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Correction to: Grotta Romanelli (Lecce, Southern Italy) Between Past and Future: New Studies and Perspectives for an Archaeo-geosite Symbol of the Palaeolithic in Europe

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... The cave lies within the area of the Regional Natural Park "Costa Otranto-Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Tricase". From the beginning of the twentieth century, Grotta Romanelli was considered a key site for Mediterranean Quaternary studies, due to its remarkable importance as the first evidence of the Upper Paleolithic period in the Italian Peninsula and the first record of rock art in the Euro-Mediterranean area (Graziosi 1973;Sardella et al. 2018Sardella et al. , 2019. The deposit was discovered in 1874 by Ulderigo Botti (Botti 1874), but only during the earlier 1900s, Paolo Emilio Stasi realized the first excavation campaigns (Stasi and Regalìa 1904). ...
... In 2015, new multidisciplinary research fieldwork began, coordinated by Sapienza University of Rome together with other research institutions and with the authorization of Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Brindisi, Lecce e Taranto, with the aim to provide an updated stratigraphic and chronological scheme as well as to describe the fossil remains and artifacts Sardella et al. 2018Sardella et al. , 2019, which is also triggering a revision of the large mammal faunas from the region (Sardella et al. 2014;Mecozzi et al. 2017Mecozzi et al. , 2018Mecozzi et al. , 2019Iannucci et al. 2020;Iurino Fig. 1 Geographical position of Grotta Romanelli (a-c). External (d) and internal (e) views of the cave. ...
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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 lutra . Indeed, morphological and morphometric comparisons with other Quaternary Lutrinae fossils from Europe allow to exclude an attribution to the relatively widespread and older Lutra simplicidens , characterized by distinctive carnassial proportions. Differences with Cyrnaonyx antiqua , which possessed a more robust, shellfish-feeding dentition, support the view of a successful niche repartition between the two species during the late Middle to Late Pleistocene of Europe. The occurrence of Lutra lutra from the “terre rosse” of Grotta Romanelli suggests deep modifications of the landscapes due to the ecological adaptation of the taxon, and indicates that the Eurasian otter spread into Europe at the Middle–Late Pleistocene transition.
... One of the richest Late Pleistocene human records in the Italian Peninsula comes from Grotta Romanelli (GR) (Sardella et al. 2018(Sardella et al. , 2019Fig. 1), in the Apulia region (SM 1). ...
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, after 40 years of inactivity in the cave, provided relevant results. During the 2019 campaign, a distal phalanx of the hand was recovered in the so-called terre brune levels, providing for the first time a clear stratigraphic and chronological reference for the human fossils record of Grotta Romanelli. In addition to morphological description and age estimation, the new finding is here analyzed using 3D Micro-CT scans. The new human fossil confirms the exceptional richness of the paleoanthropological record of Grotta Romanelli, opening new avenues of investigation and posing crucial questions on the use of the cave and cultural practices at the Late Pleistocene-Holocene boundary.
... Tra le discussioni più note, si ricordano quelle riguardanti la grotta di Altamira con le sue pitture parietali (Cartailhac 1902), e quello della grotta Romanelli in Salento (vedi bibliografia in: Sardella et al. 2019). Lo studio approfondito dei contesti sopra citati ed altri (vedi: Bahn 2016) ha avuto l'innegabile merito di sollecitare le ricerche scientifiche portando alla messa a punto anche di metodi di analisi archeometrica utili a confermare o meno la reale antichità dei contesti. ...
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In occasione della dismissione del Museo Civico di Luino (VA) e della nuova catalogazione del materiale esposto per l'inclusione nelle collezioni del Museo di Clivio (VA), la Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Como, Lecco, Monza Brianza, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese ha voluto analizzare un frammento osseo esposto, sul quale sono incise due figure di bovide. Questo frammento osseo, depositato da Ferrante Rittatore von Willer al Prof. Astini il 28 giugno 1968, è accompagnato da una documentazione originale di riferimento che riporta la provenienza del reperto dal sito francese del Mas d'Azil e attribuisce la sua cronologia a una età "Maddaleniana". Nel 2018, su incarico della Soprintendenza si è proceduto alla revisione dell'oggetto per confermare l'autenticità dei segni grafici incisi. Le analisi hanno richiesto la produzione di materiale grafico, l'analisi microscopica dei tratti incisi per stabilire la morfologia dei solchi e per comprendere le varie relazioni tra gli elementi superficiali, ovvero patina, fratture e sedimento, e infine la contestualizzazione del reperto nella storia degli studi del sito di provenienza. E' stata accertata la falsità delle figure incise, determinando che esse sono state realizzate su un osso fossile.
