The excavation area and pottery spreads which have defined the study area, lie on the southern slopes of an outcrop of Miocene Limestone which is common throughout the central southern region of Sicily. The site would appear to occupy the lower third of the hillside where the angle of slope makes habitation and more recently agriculture possible.
There is no obvious topographical indication of settlement as most of this has been obliterated by past ploughings, the most recent occurring since the removal of almond groves which covered the settlement area until very recently. A fragment of the almond groves still survive on the small portion of land between the track and road to the west of the study area . The slopes where the settlement is located, are for the most part relatively even, although they are studded with stone rubble which is likely to be fragments of stone wall footings which have been brought up by the plough. Since the removal of the almond grove the site has self - seeded with local grasses and weeds which at the time of survey were in the region of 40cms in height.
The top-soils on the site would appear to be of the brown Mediterranean
series (Walker. 1958) but no detailed study was available for consultation.
The excavations of 1994 and 1995 demonstrate that the soil cover over the
slopes is not uniformly consistent and can vary quite considerably, not
unusual on limestone hillsides.
Excavation during 1994-5 revealed highly localised changes in sub-soil deposits which vary quite considerably in mineral content and also in depth below current ground levels. Although no systematic record of sub-soils and soils was created it is possible to make some general observations which have a direct bearing on the data produced during the geophysical survey, particularly in that relating to the resistivity survey. The excavated areas to the north and west of the site (Trenches C and F), and also plough disturbance in the same localities, identified deposits of natural sand and also lenses of yellow clays which appear to overlie the limestone.
The study area is bounded to the north by an established vineyard, with the west truncated by a modern road which links Montallegro to Ribera in the north-west.
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