Raffaele Sardella

Raffaele Sardella
Sapienza University of Rome | la sapienza · Department of Earth Sciences

Prof. Dr. PhD

About

277
Publications
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Introduction
Raffaele Sardella: Associate Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome. Since 2015 is the Director of excavations and studies at Grotta Romanelli (Castro, Lecce, Apulia, Southern Italy) with the permission of "Soprintendenza archeologia belle arti e paesaggio delle provincie di Brindisi Lecce e Taranto". From 2009 to 2013 he was President of Istituto Italiano di Paleontologia Umana (IsIPU). Since Nov. 2019 he's Director of the Earth Sci Museum MUST of Sapienza.
Additional affiliations
July 1999 - present
Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"

Publications

Publications (277)
Conference Paper
The evolutionary history of the fallow deer lineage is still a controversial topic, and general consensus has not been reached so far. Taxonomical attribution of medium-sized deer of Europe rests mainly on antler morphology and, when these are not available, identifications are often based on chronological ground. Adequate dental and postcranial di...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Numerous remains of terrestrial mammals have been recovered from the early Middle Pleistocene deposit of Contrada Monticelli (Bari, southern Italy), biochronologically referred to the Isernia Faunal Unit (Stefanelli et al., 2021). Among the mammal taxa, a partial cranium and several hemimandibles were assigned to the Toula’s rhinoceros, Stephanorhi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Quaternary deposits of the Oricola-Carsoli intermontane Basin (OCB) yielded an abundant but poorly studied vertebrate fauna (Fabbi et al., 2021). Hippopotamus cf. antiquus, Palaeoloxodon antiquus, and Stephanorhinus sp. remains were found in the 19th century in the municipalities of Vallinfreda and Riofreddo and described in early contributions...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The MUST (Museo Universitario di Scienze della Terra, Sapienza University of Rome), preserves a wealth of historical geological, mineralogical and palaeontological collections acquired during its long history (Manni, 1993). Founded in 1804 as the Mineralogy Museum, it moved to the University City in 1928, being organised into three distinct museum...
Chapter
Here we describe the remains of the giant hyena Pachycrocuta brevirostris (Gervais, 1850) recovered from the site of Untermassfeld (Thuringia, Germany), representing the most abundant European sample of this widespread and iconic carnivoran. The morphological description provides insights on the variability of the species in comparison to other ext...
Preprint
During the last century, Grotta Romanelli (Southern Italy) has been a reference site for the European Late Pleistocene stratigraphy, due to its geomorphological setting and archaeological and palaeontological content. The beginning of the sedimentation inside the cave was attributed to MISs 5e and the oldest unearthed evidence of human occupation,...
Conference Paper
Grotta Romanelli, a key site for prehistoric studies in Italy, is located on the Adriatic coast of southern Apulia near Castro (LE). Discovered in 1871, its deposits were the subject of extensive studies from the early twentieth century until the 1970s. Since then the field activities were suspended until 2015, when a new excavation campaign was st...
Conference Paper
New fieldwork activities at Grotta Romanelli started in 2015, coordinated by Sapienza, University of Rome and in collaboration with IGAG CNR and other research institutions. This coastal cave, located in the administrative territory of the Castro municipality, within the Otranto-Santa Maria di Leuca Coast and Tricase Woods regional natural parks (L...
Conference Paper
Grotta Romanelli is a coastal cave inhabited by humans since the Middle Pleistocene and considered a symbol of the Palaeolithic period in Europe. The site, facing the Ionian Sea, is located in the administrative territory of the Castro (Lecce) municipality, at the south-eastern extremity of Apulia.This area, also known as Salentine Peninsula, docum...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we describe a partial cranium of a large canid dated at 406.5 ± 2.4 ka from the Middle Pleistocene of Ponte Galeria (Rome, Italy). The sample represents one of the few Middle Pleistocene remains of a wolf-like canid falling within the timeframe when the Canis mosbachensis–Canis lupus transition occurred, a key moment to understand the spread...
