Extraordinary archaeological discovery in Trent
A residential centre and a cult area dated 4.000 years ago were brought to light by the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of the independent province of Trent (Italy).
The small village of Gardolo di Mezzo, just few kilometres north from Trent, is going to become one of the most important locations for the archeology in the italian Alps.
The in-depth inquiries brought on by the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of the independent province of Trent since 2003 are revealing one of the most important archaeological sites dated back to Bronze Age in the south of the Alps. It is considered as the most important archaeological discovery which was ever made in the Trentin territory in the latest years.
Till August 2003, Gardolo di Mezzo was not so well known for its archaeological sites but for the ruins of the wall of an ancient castle dated to the Middle Ages, located to the top of the “Doss de Luna”.
In occasion of the archaeological pre-checks of the excavation which were made during a parcelling out of a building site project, this area became very interesting for what concerns the archaeological discoveries of the land.
Exceptional ruins of a huge scientific and archaeological value were found during the excavation campaign; in particular, tumulus structure, indicators of the presence of a sacred location, with funerary purposes and, later on in the centuries, dedicated to the ancestors cult.
Moreover, the tumuli in Gardolo Di Mezzo have been compared and relationed to a residential area nearby, which was built in the same period, and which has to be still explored by the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage.
On the west side of the overlooking Doss de la Luna, a wide multi-layered settlement was found, inhabited from the Ancient to the Recent Bronze Age (that means, it has been inhabited for the whole II millennium b.C.).
In addition to this, at the North of the settlement and cult area, starting from the first centuries of the Bronze Age (latest centuries of the III millennium b.C.) a huge infrastructural reclamation operation was started, in order to make the orographic terrace settleable in Gardolo di Mezzo; this lets us suppose that a rational and logical design of the living space and the hurbanistic organization of the whole area was in process.
In addition to all this new information, another very important scientific acquisition.
The settlement on the Ancient Bronze Age above the west slopes of the “Doss de la Luna” probably based its economic activity, exploiting the mineral resources of Monte Calisio, which has been used since the end of the III millennium b.C., as documented by the inquiries near the residential areas and in the cult area, which brought to light relevant fusion scums.
For all of these new aspects, the site in Gardolo di Mezzo is unic in the whole Alps environment.
The inquiries are managed by dr. Elisabetta Mottes, archaeologist of the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of the independent province of Trent and co-directed directly onstage by dr. Michele Bassetti, geo-archaeologist of “Cora Ricerche Archeologiche s.n.c.”, a private enterprise in Trent, and by its researchers’ team.
Preliminary archaeological researches followed some geo-physical inquiries started in co-operation with the Geotechnical Laboratory for the geological Services of the Province of Trent.
In order to optimize the evidence documentation of the heritages found, the most modern seeking technologies were used in co-operation with the Microsystem Division (MIS) of the Bruno Kessler-IRST Foundation in Povo (Trent) which has prepared a digital model with Dlaser technology of the tumulus structures to be analysed.
The scientific studies of the rich data archive provided by the exceptional archaeological site in Gardolo di Mezzo will be brought on by a team of interdisciplinary research, with the co-operation of italian and foreign insitutions; some of them are: the Geo-science Department of the University of Padua for archaeo-metallurgical analysis, the Laboratory of Anthropology and forensic odontology of the “Università deli Studi” in Milan for anthropologic analysis, the Archaeology Laboratory and Environmental History of the “Università degli Studi” in Genoa, for archaeo-zoological analysis, the General Zootechnic Institute of the “Università degli Studi” in Milan, for the fauna remains DNA analysis, the Archaeobiology Laboratory of the City Museum in Como, for archaeo-botanical analysis, the “Institut für Botanik” of the Leopold-Franzens Universität in Innsbruck for the pollen and paleo-ecological study, the Leibniz Labor für Altersbestimmung und Isotopenforschung in Kiel (Germany), for radiocarbon dating.
In addition to this, an important aspect must be remarked: the site in Gardolo di Mezzo was not only important for the discoveries which were made there, but also for the training of the many University students from Trent, and the rest of Italy and Europe which partecipated to the excavations during the years required by these works.
The first scientific results of the archaeological site in Gardolo di Mezzo will be announced during an international Conveign about tumulus structures titled “Ancestral landscapes: burial mounds in the Copper and Bronze ages (Central Europe-Adriatic-Aegean-Balkans, 3rd-2nd millennium BC)” which will take place in Udine, in May 2008.
For further information, please contact the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of the independent province of Trent – sopr.archeologica(AT)provincia.tn.it