... Importantly, karst areas and caves are often identified as geosites, and many karst sites are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Williams 2008). Indeed, these landforms hold a great value in terms of both nature conservation, tourism promotion and scientific research (van Beynen 2011;Delle Rose et al. 2014;Santangelo et al. 2015;Ruban 2018;Sardella et al. 2019;Nyssen et al. 2020). ...
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The concept of geoheritage is related to places of geological interest, generally of aesthetic, cultural, socioeconomic and/ or scientific value. Many geosites are of karstic nature, because of their intrinsic beauty, their singularity and high geodi-versity. Caves are among the most visited and economically exploited geological landforms. They constitute geosites as a whole, with their scenic landscapes, hydrogeological importance and the presence of bewildering natural rock and mineral formations including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and many other bizarre speleothem shapes. In some cases, a single speleothem, and the palaeoclimate record it contains, can be on its own of extraordinary importance to science. Once studied , these samples are often stored in research institution collections, rarely accessible to the wide public. In this paper, we report on the museumization of a stalagmite that has delivered a unique and exceptionally long glacial climate record from southern Italy, shedding light on the causes that led to the Neanderthal contraction and Modern Human expansion in this mild Mediterranean climate between 45 and 42 thousands years ago. The proposed museumization aims to demonstrate the potential of speleothems, after scientific application, in terms of educational and tourist resources. This approach allows to highlight the scientific importance of karst and cave geosites to the wide public, promoting their conservation and the valorisation of the studied cave-material.
... The majority of fossils recovered during the end of 1800s and the early 1900s were accidentally recovered often during quarry activities, lacking a clear stratigraphical context and providing scarce chronological constrains (Palombo, 2004). Systematic palaeontological and archaeological excavations became widespread during the 1910s, adopted for the first time by Blanc in the study of Grotta Romanelli (Sardella et al., 2018(Sardella et al., , 2019. Therefore, the lack of exact stratigraphical data is not surprising, and explain why the labels that accompanied these fossils (when present) reported only the bearing geological unit. ...
... The human occupation of the region is also documented through the whole Upper Palaeolithic, with bone and lithic industry, mobiliary and rock art, and fossils of Homo sapiens (e.g. Grotta Romanelli, Sardella et al., 2019;Grotta Paglicci, Berto et al., 2017). ...
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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 reduction have been thoroughly investigated. Here, we considered for the first time a large number of fossils from several late Middle Pleistocene to Early Holocene sites of the Apulian region (Italian Peninsula). In contrast to the supposed existence of a progressive trend towards small dimensions, morphometric comparisons and body mass estimates allow us to recognize several size oscillations during the late Middle Pleistocene-Early Holocene, with large forms occurring during interglacial stages and smaller ones during glacial stages. This suggests that fossil Apulian wild boar did not conform to Bergmann’s rule, that predicts larger size in colder climates due to the selective pressure towards lower surface area to volume ratio. Climate recrudescence may have played an indirect role in reducing the availability of trophic resources and hence promoting the observed pattern.
... In addition, Sardella et al., 2019 propose an innovative method to document and protect the "Grotta Romanelli" which is in a state of degradation. ...
