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MEGALITHIC SITE “LA TABACCARA” LAMPEDUSA
English Version By Diego Ratti July 2011

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LAMPEDUSA MEGALITHIC SITE “TABACCARA COAST“

July 2011 © Diego Ratti MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM © Diego Ratti, 2011 2

MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM SITE DESCRIPTION The Natural Reserve "Isola di Lampedusa" was established in 1995 to protect an area of extreme importance for the wildlife, flora and fauna of Lampedusa: Inside the Zone A of the Natural Reserve we have found interesting megalithic remains and thanks to the permission of the Management of the Natural Reserve we can publish here some pictures taken inside the Reserve. We recommend to all tourists and visitors of Lampedusa who wish to visit the Natural Reserve to ask for advice and specific instructions to the Managers whose office and contacts are as follows: R.N.O Isola di Lampedusa Via V. Emanuele 27 92010 Lampedusa AG Tel: +39-0922971611 Fax: +39-0922-971812 E-mail: lampedusa@legambienteriserve.it www.legambienteriserve.it The Natural Reserve has its how rules and regulations that visitors must comply with when visiting it: we recommend to contact the Reserve Management if you need additional information or advice.

Map of Natural Reserve “Lampedusa Island” zone A MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM © Diego Ratti, 2011 3

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None of the archeologists who have been dealing with the prehistory of Lampedusa has seen or studied the megalithic remains inside zone A of the Natural Reserve. Previous archeological mapping and cataloging efforts completely ignored zone A of the Natural Reserve: by observing the archeological maps of Lampedusa produced by Shelby1, Sagrè2, Demiro3, Diceglie4 it is easy to note how the megalithic remains inside zone A of the Natural reserve remained unnoticed to date. In this working-paper we focus on a particular area inside zone A between 35° :30’:51’’ N latitude and 35° :30’:41’’N latitude and 12°:34’:05 ’’E longitude and 12° :33’:56’’E longitude (see picture below) . This area is known as “Tabaccara” coast.

Google Earth satellite view of the archeological area described in this working-paper MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM © Diego Ratti, 2011 4

MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM This is a 35,000 squared meters arid surface on limestone rock with a slight southern inclination (max height 68 meters min height 60 meters above sea). The vegetation type of this area is the typical Mediterranean scrubland or “gariga” on arid soil and limestone rocks contributing to the low visibility of the limestone megalithic remains. Another factor hiding the megalithic remain is the absence of roads and maps7documntatioopns mentioning the megalithic remain which remain off-road and unnoticed even during the touristic peak season of Lampedusa. The area is accessible by walk from North and requires a 20 minute walking route off road under the hot sun of Lampedusa discouraging most of the visitor from venturing there, moreover of road walking inside the reserve must be authorized by the Reserve managers or guards.

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MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM DESCRIPTION OF THE MEGALITHIC REMAINS The author has recognized the megalithic remains initially by aerial imagery and satelite view and he has later verified the presence of megalithic remains by visiting the area taking the pictures that are shown here and published on our website thanks to the kind authorization of the Natural Reserve management. In this working paper we will follow the same methodology showing the satellite imagery first (courtesy of Google Earth) and confronting it with the pictures taken on site following the order/list shown below.

Megalithic site “la Tabaccara” seen from Google Earth with numbered remains
1- North Defensive Wall 2- East Defensive Wall 3- East Defensive Wall 4- Stone Circle 5- Megalithic Wall 6- Hut A 7- Hut B remains 8- Hut C remains 9- Rectangular enclosure 10- North Defensive Wall 11-Large Stone Circle (56 meters diameter) AUTHOR’S NOTE: We have numbered the remains and we have described the remains using generic definitions such as “Huts”, “Enclosures”, “Defensive walls” to make it easier under standing the general plan of the site notwithstanding we know well that only the archaeological research can ultimately provide us with an exact description of the function, age and meaning of the megalithic remains that can be observed there. It’s the author opinion that the megalithic remains described in this working paper are prehistoric but no archaeological study has been made on this site as of writing to confirm this tentative chronology. All we know for sure is that the remains are megalithic remains and their construction style is homogeneous.

