit below ground level. This will allow us to date with certainty the start of temple's construction, which is dedicated to Apollo, and which ancient sources date back to 540 BC, while the completion of the structure is said to have taken place in 510 BC."

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: La Repubblica
During the excavations, which also involve temple R, two more iron spear heads were found on the floor of the platform of temple C.

Evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry discovered at the Acropolis of Selinunte
Credit: La Repubblica
The excavation campaign will continue in the coming weeks and will focus on the acropolis of the Greek city.

Source: La Repubblica [June 20, 2018]

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