Claudia Speciale, Kyle P. Freund, Sandro de Vita, Nunzia Larosa, Vincenza Forgia, Giuseppina Battaglia, Robert H. Tykot, Stefano Vassallo
May 31, 2021
New investigations on Ustica (Palermo, Sicily) originated from the need to improve our knowledge of the island’s archaeological and environmental heritage. Through field surveys, particular attention was paid to human occupation in the Neolithic phases and focused on the less investigated southern side of the island. The systematic survey of the area of Piano dei Cardoni in 2018 brought to light a new Middle/Late Neolithic site, already partially documented in the literature. The island was settled for the first time during these phases, as also testified from the area of Punta Spalmatore. The presence of Serra d’Alto, incised dark burnished, and Diana styles suggests that the site and the archaeological assemblage dates from the mid to late 5th millennium BC, as confirmed by AMS dating. In addition to pottery, obsidian artifacts were also recovered, and a preliminary study of these materials is presented here. Portable XRF analyses on a sample of 41 obsidian artifacts, representing a high percentage of the lithic assemblage compared to chert tools, show that the provenance of the raw material is Gabellotto Gorge (Lipari) and Balata dei Turchi (Pantelleria). These results provide new insight into broader regional debates about obsidian technology and its exchange during the Neolithic and open an important consideration for sites that are far from the raw material sources.