III Archaeological excavation campaign at Pizzo Monaco (Trapani, Italy)

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The MEditerranean MOuntainous LAndscapes Project, financed by European Commission FP-7 (#613265), is coordinated by José María Martin Civantos, associate professor and researcher at the Dept of Medieval History, Universidad de Granada (Spain). The project aims to apply an interdisciplinary perspective to study the evolution of Mediterranean mountainous cultural landscapes.

We announce the opportunity to participate in the III Archaeological Excavation Campaign, authorized by the Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali e Ambientali di Trapani, at the site of Pizzo Monaci (Custonaci, Trapani).

The site is located at a calcareous summit (1607.61 ft). It represents a settlement from the Islamic period adapted to the terrain that today is a fortified structure, accessible from the northeast side. Inside, at least 50 cells have been identified, built with limestone and dry stone technique. As of today, we have excavated seven cells and the main entrance which has allowed to delineate the internal structure of the Pizzo Monaco archaeological site. It has been identified as a fortified structure, a possible collective granary from Islamic times (10th?-11th centuries) linked to a medieval settlement ( rahal/qarya) situated at the base of the mountain.

Previous campaigns not only allowed to determined the chronological and cultural frame of the Pizzo Monaco settlement, but also provided data for an integrated reading of the rural landscape in which the fortified granary is located. Thus, the University of Palermo took soil samples for a dafology analysis. Archaeological sediments taken from the different use levels of the different localised environments and soil samples, were floated in order to extract ancient vegetable remains (Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología en Roma-CSIC). In addition, the University of Granada developed an integral triditopography of the settlement and the hill in which it is located.

The excavation was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture in Spain, through the funding  “Ayudas arqueológicas en el exterior”, and the Max Van Berchem Foundation.

The MEMOLA partners that participate in the III excavation Campaign are:

  • Universidad de Granada (Spain);
  • Universidad de Sheffield (UK);
  • Arqueoandalusí Arqueología y Patrimonio S.L. (Spain)
  • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior  de Investigaciones Científicas–CSIC- Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología en Roma.
  • University of Palermo

We also count with the collaboration of Custonaci and Buseto Palizzolo city councils, that will provide logistical support.

This year the excavation will be organized in 2 turns of 15 days each:


  • July 4th-16th 2016
  • July 18th-30th 2016

Registration will be open until may 31st, 2016. It is necessary to send an email to:

Rocco Corselli (rocco.corselli@gmail.com) including the following:

  • Full updated Resume
  • Turn in which you would like to participate
  • Indicate any food allergies.

Campaign details:

  • Participants will cover their travel costs.
  • Bring a sleeping bag and appropriate work outfit (clothes, footwear and gloves).
  • Due to the characteristics of the site it is advised to bring sun protection: cream and a hat.
  • Meals will be provided by the organisation from Monday through Friday: breakfast, lunch (at the excavation site), and dinner.
  • Working tools will be provided to all participants.
  • Volunteers must bring proof of accidental injury insurance, valid during the time of their participation at the excavation. Also a valid ID card.
  • The peculiarities of the terrain require good physical condition ( the weather is extremely hot and the excavation conditions will be hard)
  • There will be parallel activities such as, working with archaeological ceramics and soil sample flotation
  • Work schedule will be from 6:30am to 2:30pm. The schedule could be modified depending on the weather conditions.
  • For all those who need it, a certificate of participation will be issued.


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