The eleventh excavation campaign took place between the 29th August-28th October and reopened areas begun in previous years. The excavation on the northern slope of Area 1, up against the early medieval ditch, was extended so that it joined Area 14. The excavation of Area 11 was extended towards the south and east, by the gate opening in the west side of the castle’s defensive walls, to join Area 15. The latter was extended in order to investigate the western part of the plateau. Lastly, work continued in Area 17, situated outside of the circuit walls, at the base of the hill in correspondence with its eastern boundary.
The excavation strategy was to dig the entire context, including areas outside the castle, a strategy which produced excellent results for the understanding of the diachrony of the population in the early medieval period. The results from the last campaigns dated the first occupation of the hill to within the 7th century A.D. (period VIII). Originally, this was a centre based around iron-ore mining and iron making activities. In particular, the development of the mining area on the northern slope was better defined. An actual mining system was documented, comprising, at present, a main tunnel from which a shaft opened containing a mechanism for raising the mined ore and a sort of chamber “facing” onto the main gallery, from which at least one secondary cuniculus was accessed which develops in Area 14. A perfectly preserved, semi-rock cut hut was identified in the western part of the settlement.
The excavation also produced further data regarding its development into a rural complex during the 8th century (period VII), with the identification on the south-eastern part of the hill of a vast storage area for dried foodstuffs, surrounded by a palisade. The zone is probably to be associated with the presence of the wooden church excavated in 2010 and situated immediately east of the area with the grain pits.
In the 9th-10th century, the settlement saw urban restructuring and changes in its economy (periods VI-V). The 2011 excavations clarified some of the suggested working hypotheses, showing the presence of structures related to this phase in Area 17, situated at the foot of the hill. Overall, the evidence attested a well-organised early medieval settlement with a population superior to that present from the 11th century onwards, as if, in reality, “incastellamento” represented a recession in the demographic history of the site, this specific aspect to be linked to changes in productive strategies and control over the peasant families.
- 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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