9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Barbaro et al

Firing the earth: experimental reconstruction of an ancient Neolithic underground oven

Cecilia Conati Barbaro, Vanessa Forte & Alberto Rossi Sapienza

Università di Roma & Università di Macerata

This work presents the experimental reconstruction of an ancient Neolithic underground oven. We performed this experiment in order to understand the timing, methods, tools and difficulties in the realization of these structures, which were found in the ancient Neolithic site of Portonovo Fosso Fontanaccia in the Marche region, central Italy. Here 21 ovens, dated to 7500 cal BP, were uncovered, six of which were intact. The ovens have a circular base, from 1.80 to 2 m in diameter, a height of about 0.50 m, a single central opening and were facing two by two on large pits dug for their realization and for their subsequent use. The inner lining was made by firing the natural sediment, while the bases were probably smoothed and covered with a light coating of clay. The PXRD analysis indicates that the temperature reached did not exceed 500 ° C. The hypothesized function is food processing rather than pottery firing; moreover, a lot of charred barley caryopses were found inside three ovens.

We realized one of such oven in a reduced scale by digging it in the same type of sediment with a set of wood and bone tools and we consolidated it by firing. This work aims to present the methodology employed and the results obtained. Energy investment, seasonal condition, lifespan of these structures will also be taken into account.

Conati Barbaro C. 2013, Cooking, working and burying in Ancient Neolithic: the ovens of Portonovo (Marche, Italy), with contributions by Acquafredda P., Catalano P., Celant A., Di Giannantonio S., Lelli R., Muntoni I.M., Pallara M., Ruggero G., Origini XXXV, pp. 31-82

Conati Barbaro C. et alii 2013, Il fuoco, il cibo, il sacro: i forni neolitici di Portonovo (Ancona, Marche), Scienze dell’Antichità 19, pp. 107-114

Conati Barbaro C., Malinverni E.S., Tassetti A.N., La Marca C., The modelling of the Early Neolithic site of Portonovo as a case study for testing a 3D documentation pipeline for archaeological excavation, paper presented at the CAA 2014 Congress, Paris, 22-25 aprile 2014

Conati Barbaro C. 2014, Portonovo, Fosso Fonatnaccia (AN), Notiziario Riv. Sc. Preist. 2014,
Firenze

 

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