The Pertosa-Auletta Caves, a karstic complex located at the foothills of the Alburni Mountains in southern Italy, have recently been the subject of a significant archaeological research project.

Thanks to collaboration between local authorities and several scientific organizations, it became possible in January 2024 to temporarily drain a dam obstructing the entrance to the caves, allowing for new archaeological investigations inside.

Within the caves lies an exceptional archaeological site dating back approximately 3500 years, consisting of the only known remains in Europe of a prehistoric stilt village in an underground environment.

Due to the dam, these remains could only be sporadically studied. The new work has allowed for documenting the extent of the ancient settlement and better clarifying the presence of artifacts spanning from the Stone Age to the Roman period.

The intervention has expanded knowledge about this unique prehistoric site, which, before the Christian era, was used as a place of worship by Greeks and Romans.

The caves, connected by natural galleries about 2500 meters long and adorned with numerous calcareous formations, also house a small underground lake crossed by boat.

Additionally, the recovered materials include ceramics, stone tools, and bone artifacts shedding light on the way of life of the human groups that inhabited the site. It has been determined that activities included agriculture, fishing, and hunting.

In the coming months, research efforts at the site will continue, with detailed findings expected to be presented at a major scientific conference.

This project is uncovering new insights into the history of these caves, one of the most emblematic natural and archaeological sites of prehistory in southern Italy.


Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Salerno e Avellino

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