The University of Arizona

Radiocarbon Dating the Exploitation Phases of the Grotta della Monaca Cave in Calabria, Southern Italy: A Prehistoric Mine for the Extraction of Iron and Copper

Gianluca Quarta, Felice Larocca, Marisa D’Elia, Valentina Gaballo, Maria Macchia, Giuseppe Palestra, Lucio Calcagnile


Grotta della Monaca is a karstic cave in Calabria (southern Italy) that plays an important role in reconstructing the oldest strategies for the acquisition of mineral resources in the Mediterranean. In fact, systematic archaeological excavations carried out by the University of Bari allowed the identification of intense prehistoric mining activities aimed at the exploitation of iron and copper ores. Archaeological evidence suggests different phases of frequentation of the cave spanning from the Upper Paleolithic, Neolithic, Copper and Bronze ages up to the Middle Ages. In order to establish an absolute timeframe for the different phases, a radiocarbon dating campaign was carried out and the results presented in this paper.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16204


AMS, Radiocarbon dating, Italian Prehistory, Prehistoric mines

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