Cooking, working and burying in ancient Neolithic: the ovens of Portonovo (Marche, Italy)
This paper presents the preliminary results of recent excavations held at the Early Neolithic site of Portonovo - Fosso Fontanaccia on the Conero promontory in the Marche. Here 16 domed ovens were found cut into the hillslope, one of which was intact. Two of the ovens contain three burials, while the remains of a cremated female were found in an open area, carefully collected in a container of organic material which was not preserved. Oven batteries dug into the ground are known in many sites of Central Europe, from France to Slovakia, from the Early Neolithic onwards. Conversely, in Italy the evidence of domed ovens is restricted to a few, poorly preserved specimens. This article focuses on the main features of the structures and burials, while pottery and lithics are currently under study. Micromorphological, archaeozoological and palaeobotanical analyses are in progress. The appendices contain the anthropological study of human remains, the bone collagen stable isotope analysis, the preliminary results of the anthracological study, the analysis of the temperatures reached in the ovens and the chemical characterization of obsidian blades. Sampling for an archaeomagnetical analysis of the three structures discovered in 2012 and not yet excavated will be carried out on the next campaign.