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Grotta Romanelli, located on the Adriatic coast of southern Apulia (Italy), is considered a key site for the Mediterranean Pleistocene for its archaeological and palaeontological contents. The site, discovered in 1874, was re-evaluated only in 1900, when P. E. Stasi realised that it contained the first evidence of the Palaeolithic in Italy. Starting in 1914, G.A. Blanc led a pioneering excavation campaign, for the first-time using scientific methods applied to systematic paleontological and stratigraphical studies. Blanc proposed a stratigraphic framework for the cave. Different dating methods (C14 and U/Th) were used to temporally constrain the deposits. The extensive studies of the cave and its contents were mostly published in journals with limited distribution and access, until the end of the 1970s, when the site became forgotten. In 2015, with the permission of the authorities, a new excavation campaign began, led by a team from Sapienza University of Rome in collaboration with IGAG CNR and other research institutions. The research team had to deal with the consequences of more than 40 years of inactivity in the field and the combined effect of erosion and legal, as well as illegal, excavations. In this paper, we provide a database of all the information published during the first 70 years of excavations and highlight the outstanding problems and contradictions between the chronological and geomorphological evidence, the features of the faunal assemblages and the limestone artefacts.
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Several taxa belonging to the so called megafauna became extinct during the late Quaternary in Eurasia. The extinction chronology of the narrow-nosed rhinoceros, Stephanorhinus hemitoechus, in Europe is still uncertain and only estimated around 45 ka. A systematic revision of several rhinoceros findings reveals that this species occurred in Italy at least untill 41 ka BP, at the onset of the Heinrich Event 4. Climatic fluctuations during MIS 3 and habitat fragmentation probably created an increase of small S. hemitoechus populations in southern Europe which had a tendency to become extinct. http://riviste.unimi.it/index.php/RIPS/article/view/8300/7917
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We described the proximal epiphysis of a rhinoceros third metacarpus collected from the level XI of Grotta Romanelli. This level is chronologically referred to a time span between approximately 80 and 69 ka. Morphological and morphometric characters of the third metacarpus suggest that it belongs to Coelodonta antiquitatis. This is the earliest record of woolly rhino in Italy.
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Canis lupus dispersed into Europe in the late Middle Pleistocene. The phylogenetic origin of C. lupus from Canis mosbachensis is widely accepted in the literature although their relationships and taxonomy are debated. In this paper, canid remains coming from the so-called “terre rosse”, Level G at Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, Southern Italy) are described. The Level G was dated between 69,000 and 40,000 +- 3250 years using the 230Th/238U method. Despite the great archeological importance of the site, some of the vertebrate fossil remains have been never described in detail. Among these are cranial remains of a canid that different authors referred to Canis aureus, C. lupus, C. mosbachensis, Canis aff. mosbachensis, or Canis sp.. The skull remains from Grotta Romanelli Level G were analyzed using Computed Tomography and 3D virtual modeling to provide a detailed reconstruction of the specimens and investigate inner structures. In addition, the Grotta Romanelli material was compared with (1) fossil wolves from other Middle-Late Pleistocene sites of Apulia (Melpignano/San Sidero, Ingarano and Grotta Paglicci) and France, (2) C. mosbachensis remains from various Early-Middle Pleistocene European sites, (3) a large sample of the extant Italian subspecies C. lupus italicus. The Late Pleistocene wolves from Apulia can be included in a single group, morphologically and morphometrically homogeneous. Although the wolf from Grotta Romanelli shares some similarities with the Early-Middle Pleistocene C. mosbachensis, its overall morphology and proportions fall into the wide variability of the extant C. lupus. Moreover, this determination is much more parsimonious than the taxonomic attribution of the “Apulian wolves” (including the Romanelli specimens) to C. mosbachensis, a typical late Early-Middle Pleistocene species, whose survival in Apulia during the Late Pleistocene is not adequately supported.
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Grotta Romanelli is one of the most important sites of the Italian palaeolithic. It contains a lithic industry from the Final Epigravettian, examples of rock and mobiliary art and numerous bone remains, among which were abundant remains of birds. Approximately 32 000 bird bones from over 3650 individuals and 109 species were identified. The most common species were bustards, Otis tetrax and O. tarda, and three species of goose, Anser fabalis, A. albifrons and Branta bernicla. Traces of butchering and burning were evident on numerous bones. The nature and location of the cut marks and burning is described here. The analysis has involved mostly the hind limbs and the shoulder girdle where traces are most numerous. The cut marks reflect a codified sequence of actions of disarticulation and dismemberment. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Gönnersdorf-style figurines and silhouettes are well known at over 40 sites in western and central Europe and are found in association with Magdalenian or Azilian lithic industries. We describe an engraving of this type discovered at Grotta Romanelli in south-western Italy, in association with a Romanellian industry, a local facies of the Italian Late Epigravettian. This find considerably extends the known geographical distribution of Gönnersdorf-type figures.
