In June, 2006, Jennifer E. Knapp, Randall T. Nishiyama and Paolo Visona` continued to work in Calabria on the finds from previous campaigns at contrada Mella.
While Jennifer identified and recorded finewares, Randy reviewed his database on the brick and tile, and Paolo inventoried new material for the archives of the Archaeological Superintendence of Calabria. In addition, Jennifer and Paolo travelled to Locri and Kaulonia to examine comparanda for the ceramics found in 2005 and completed the first report on Monte Palazzi for publication. Randy and Paolo also conducted a surface reconnaissance on Monte Gremi and inspected the site of Monte Gallo, where the remains of fortification walls similar to those uncovered at Monte Palazzi have been located.
Between June 14 and July 4, 2005, The Mamertion Foundation completed the first archaeological investigations at the mountaintop site of Monte Palazzi, in southern Calabria. At 1,215 meters above sea level, Monte Palazzi is possibly the highest classical site within the region.
Test excavations on the summit, which is thickly forested, have yielded the inner face of a perimeter wall built on granitic rock. There is evidence that the site was disturbed by looters in recent years. The
pottery finds suggest a period of occupation ranging between the late 6th and the mid- or late 3rd centuries BCE and consist largely of Greek finewares and storage vessels, including amphoras from Locri
Epizephyrii, a major city c. 30 km. to the south on the Ionian coast.
Finds of kitchen wares and grinding stones seem to attest to the presence of a small Greek settlement, perhaps a garrison guarding the
main overland trading route between the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian Sea. However, fragments of votive ceramics, figurines, and painted plaster do not rule out the possibility that Monte Palazzi may have been a frontier sanctuary in the Locrian hinterland. We plan to test these hypotheses through a large block excavation next summer.
Dr Paolo Visona announced the successful conclusion of the 2003 Field Season. During the session, foundation volunteers moved more than 15 years worth of archaeological finds from the old lab building to the new museum.
The move to the museum took over a month to complete and was accomplished with the excellent cooperation of local officials.
In 2002 we worked on the ceramic finds from previous field seasons in preparation for a study of pottery to be published in our next excavation report volumes. Hellenistic pottery is the most abundant and most critical of all the archaeological finds at Contrada Mella, since it helps to date the cultural contexts with which it is associated. Our entire reconstruction of the architectural history of the site depends largely on the analysis of the ceramics, and particularly of the fine wares, which are closely datable.
As a result of the work conducted last summer, over a thousand crates of pottery, brick, and tile have been sorted, identified, and weighed. This database will be used for the study of the many different classes of ceramics imported or produced locally by the inhabitants of the site between the 3rd and the 1st centuries B.C.
In addition, we began the transfer of all the finds in storage into a new archaeological museum under completion in the town of Oppido Mamertina, our excavations’ field headquarters.
In the summer of 2001 we resumed the excavation of an architectural complex and a cobblestone street previously uncovered on the north-western edges of the hill. These structures had partially collapsed as a result of earthquakes and landslides, and they were threatened by slope erosion.
Our investigations were aimed at reconstructing the architectural history of the complex and its relationship to the town’s plan and street grid.