This excavation involved a settlement known in the written sources from the beginning of the 11th century (it was first mentioned in a document of 1004) with the aim of discovering its pre-castrum origins and following its development until its final abandonment during the 14th century. The site’s morphology was characterized by two large defensive ditches which divided the available space in two. One of the ditches divided the aristocratic area from the “borgo”, whilst the entire inhabited area seemed to be built on artificial terraces cut during the early medieval period.
Previous excavations established the diachronic evolution of the settlement which showed evidence of occupation from the 8th century onwards. At the beginning of the Carolingian period (9th-10th century) the first urban layout took shape with wooden huts on the summit area, many of which can be interpreted as deposits for the collection and preservation of food stuffs produced in the surrounding area. The settlement must have grown up around a large central hut, in part obliterated by the remains of a 12th century stone palace. This building was surrounded by service structures and flanked to the south by a circular hut with wooden floor boards, where bone and horn were worked. This part of the settlement was delimited by a wooden palisade which ran along the two defensive ditches, dug during the same phase, and by the north and east slopes of the hill.
From the mid 10th century the buildings on the summit were restructured and rebuilt using a mixed construction technique. The huts had a stone base and walls in perishable material and the palisade was replaced by a wall built of stones and wooden stakes bonded with clay. From the end of the 11th century the site was transformed: the huts were replaced by stone buildings and a great enclosure wall was built which surrounded the entire castrum. It emerges from the sources that following the dispute between the Gherardeschi, the noble family who owned the territorial rights to Mirandolo, and the bishop of Volterra, the castle was sold during the course of the 13th century to a local family, the Cantoni di Pontieri. Their ownership continued until the sale to the Broccardi family in 1276 who then ceded the property to the municipality of Pontieri in 1336-1337.
During 2005 the investigation concentrated on part of the summit area which probably belonged to a 9th-10th century curtis and to a part of the “borgo”.
The excavation campaign of 2006 concentrated on four different areas and revealed an archaeological deposit corresponding to the site’s occupation between the 8th century and the end of the 13th century.
- Marco Valenti - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia delle Arti
- Riccardo Francovich - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte
- Silvia Goggioli - Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana
- Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia delle Arti, Insegnamento di Archeologia Medievale
- Comune di Chiusdino
- Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia delle Arti
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