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The aims of excavation in Vescovado di Murlo this summer were wholly met. Our previous hypothesis that the linear stone feature and ovoid stone feature, revealed in VT-7 and VT-8 respectively in 2015, was part of a loggia/courtyard type space was however, radically altered. It strongly appears that the \x91floor' uncovered in VT-7 was not indeed an ancient surface; instead the ancient surface was much lower, perhaps as much as 50cms lower. Instead this season we revealed in VT-11 and VT-13 , the western extent of the linear stone feature which extended a total of c 7.70m running roughly east-west from the South-Eastern section wall of VT-11 for 5m, and then runs west for another c. 2.7m into VT-13 . It then turns at a nearly right angle to the north in VT-13 , and runs roughly north-south extending 2m and terminates into a white-yellow chalky soil, that is highly suggestive of a virgin soil type known in the locality.

In all areas excavated in Vescovado this season ( VT-11 , VT-12 , VT-13 , VT-14) we revealed an ancient

cut into the natural topography of the slope of the hill in the locale of Colombaio. It appears that a ditch was cut some 5m wide at its maximum width and slopes downwards in a truncated shape to a maximum width of 3.2m. It was in this ditch that the linear stone feature was revealed. Architecturally it varies with five to seven different courses of stones, averaging a surviving height of 1.25m. The linear stone feature was constructed 1.7m from the lowest part of the south cut into the ditch; its width varies from .6m to .7m, and the northern face of the linear stone feature is roughly .6m from the lowest part of the north cut into the ditch.

In VT-13 , the linear stone feature turns at a near right angle to the north for 2m. The ditch continues for nearly another 2m past the western extent of the linear stone feature. As the linear stone feature turns the natural surface appears to slope upwards and the coursing of the feature decreases

in number. The width of the linear stone feature is, however, somewhat wider, being over 1m in parts.

Our tentative conclusion is that this linear stone feature and perpendicular turn is the remains of a wall. Its function is not certain, but we have a number of possible interpretations. The wall may have served as a boundary wall for the community living in Vescovado, perhaps a habitation area immediately upwards to the north-west, while the cut into the ditch south of this wall may have acted as a path around this boundary. The wall is robust and in all likelihood the wall was probably higher in antiquity as the uppermost course is comprised of small and often loose stones that were presumably capped by at least one course of larger and solidifying stones. The wall may, therefore, have served as a defensive feature of some form, or simply as a manifestation of the limits of the urban community.

The materials recovered in all of the Vescovado trenches are equally intriguing, but do not obviously associate

themselves with the function of the areas excavated in 2015 and 2016. The entire ditch on either side of the wall was at some point filled with an abundance of roofing tile, large quantities of pottery, a good amount of bone, and other materials that were less frequently recovered during the course of excavation. For instance in VT-12 a large fragment of the top of a human skull was found lying above and below a compaction of roofing tile and pottery. Owing to the nature in which the pottery was largely well preserved with many good examples of nearly intact vessels coupled with the large amount of roofing tile, it seems likely that either one or many structures were either dismantled or destroyed in the immediate vicinity and were deposited into the ditch and its associated surfaces to cover the wall and render it unusable. The pottery, especially, those of Greek origin and Italian black gloss wares suggest a terminus post quem of the last quarter of the 4 th century BC for this event.

In VT-14 the constraints of the season only permitted the top of the southern boundary of the ancient cut to be revealed without excavating much into the cut. It appears however this section of the cut would have revealed much material associated with a fill event after the construction of the wall and that the natural soil would have sloped steeply from Locus 3 to the bottom of the cut presumably under Locus 5 . Although this has to remain speculative.

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Suggested Citation

Andrew J. Carroll. "VT 14 (2016-08-09):111-120; Conclusion from Italy/Vescovado di Murlo/Upper Vescovado/Vescovado 14/2016, ID:726". (2017) In Murlo. Anthony Tuck (Ed.) . Released: 2017-10-04. Open Context. <>

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