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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 campaigns carried out in the first decades of the 1900s, the cave has been systematically re-excavated only since 2015. During the last excavation campaigns different faunal remains were selected and submitted for ¹⁴ C dating in order to confirm the chronology of the cave with a higher resolution. Isotopic ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) measurements were also carried out on faunal remains.
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The rhinoceros remains collected during the past century in the lower levels XII (= K) and XI (= I) of the famous Pleistocene locality of Grotta Romanelli (Lecce, southern Italy) are described and compared in detail for the first time. Some remains are referred to Stephanorhinus sp. and others are assigned here to the late early-middle Pleistocene European species Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis based on several morphological characters. Based on its olivine-bearing texture, the volcanoclastic ash sampled from some rhinoceros bones can be referred to the first phase of the Monte Vulture activity (around 630 ka). The results of the stable isotope analyses suggest that the climate in the lowest levels of Grotta Romanelli could have been more arid than it was at the time of the upper level IX, which is generally referred to the late Pleistocene. In addition, both recent day δ18Oppt values and MAT are very similar to values calculated for levels X and XII, suggesting that the climate at those times may have been close to the Present one, whereas climate in level IX may have been somewhat cooler. The presence of Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis suggests a middle Pleistocene age for the lower levels of Grotta Romanelli, in agreement with the results obtained from the volcanoclastic material.
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We report detailed morphometric observations on several MIS 5.5 and a few older (MIS 11, 21, 25) fossil tidal notches shaped along carbonate coasts at 80 sites in the central Mediterranean Sea and at an additional six sites in the eastern and western Mediterranean. At each site, we performed precise measurements of the fossil tidal notch (FTN) width and depth, and of the elevation of its base relative to the base of the present tidal notch (PTN). The age of the fossil notches is obtained by correlation with biologic material associated with the notches at or very close to the site. This material was previously dated either through radiometric analysis or by its fossiliferous content. The width (i.e. the difference in elevation between base and top) of the notches ranges from 1.20 to 0.38 m, with a mean of 0.74 m. Although the FTN is always a few centimetres wider than the PTN, probably because of the lack of the biological reef coupled with a small erosional enlargement in the FTN, the broadly comparable width suggests that tide amplitude has not changed since MIS 5.5 times. This result can be extended to the MIS 11 features because of a comparable notch width, but not to the MIS 21 and 25 epochs. Although observational control of these older notches is limited, we regard this result as suggesting that changes in tide amplitude broadly occurred at the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition. The investigated MIS 5.5 notches are located in tectonically stable coasts, compared to other sectors of the central Mediterranean Sea where they are uplifted or subsided to ~100 m and over. In these stable areas, the elevation of the base of the MIS 5.5 notch ranges from 2.09 to 12.48 m, with a mean of 5.7 m. Such variability, although limited, indicates that small land movements, deriving from slow crustal processes, may have occurred in stable areas. We defined a number of sectors characterized by different geologic histories, where a careful evaluation of local vertical land motion allowed the selection of the best representative elevation of the MIS 5.5 peak highstand for each sector. This elevation has been compared against glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) predictions drawn from a suite of ice-sheet models (ICE-G5, ICE-G6 and ANICE-SELEN) that are used in combination with the same solid Earth model and mantle viscosity parameters. Results indicate that the GIA signal is not the main cause of the observed highstand variability and that other mechanisms are needed. The GIA simulations show that, even within the Mediterranean Basin, the maximum highstand is reached at different times according to the geographical location. Our work shows that, besides GIA, even in areas considered tectonically stable, additional vertical tectonic movements may occur with a magnitude that is significantly larger than the GIA.