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Megalithic site “la Tabaccara” seen from Google Earth with a tentative reconstruction of the remains

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1- North Defensive Wall

North Defensive Wall (East) MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM © Diego Ratti, 2011 8

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This wall crosses from East to West the Northern border of the Megalithic site and has a length of approximately 200 meters and a width of 1 meter

North Defensive Wall detail: 1 meter wide double line of orthostatic blocs filled with small limestone stones

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North Defensive Wall (West)

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2- East Defensive Wall The East defensive wall has the same construction characteristics of the North Wall.

East Defensive Wall (North)

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3- East Defensive Wall

East Defensive Wall (South) MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM © Diego Ratti, 2011 12

MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM 4- Stone Circle At the South-Eastern edge of the megalithic site there is a stone circle with an eight meters diameter, its shape and look is similar to most of the Lampedusa stone circles3 .

Stone circle mimetized with the local scrubland

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5-Megalthic Wall The Southern edge of the site is crossed longitudinally by a megalithic wall which connects the stone circle (n.4) to the hut (n.6)

Megalithic Wall detail

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Megalithic wall (double line of orthostatic blocs)

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6-Hut A Hut A has a circular shape with a 8 meters diameter. Unlike the common stone circles3 of Lampedusa here the wall is higher (1 meter or more), there is a door and a square enclosure with a side of 2 meters is built next to the circle. We defined this kind of megalithic remain an Hut but further studies are needed to confirm this preliminary assumption: in this working paper we assume this remain is an hut and we use an hut like shape for our tentative 3D reconstruction of the site.

Hut A

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Hut A picture (above) and Hut A tentative 3D reconstruction (below)

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Detail of the Square enclosure on the back of Hut A

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MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM 7- Hut B remains Closet o Hut A there are remains of a similar stone structure.

Hut B remains

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Hut B remains

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MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM 8- Hut C remains Close (slightly NW) to Hut B remains there are additional remains of another similar stone structure.

Hut C remains

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MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM 9-Rectangular Enclosure Next to huts A-B-C (East) there is a rectangular enclosure looking like a farming terrace (36 meters long and 6 meters wide).

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Detail of the rectangular enclosure wall

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Shred Various types of shreds scan be seen on the surface of the site but those has never been dated or studied before. It must be remember here that is not possible to pick stones, dig or damage the natural environment inside the Natural Reserve.

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MEGALITHIC-LAMPEDUSA.COM 10-North Defensive Wall

North defensive Wall (West)

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11-Large Stone Circle In the middle of the site there is a a large stone structure almost circular in shape (56 meters wide longitudinally and 58 meters long on the NS axis). The wall of this structure is small and barely visible to naked eye being well mimetized inside the local scrubland, it can be observed better from aerial imagery or with grand angle cameras. It is very difficult to make assumptions about the function of this enclosure in the middle of the megalithic site, it could be a sheepfold or it could have a ritual function or anything else: only further archaeological research can provide us with reasonable explanations on this issue. It must be noted that more large circle like this or wider can be found in Lampedusa (see our dedicated section on our website www.megalithic-lapmedusa.com for more information).

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BIBLIOGRAPHY “Lampedusa, Linosa e Lampione” Annals of Archaelogy, Vol IV 1911 pp11-34 Sagrè "Rendiconti Accademia Nazionale dei XL" Roma, 1960, Serie IV, Volume XI 3 “Le Strutture curvilinee di Lampedusa: proposta di interpretazione” Armida De Miro, in Quaderni dell’ Istituto Archeologia, Università di Messina, n. 9 , year 1994. 4 Diceglie “Telerilevamento archeologico di Lampedusa”, 1994 Falsano di Bari “Tracce di un insediamento neolitico nell’ isola di Lampedusa” G. Radi, 1973 in Atti della Società Toscana di Scienze Naturali- Serie A - pp 197-205
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