Article
An almost complete and partially articulated skeleton of an Early Pleistocene baleen whale is here described. The fossil, measuring 11 m in length, was discovered in the Calcarenite di Gravina Formation at Lama Lamasinata site (Bari, southern Italy) in 1968. The bifurcated first rib combined with other characters supports the identification of the...
Article
Suidae remains recovered from the late Pliocene site of Collepardo (Latium, central Italy) are described and assigned to Sus arvernensis, a small-sized Ruscinian to Early Villafranchian (MN14-MN16a) species. In Italy, S. arvernensis only occurs in the Triversa Faunal Unit (MN16a), supporting the recently revised chronology of Collepardo. CT-scan me...
Article
Grotta Romanelli can be counted among the most interesting sites for the late Upper Palaeolithic of the Mediterranean area, since returned a consistent record of lithic artefacts, faunal remains, mobiliary and parietal art, and human fossils which represent the least-known materials from the context. The resumption of the investigations in 2015, af...
Article
A review of the abundant vertebrate fauna found in the Quaternary deposits of the Oricola-Carsoli intermontane Basin is here presented, with a brief excursus on the history of the research in this area and some biochronological considerations on these faunal assemblages. Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Hippopotamus cf. antiquus, and Stephanorhinus sp. rema...
Article
An updated description and revision of a left hemimandible assigned to Hyaenictitherium namaquensis, a dog-like hyaena from the late Miocene locality of As Sahabi (Libya, North Africa), is here provided. This fossil is part of the historical collection discovered by Carlo Petrocchi, the Italian researcher who excavated the site in the 1930s. The As...
Article
Pollen analyses have been carried out on the infilling deposits of Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, Italy), a reference site for the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Italy. The analysis focused on Terre rosse, a fine unit till now ascribed to an interstadial phase following the Würm acme, and on the uppermost unit (Terre brune), recently dated to the late...
Article
The giant, short-faced hyena Pachycrocuta brevirostris was the largest Hyaenidae ever existed and the one that perfectly embodied the distinctive bone-cracking adaptations of this mammal family. Its dispersal into Europe is regarded as a biochronological marker of the Late Villafranchian at ~2.0 Ma, and its potential ecological interactions with ot...
Article
The Romanelli Cave in south-east Italy is an important reference point for the so-called ‘Mediterranean province’ of European Upper Palaeolithic art. Yet, the site has only recently been subject to a systematic investigation of its parietal and portable art. Starting in 2016, a project has recorded the cave's interior, discovering new parietal art....
Article
Full-text available
The Middle Pleistocene archaeo-palaeontological site of Fontana Ranuccio (Anagni, central Italy) yielded a rich fau-nal assemblage consisting of more than 20,000 fossil remains, including four human teeth and multiple bone and lithic tools. The Ursus specimens from Fontana Ranuccio were historically ascribed to Ursus deningeri and Ursus arctos alth...
Article
Full-text available
The Middle Pleistocene was a crucial stage for the evolution of European mammals, a time when the majority of the modern taxa appeared in the continent for the first time. It is also in this interval that periodicity and intensity of glacial-interglacial cycles changed, an event that strongly impacted on Mediterranean marine and terrestrial ecosyst...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The pardel lynx, Lynx pardinus, is considered one of the most threatened living felids, currently distributed in restricted areas of the Iberian Peninsula. The evolutionary history of this medium-sized felid, as well as its relationships with the Middle-Late Pleistocene “cave lynx” from Mediterranean Europe, have fuelled a decades-long debate among...
Article
The karst fissures known as “ventarole”, located in the Salentine Peninsula (southernmost part of Apulia, Italy), were first studied by Mirigliano in 1941. These fissures are generally filled with reddish sediments or “terre rosse” in the lower part, and with brownish sediments or “terre brune” in the upper one. Both deposits are particularly rich...
Article
The Ponte Galeria area within the city of Rome has yielded numerous fossiliferous localities that represent a reference point for the study of the European Middle Pleistocene ecosystems. Within Ponte Galeria a rich collection of fossil mammals has been unearthed from Cava di Breccia – Casal Selce 2 (MIS 15) thus the site represents an optimal labor...
