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Results achieved

2008-2010 campaigns: first results

The particular interest in the investigation of Montaccianico castle derives from its certain date of abandonment and the fact that it was never subsequently reoccupied: a fortification stratigraphically “sealed off” in the medieval era. The various phases of enquiry were divided so as to combine the operative phases of research on the field with those of divulging the data collected and making such data utilisable during the site works.


The preliminary investigations in the winter of 2007 led to the identification of some potentially fertile areas where the remains of buildings were visible: an area in the upper part of the site (UT2), with the remains of a demolished tower on the surface (CA3), several sections of the innermost boundary walls (CA1) and an area with traces of a large underground construction, perhaps a second tower (CA2).


Two of these areas, previously the subject of non stratigraphic surveys by the Archaeological Group of the Sant’Agata Museum in the ‘80s, were chosen for the stratigraphic excavations performed in the summer of 2008.

The area 1000 is located in the S/E part of the castle and contains the remains of the imposing tower (CA3) destroyed during the Florentine siege in 1306, the collapsed blocks of masonry of which currently lie on the boundary walls (CA1)..

After removing the humus and recently accumulated deposits, the layers relative to the medieval age were unearthed: the collapsed towers and masonry structure having been preserved, among which the jambs of an opening on the boundary walls. (USM 1011, CA1). The method of laying the masonry proves excellently done, with strong mortar and well squared blocks, as also shown by a stone fragment of moulding found in the deposit US 1002, or the fact that the nucleus of the rubble masonry shows stones laid in order in the mortar. (nucleo apparecchiato-the method of construction used). As regards the collapse of the tower (which affects the entire excavation area, especially area A which investigations were mainly focused on), this is composed of a group of stratigraphic units both of collapsed layers consisting of earth and stones (US 1003, US 1020, US 1023), and of whole blocks of collapsed masonry (US 1014, 1017, 1024, 1025) among which the macroscopic specimens for which the area was chosen stand out (such as US 1005 or US 1007).



Area 1000: panoramic shots showing the blocks of the capped tower and the collapsed layers.









The area 2000, extending over about 85 m2, is located in the N/E part of the castle and bordered to the East by the boundary walls (USM 2003, CA1) in rough hewn blocks of sandstone and limestone, continuing aligned with the visible portion in the area 1000, and to the North by a battlement resting on it, constructed using a plainer installation method (USM 2005).

Once the more recent layers had been removed, the more stratigraphically interesting area in the N/E corner, beside the base of the two aforesaid masonry walls was fenced off. The 2008 excavations brought to light the remains of a small mortar screed in this point (US 2029), hopefully relative to a possible phase of the castle, though this needs to be confirmed by the next excavations campaign scheduled for the summer of 2010. Under the mortar screed, the base level of the masonry wall USM 2005 was reached during the excavations 2009, and found to be set directly into the rock, without any foundations, resting hard on the boundary wall USM 2003.

Lastly, a targeted excavation survey, D, was performed on the boundary wall and brought to light the outer battlement, highlighting its considerable thickness of 3.5 metres. The situation found was of particular interest on account of the fact that the wall revealed a top which had not collapsed but which was flat, probably traceable to the phase of siege and abandonment of the site.


Area 2000: removal of the recent layers and surveys C and D at the end of the 2009 excavations campaign.









After the first excavation campaigns the decision was made to open a further site, Area 3000. The 2011 campaign was inaugurated by extending the excavation area 3000 to the west, in line with the objectives which had led to the choice of such area the previous year as one of the excavation sites of  Monteaccianico, and namely  the analysis of the brick structures brought to light in the southern part of the site  and a consequent  understanding of their role, also in relation  to the other areas.  Such extension, tendentially trapezoidal in shape, hoped to intercept any continuation of the outer boundary wall and in any case clarify the nature of the hillock present in this western area, which would seem to have a shape consistent with that of the boundary walls.


Area 3000