The 2015 campaign
In 2015, some potsherds were collected inside the cave, on the surface. The potsherd n. 1 has been found in room 1; all the others come from rooms 3 and 4. The inclination of the bowl n. 1 is uncertain since the presence of the handle could have modified the profile. Very good parallels for the decoration lack: some slightly different patterns have been dated both to EBA (theme 217, Cocchi Genick 1998; see also the vessel from Navelli, Di Fraia 1996, fig. 3, 17) and to MBA1/2 (theme 560, BM2A, Cocchi Genick 2001). According to I. Macchiarola, the triangular pattern (fila a denti di lupo), filled with dots and enclosed between parallel lines is characteristic of an early stage of MBA3 (theme 115, Macchiarola 1987), but can be found in layers dated between MBA2 and 3 (Macchiarola 1987, p. 146). The bowl shape is also common in pots from Canterno (Angle e Gianni 1986, fig. 7) and Vivara – Punta Capitello (Cazzella et al. 1980, fig. 15, 2), both dated to MBA1/2A (Damiani 1995, tipo 197). The bowl n. 2 can be dated to MBA 1/2; a good parallel comes from Villaggio delle Macine (Angle et al. 2007, fig 56, 8) and some others from Tratturo Caniò (Feiken et al. 2012, plate XVIII, 29, 46) and Borgo Ermada (Pascucci 1996, fig. 2, 1). Vessels similar to the bowl n. 3 have been found in the MBA3 settlement of Montagna Spaccata (Albore Livadie 1986, figg. 9,2 e 10,12), and in the Infernetto Cave (Cocchi Genick e Poggiani Keller 1991, fig. 1, 3); the latter has been dated to MBA2A (Cocchi Genick 2001, type 322, p. 228-229). Some parallels for the storage pit n. 4 comes from Infernetto Cave (Cocchi Genick e Poggiani Keller 1991, fig. 4, 4; dated to MBA1B-2A, Cocchi Genick 2001, tipo 5, p. 56). Good parallels for the storage pits n. 5 and 6 lack; the latter could be more ancient than MBA. We propose to date the context MBA2.
The 2016 campaign
In 2016, several Bronze Age layers have been excavated in Room 1, 2, 3 and 4. Almost all the collected potsherds dated to an early stage of Middle Bronze Age and most of the parallels comes from the southern Protoappenninico facies. Unfortunately, the prolonged use of the cavity has compromised a large part of the archaeological deposit of the Bronze Age. In this regard, the SU 9 (sector SP) is a good example. The potsherds collected from this layer can be placed in a transition phase between Early and Middle Bronze Age. Good parallels come from very early protoapennine layers and in Palma Campania contexts. However, a 14C date (Ulna, Sus sp) returns 1506-1293 calBC, which seems too recent. Besides, SU 9 yelds a very high percentage of canine remains on the total fauna (82%). Since one of them gave a radiocarbon date of 1456-1641 calAD, it is very likely that in the Middle Ages the deposit was partially disturbed. However, all the ceramic fragments recovered in the cave can be dated between a transition phase from the Early Bronze Age and the Middle Bronze Age 2.
The 2017 campaign
In 2017 the excavation took place only in Room 1 and 2. All the potsherds are now being processed in the Tor Vergata laboratory. They can be dated to an Early Stage of Middle Bronze Age.
Albore Livadie, C. 1986 – Considérations sur l’homme préhistorique et son environnement dans le territoire phlégréen. In Tremblements de Terre, éruptions volcaniques et vie des Hommes dans la Campanie Antique, a cura di Claude Albore Livadie, 189–205
Angle, M., e A. Gianni 1986 – Testimonianze dell’età del Bronzo sul lago di Canterno. Quaderni di Protostoria I: 252–65
Angle, M., F. Lugli, A. Molinaro, C. Rosa, A. Zarattini, L. Cattani, A. Tagliacozzo, e A.R. Franco 2007 – Villaggio delle Macine. In Repertorio dei siti protostorici del Lazio – provincie di Roma, Viterbo e Frosinone, edited by C. Belardelli, M. Angle, F. di Gennaro, and F. Trucco: 173–81
Cazzella, A., I. Damiani, F. di Gennaro, M. Marazzi, M. Pacciarelli, P. Petitti, A. Saltini, e S. Tusa 1980 – Vivara. Terza campagna di ricerche sull’isola. Bullettino di Paletnologia Italiana 82: 167–216
Cocchi Genick, D. 1998 – L’antica età del Bronzo nell’Italia centrale, Firenze
Cocchi Genick, D. 2001 – Classificazione tipologica e processi storici: le ceramiche della facies di Grotta Nuova. Viareggio
Cocchi Genick, D., e R. Poggiani Keller 1991 – I materiali della Grotta dell’Infernetto (Viterbo) conservati al Museo Fiorentino di Preistoria. Studi e Materiali VI: 30–40
Damiani, I. 1995 – La facies protoappenninica. In Aspetti culturali della media età del Bronzo in Italia centro-meriidonale, edited by Daniela Cocchi Genick: 398–428
Di Fraia, T. 1996 – Considerazioni sull’antica età del Bronzo in Abruzzo. In L’antica età del Bronzo in Italia, a cura di Daniela Cocchi Genick: 483–92
Feiken, H., G.W. Tol, M. Van Leusen, e C. Anastasia 2012 – Reconstructing a Bronze Age hidden landscape: geoarchaeological research at Tratturo Canio (Italy, 2009). Palaeohistoria 53/54: 109–59
Macchiarola, I. 1987 – La ceramica appenninica decorata, Roma
Pascucci, P. 1996 – Borgo Ermada. In Repertorio dei siti protostorici del Lazio – provincie di Rieti e Latina, edited by C. Belardelli and P. Pascucci, 68–69
Caprolace salt production
La Sassa faunal remains
La Sassa human bones
La Sassa project
La Sassa potsherds