Article
Full-text available
The Miocene-Pliocene (Turolian-Ruscinian) transition represents a fundamental interval in the evolution of Euro-Mediterranean paleocommunities. In fact, the paleoenvironmental changes connected with the end of the Messinian salinity crisis are reflected by a major renewal in mammal faunal assemblages. An important bioevent among terrestrial large m...
Article
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Here we describe fossil mammal remains recovered from the late Middle Pleistocene (MIS 11) of Fontignano 2 (Rome, central Italy). Two species are recognized: the aurochs Bos primigenius and the red deer Cervus elaphus. The presence of B. primigenius represents one of the earliest diagnostic evidence of the species. Conversely, remains of C. elaphus...
Article
Full-text available
In this work, the Middle Pleistocene mammal assemblage from Ponte Molle, a historical locality of the urban area of Rome, has been revised together with a review of the stratigraphical succession of the deposit. This allows us to reconstruct the provenance of the fossil material and to provide chronological constrains trough the correlation with th...
Article
Among the fossils coming from the Contrada Monticelli site (Castellana Grotte, BA), preserved at the Museum of Earth Sciences of the Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, some cervid fossil remains have been studied. The site was discovered during the 1970s, but the fossil material was never studied, except in a few cases, which do not include...
Article
The pardel lynx Lynx pardinus is today restricted to small populations living in southern Iberian Peninsula. However, this endangered species was widely spread throughout Iberia until historical times and is currently the subject of intense conservation programs. Paleontological data suggest that its past geographical range was much wider, includin...
Article
Full-text available
A river otter hemimandible has been rediscovered during the revision of the historical collections of G.A. Blanc from Grotta Romanelli, complementing the ongoing multidisciplinary research fieldwork on the site. The specimen, recovered from the level G (“terre rosse”; early Late Pleistocene or late Middle Pleistocene), is here assigned to Lutra lut...
Article
One hundred years ago the Serbian engineer, mathematician and geophysicist Milutin Milanković published the seminal work "Mathematical Theory of Thermal Phenomena Caused by Solar Radiation", which laid the foundation for mathematical modelling of climatic cycles. Milanković succeeded in linking major climate change to three known astronomical param...
Article
The site of Coste San Giacomo, in the Anagni Basin, is renowned for its mammal fauna of Early Pleistocene (Gelasian) age, including 32 taxa of small and large mammals. Adding to these, a small amount of remains of amphibians and reptiles was also recovered during recent excavations focused on collecting small vertebrates as well. The analysis of th...
Article
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The word "prehistory" has been used for a long time to indicate all extinct organisms of the past, with dinosaurs occupying a center stage stimulating the imagination of a very large audience. Such erroneous use of the term prehistory is widespread even today, a word and concept originally referred to the period of human history which preceded writ...
Article
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Notarchirico (Southern Italy) has yielded the earliest evidence of Acheulean settlement in Italy and four older occupation levels have recently been unearthed, including one with bifaces, extending the roots of the Acheulean in Italy even further back in time. New 40Ar/39Ar on tephras and ESR dates on bleached quartz securely and accurately place t...
Article
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Nel parco Naturale Regionale Costa Otranto Santa Maria di Leuca - Bosco di Tricase sono presenti cavità carsiche che rappresentano preziosi archivi naturali dei cambiamenti climatici avvenuti nel corso del Quaternario e dell ' antica presenza umana sul territorio. Tra queste cavità, Grotta Romanelli ha attirato l' attenzione degli studiosi sin dall...
Article
Full-text available
Molecular and morphological phylogenies concur in indicating that the African lineages formerly referred to Crocodylus niloticus are the sister taxon the four Neotropical crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius, C. moreleti, C. acutus and C. rhombifer), implying a transoceanic dispersal from Africa to America. So far the fossil record did not contribute...
Article
The phyletic relationship between Canis lupus and the Early-Middle Pleistocene Canis mosbachensis is widely accepted among scholars, although the taxonomy of several European fossil specimens is still debated. In the last decades, many studies focused on the evolution of Pleistocene wolves have been proposed considering new materials as well as spe...
