With the last four excavation campaigns (2006-2009), the investigation has covered circa 60% of the site’s total extension. The phases of the early medieval village and castle were further clarified and the date for the origins of the settlement was put back by one hundred years.
In fact, a settlement phase datable to the 8th century A.D. was identified, attested by a number of huts (including two Grubenhhäuser) and an extensive and well preserved metalworking area, with evidence for structures covering the entire production cycle (extraction from the mineral ore, reduction, working). The structures and their layout indicate that they were the result of a public initiative which moved peasant families up to the hill and, perhaps in the beginning or after a few decades, also specialists in the mining and fusion of the ferrous minerals present in a zone with great potential such as the upper Val di Merse.
As regards the manorial village/enterprise (9th-mid 10th century A.D.), in the south-eastern area of the summit a probable access point through the palisade was identified, surrounded by two timber towers/raised platforms. In the same area there was a well preserved production structure which may be interpreted as a blacksmith’s workshop. On the terraces of the southern slopes the remains of a probable timber fortification were identified which can be added to that enclosing the summit. Thus the village had a double fortification: the summit, surrounded by a palisade and delimited by two ditches (east and west sides) and a second palisade which, in all probability, enclosed the entire hill.
Later many of the huts belonging to the manorial phase were substituted by constructions using “mixed materials” (masonry footing and timber walls), attributable to the first ‘incastellated’ settlement (last quarter of the 10th-first quarter of the 11th century A.D.). The defensive walls of this period, enclosing only the summit area and mainly following the line of the earlier palisade, were also built using this same technique.
Almost the entire curtain wall enclosing the hill dating to the phase of the stone built castle (second quarter of the 11th-first quarter of the 12th century) was uncovered. In the south-eastern section one of the main entrances to the castle was identified. This was a monumental gatehouse probably flanked by a tower (to be investigated). In the same part of the site, inside the curtain wall, a church with a single nave and semicircular apse was excavated. The church, dedicated to S. Giovanni Evangelista, is mentioned in written sources.
During this last excavation campaign (2009) trial trenches were dug on the lower terraces, situated outside the curtain wall near the cultivated fields at the base of the hill. First results clearly indicate the presence of a stratified deposit suggesting that the settlement was much larger than originally thought.
- Marco Valenti - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia delle Arti
- Mirko Peripimeno
- Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia delle Arti, Insegnamento di Archeologia Medievale
- Comune di Chiusdino
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