Distribution of Coastal Settlements of the Salento Peninsula. Topographic Analysis and Photo Interpretation of Historical and Recent Aerial Images

Barbara Pezzulla


This study presents the results of topographic research on the Salento territory with a particular focus on the coast. The distribution of the coastal settlements, especially in prehistoric times, developed with a continuous chain of settlements, placed almost regularly along the Salento coast. The study of the aerophotographic documents has allowed the identification of large traces from residual moisture that would suggest the existence of some marsh basins, which would place certain settlements in one location, extremely isolated and protected, between sea and river. These conditions widely occur in both Salento coasts. In a few cases the same conditions can also be found in hinterland settlements where there are humid areas or seasonal wetlands. It seems clear that the archaeological sites of considerable size, milestone studies of traditional Italian prehistoric research (such as Scoglio del Tonno, Saturo, Torre Castelluccia, etc.), are characterised by the presence of a significant quantity of imported Aegean pottery and fortification works that often require great commitment and consistency. They alternate with minor settlements, sometimes equipped with fortifications as in the case of Bagnara, Torre Castiglione or Porto Badisco. A varied landscape also includes the large port facilities such as Brindisi, Taranto and Otranto, small landings, production sites and settlements of “purpurarii” (settlements dedicated to the extraction of purple pigment from gastropod molluscs). The preliminary results show complex situations, often not detected during the excavation work of the past, which may be better understood with systematic and extensive archaeological investigations, as is clear in the extraordinary evidence of the on going research in Rocavecchia.


Salento Peninsula, Coastal Archaeology, Air Photo Interpretation, Coastal Settlements, Ports and Harbours

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5463/lac.2014.49


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Copyright (c) 2016 Barbara Pezzulla

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LAC 2014 proceedings - ISBN 978-90-825296-0-9 - is an open access initiative supported by the University Library, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.