ABSTRACT: This paper deals with a monument that is, up to this date, unique in Sicily and in the Italian peninsula: the Mycenaean-type tholos tomb of the Gazzi necropolis in Messina. A recent excavation in the alluvial deposits revealed extensive traces of a funerary area with a tholos tomb and several enchytrismos tombs with skeletal remains, presumably dated back to the end of the Early or the initial stage of the Middle(?) Bronze Age. The present multi-disciplinary investigation has been developed to analyse new data related to sediments, building stones and skeletal remains of this funerary area. The stratigraphic succession hosting the necropolis was formed by overbank sediments deposited on the alluvial floodplain of the Gazzi palaeostream and developed during a regressive trend. The tholos building stones were opportunely selected and distributed in the different sectors of the tomb. The crystalline building stones are unworked stones derived from the alluvial pebbles of the palaeostream, whereas the worked stones are derived from local quarries of limestones located in the surrounding hills. The osteological remains are ascribable exclusively to Homo. The minimum number of individuals inside the tholos was calculated to consist of one adult, whereas one adult and one infant were found in the enchytrismos burials. The Gazzi necropolis discovery demonstrates the important role played by the Messina settlements during the Bronze Age, when relationships between the Aegean and Western world became closer.
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