Neolithic Settlements of the Tavoliere di Puglia (Foggia, southern Italy). Topographic Analysis, Interpretation and Restitution of Archaeological Traces in Aerial Photographs

Patrizia Gentile


This paper is focused on investigating the prehistoric settlements of the Tavoliere di Puglia (Foggia, South Italy) through the analysis of archaeological traces in historical and recent aerial photographs, both vertical (IGM images taken in 1954 and in 1955, IRTA, AM and RAF photographs, colour orthophotos) and oblique. As is well known, the plain of the Tavoliere was densely inhabited during the Neolithic Age and analysis of aerial photographs showed noteworthy examples of archaeological evidence related to topographical organisation of villages, delimited by one or more ditches containing more or less dense series of compounds. Such complexes are located, in most cases, near waterways that have sometimes dried up, in the areas interfluvial or on plateaus and shallow edge of scarp; in the western sector of the territory not many prehistoric settlements appear in aerial photographs and they are mainly located at slight elevations, neighbouring modern farms. The georeferencing and graphic rendering of archaeological traces of the Neolithic settlement allowed the measurement of their extension. In some cases the analysis of archeological traces in aerial photographs have found a topographic continuity between Neolithic settlements and Medieval fortifications, in areas characterised by the presence of slight hills featuring geological outcrop (locally known as “crusta”); this data has been confirmed by field survey. The interpretation of the many visible traces, their geo-referencing and graphic rendering, combined with topographical survey make an important contribution to the reconstruction of settlement dynamics of the prehistoric period. The integrated study of the historical and recent aerial photos was particularly functional when used to analyse archaeological contexts, no longer visible in recent aerial photos, and has facilitated a detailed analysis of the archaeological traces. The georeferenced data were, in part, controlled with field survey that has better defined the chronology of the archeological traces.


Neolithic Settlements, Archaeological Traces, Geo-Referencing and Graphic Rendering, Historical Aerial Photographs, Recent Aerial Photographs

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Copyright (c) 2016 Patrizia Gentile

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