STUDIES FOR THE CONSERVATION AND VALORISATION OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL ROCK HERITAGE OF CALASCIBETTA IN SICILY, ITALY
Keywords: Rock villages, Conservation, 3D survey, Documentation, Valorisation
Abstract. The rock settlement of Vallone Canalotto, which stands in the valleys surrounding the town of Calascibetta – about three kilometres north from Enna, Sicily, Italy – testify to a widespread population of the area from prehistoric times up to the Middle Ages, probably linked to the agricultural and pastoral exploitation of its fertile land. This valuable heritage, dug into very soft limestone banks, is now threatened by significant erosion and disruption phenomena, which, in the absence of adequate safeguarding and maintenance actions, will lead to a progressive loss of material and the consequent collapse of some portions, making the documentable traces more and more paltry. The archaeological complex demonstrates the continuity of the funerary use from the remotest ages to the early Christian era, as testified by the excavation of rupestrian columbaria. In the early medieval period, small rural communities used the hypogeal structures for residential and religious purposes. In the present work, integrated procedures have been put in place for the 3D documentation of these artefacts, whose effectiveness has already been tested by the same team in other Sicilian rock sites. The research aims at the knowledge and cataloguing of places, which are important for the Island’s history but to date only marginally explored. It intends to stimulate and plan adequate conservation and enhancement activities. To improve the attendance of the sites, design proposals have been developed to guarantee greater accessibility to the archaeological areas and their understanding by visitors.