Article
Full-text available
Cranial remains of juvenile fossil rhinoceroses are rarely described in literature and very few is known about the ontogenetic development of their inner anatomy. In this study, we report the first CT based description of a juvenile braincase and its natural brain endocast of a late Middle Pleistocene Rhinocerotinae from Melpignano (Apulia, Italy)....
Article
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Extinct scelidotheriine sloths are among the most peculiar fossil mammals from South America. In recent decades, the external cranial anatomy of Pleistocene scelidotheres such as Scelidotherium, Catonyx, and Valgipes has been the subject of numerous studies, but their endocranial anatomy remains almost completely unknown. Today, computed tomographi...
Article
Full-text available
The internal cranial morphology of the terrestrial sloth Glossotherium robustum is described here based on a neurocranium from the late Pleistocene of the Pampean region of Buenos Aires, northeastern Argentina. The first published data on the morphology of the brain cavity of this species date back to the latest nineteenth century. The novel techni...
Article
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The extant wild boar Sus scrofa has one of the largest geographical range of all mammals, and from its appearance in the late Early Pleistocene (Epivillafranchian) it is also widely represented in the European fossil record. Early forms of the species were larger than Late Pleistocene ones, but neither the chronology nor the causes of the size redu...
Chapter
The Neogene oceans and continents were mosaicked to form a paleogeography similar to today and exposed to the warm conditions of the mid Neogene to the cooling toward the glacial Quaternary. Antarctic ice sheets stabilized, then Northern Hemisphere ice sheets grew and thickened. Tectonics continued to shape the continents and ocean floor. High risi...
Article
Full-text available
Herein we describe a fragment of a mandible with a deciduous fourth premolar (dp4) from the Early Pleistocene locality of Dunaalmás, representing the first confirmed report of Sus strozzii from Hungary. The comparison of dp4 measurements supports a statistically significant distinction between S. strozzii and Sus scrofa. The two species overlap in...
Article
Caves as geosites structurally illustrate the strict dependence of human occupation on geological and geomorphological processes, playing a crucial role in the development of human civilisation. Grotta Romanelli embodies such a kind of geosite, being a coastal cave occupied by humans since the Middle Pleistocene and considered a symbol of the Palae...
Presentation
Full-text available
The Salentine Peninsula (southernmost part of Apulia) is well known for its vertebrate paleontological record coming from caves, located both on the Adriatic and Ionian coasts (e.g., Grotta Romanelli, Grotta Zinzulusa, Grotta del Cavallo) and from karst fissures, locally known as ventarole (e.g., Sternatia, Fondo Cattìe). These latter are generally...
Poster
Full-text available
In 1978, a deposit bearing abundant fossil vertebrate bones was discovered at Contrada Monticelli (Castellana Grotte, southern Italy) during building works (Luperto-Sinni & Colucci, 1985), within the Calcare di Altamura Formation (Upper Cretaceous). The collected fossils, including Paleoloxodon antiquus, Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis, equids, bovid...
Article
Full-text available
The intermontane Anagni Basin (Frosinone, central Italy) is an important region for Italian biochronology and paleoecology due to the presence of two rich fossil assemblages dated to the Early (Coste San Giacomo) and Middle Pleistocene (Fontana Ranuccio). These sites have yielded a vast collection of large fossil mammals with a well-documented pres...
Article
In this paper, we present the results of the accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS ¹⁴ C) dating campaign performed on samples selected from different levels in Grotta Romanelli (Castro, Italy). Grotta Romanelli is one of the key sites for the chronology of Middle Pleistocene–Holocene in Mediterranean region. After the first excavation camp...
Article
The Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition (EMPT) (ca. 1.4–0.4 Ma) represents a fundamental transformation in the Earth's climate state, starting at 1.4 Ma with a progressive increase in the amplitude of climatic oscillations and the establishment of strong asymmetry in global ice volume cycles. The progressive shift from a 41kyr–100kyr orbital rhythm...