San Felice, Puglia

Gravina October 2004

Between the 11th and 17th October 2004 a geophysical survey was undertaken at the site of San Felice by The Archaeological Prospection Services of Southampton and the British School at Rome on behalf of Hans vanderLeest of Mount Allison University, Canada.

The survey represented a preliminary trial to test the complimentary capabilities of both resistivity and magnetometer survey with respect to this site. It was initiated with the aim of locating and mapping the remains of sub-surface archaeological features in an area corresponding to the recent surface collection of archaeological material carried out on the site.

San Felice is situated in the Regione of Puglia, a few kilometres to the northwest of Gravina. The survey area comprised a field located along the northern side of a ridge overlooking the valley below. The field covered an area of approximately 3.5 hectares and was composed of a narrow terrace along the southern edge with an exceptionally steep decline towards the north and west.

Taking into account the pronounced topography of the overall survey area, the narrow terrace forming part of the southern edge of the field appeared to be the most likely area for habitation. Indeed, the surface collection survey had already indicated that the densest scatters of material were derived from this area. With that in mind the results from both the resistivity and magnetometer surveys indicated evidence of activity in this area. The resistivity survey produced a plan of several possible structures based around a central open courtyard area.

The results of the magnetometer survey, whilst not defining individual structures, did recognise disturbance associated with building activity in this portion of the field. Immediately to the north west of this complex the magnetometer survey produced a strong response, possibly a kiln set inside a walled enclosure. This feature appeared as only a faint disturbance in the resistivity results. Finally a further modest sized structure with internal divisions was located at the north east extremity of the resistivity survey area; however this lay beyond the limits of the magnetometer survey.

The importance of an integrated survey is clearly demonstrated by the complimentary nature of the results. The response to the kiln by the magnetometer survey was very pronounced, while the resistivity survey produced only very ephemeral anomalies for the same feature. The reverse is true for the building complex which was outlined in the resistivity survey but remained an area of disturbance in the magnetometer survey with no definition.

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