Archaeology: Necropolis discovered, migrants working on dig

In Ragusa area, an example of integration for asylum seekers

24 February, 14:12

     CHIARAMONTE GULFI (RAGUSA) - An archaeological dig in Chiaramonte Gulfi, in the province of Ragusa, which brought to light a necropolis from the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., has also become an integration project for young asylum seekers.

    The migrants, hosted at a reception centre, are working together with students from the University of Bologna at the archaeological site.

    The dig, conducted in the area of the San Nicola contrada, has uncovered more than 110 tombs, as well as an abundance of funerary items, which leads archaeologists to believe that it was a wealthy community of elevated social status.

    The cooperative Nostra Signora di Gulfi, owner of the area and manager of one of the SPRAR/SIPROMI migrant reception centres in the town of Chiaramonte, stipulated an agreement with the city, the Ragusa Superintendency of Cultural Heritage, and the University of Bologna, which is conducting scientific, historic, anthropological and genetic studies to understand the customs and lifestyles of the residents of 1,700 years ago. The academics are looking for elements that can allow for the study of the body and bone structure, the type of diet, and type of work.

    In one case, researchers are attempting to rebuild a face.

    The agreement, an example of collaboration between public institutions and the so-called "private social sector", takes on importance when one considers that asylum seekers are working on a significant archaeological dig.

    For the project, work grants have been developed in collaboration with the superindendency.

    The archaeological area of the Giglia contrada was well-known in past centuries, and some archaeologists, including Paolo Orsi, had taken up work in the area.

    In addition to what had already been discovered, and is believed to be from the Byzantine era, new things are now coming to light.

    The dating of the tombs, of the funerary materials (plates, jewelry, rings, a pin, a small lekytos) is certainly prior to that era and shows the presence in the area of a population that hadn't been previously recorded.

    Lithic sarcophagi of valuable manufacture have been uncovered, as well as numerous earthen caves dug into the ground and closed with large sheets of stone wedges and clay.

    The results of the work in recent months were presented in Bologna during a conference titled "Archaeology in Ilbei Among Research and Integration", sponsored by the University of Bologna's Department of Cultural Heritage and History, Cultures and Civilizations.

    "The collaboration between the public and social private sector, that we represent, offers a service to historic and scientific studies and to our community," said Gianvito Distefano, president of the Nostra Signora di Gulfi cooperative.

    "I'd like to thank Bologna Cardinal Matteo Zuppi and the project partners for their support and trust," he said.(ANSAmed).

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