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Due to its geographic position and geomorphological configuration, Grotta Romanelli acted as a sediment trap since at least MIS 5. The so-called 'terre brune' sequence is a deposit mainly of eolian origin bearing upper Palaeolithic artefacts and fossil re-mains of vertebrate fauna; it was deposited during the Glacial-Interglacial transition and the Holocene. Sedimentology and mineralogy of this deposit are investigated. The stratigraphic sequence provides a promising archive within which both human and climatic impacts can be studied. © 2010 AIQUA - Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Quaternario e EMMEVI - Servizio Congressi SPA.
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The list of age measurements given below was obtained from December 1965 to October 1966, Nearly all archaeologic samples dated come from Italian territory, a few from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Some of the series continue or complete measurements published in previous lists (Rome II, III and IV) and refer to important deposits whose material, the result of several excavation campaigns, has been submitted at different times to our laboratory. All geologic samples come from Italian territory.
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The following list comprises age measurements carried out between December 1963 and September 1964. The samples dated are almost all of archaeological interest and are drawn from Italian and Egyptian territory.
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The eastern coast of Salento (Lecce province, southern Apulia, Italy) is a remarkable geological area stretching from Otranto to Leuca villages. It retains a valuable geological heritage produced by the main geological events occurred in the Mediterranean area since Cretaceous. The stratigraphic sequence is extended from the Upper Cretaceous to the Quaternary; the stratigraphic architecture is very peculiar since it is made of several mostly carbonate systems laterally disposed and grafted one upon the other. Numerous sites of stratigraphic, palaeontological, and geomorphological relevance can be recognized. The Otranto–Leuca coastal area is included into a sustainable territorial development strategy supported by Regione Puglia program through the institution of the Regional Natural Otranto–Santa Maria di Leuca Coast and Tricase Woodland Park (n.30 Puglia Regional law of 26/10/2006), including some SIC (Habitat 92/43/CE) and having a consortium for the management. This paper stresses the importance of the geological heritage retained by Otranto–Leuca coastal area supporting the idea to start the procedure to become a Global Geopark Network member.
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The Salento peninsula is a well-known Apulian tourist area. Its peculiar geological and geomorphological features also have attracted numerous researchers during the last 150 years. The importance of the Salento geological heritage and identification of key sites was determined by literature review, assessment of the records of field trips in and around the Salento area during scientific geological meetings, and conferences over the last 30 years, using a geographical information system. Furthermore, these sites identified are the Otranto-Castro and Gallipoli-Porto Selvaggio coastal areas, the area of Leuca as well as the area between Cursi and Melpignano. The Otranto-Castro area contains Late Cretaceous Rudist reefs and Ammonites, an Upper Oligocene reef complex, as well as Lower Pleistocene calcarenites containing slumps and erosional features. The coastal landscape is marked by boulder accumulations produced by a historical tsunami. The Gallipoli-Porto Selvaggio area is noted for its abundant remains of Strombus bubonius Lamarck. In Porto Selvaggio, there is a rich fossiliferous association with abundant taxa of fish found in Cretaceous dolomitic and calcareous layers, with the rocks showing thin chert layers and spectacular slump features that had been triggered by tectonic activity. The Leuca area is the location for the stratotype of the Leuca Formation and by the occurrence of Grotta del Diavolo, a coastal cave that exhibits polycyclic evolution in the Middle Pleistocene. Finally, the Cursi-Melpignano area is important for its numerous quarries of Pietra Leccese Formation that have yielded numerous fossils of Miocene marine vertebrates. The results from the analysis point to the valuable geological heritage of the Salento area which is still completely unexploited by the local tourist industry. Data reported in this paper could be usefully integrated in plans aiming to build a cultural tourist attraction in Salento area.
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Some results in dating of cave concretions are given. Limits for the application of the 230Th/238U method are discussed in detail.
Figurazioni inedite della Grotta Romanelli. Presentazione preliminare
  • M O Acanfora
Acanfora MO (1967) Figurazioni inedite della Grotta Romanelli. Presentazione preliminare. Bullettino di Paletnologia Italiana 76:7-68
Caratteristiche tecnicotipologiche del BRomanelliano^di Grotta Romanelli (Castro Marina, Lecce)
  • A Bietti
Bietti A (2003) Caratteristiche tecnicotipologiche del BRomanelliano^di Grotta Romanelli (Castro Marina, Lecce). In: Fabri P, Ingravallo E, Mangia A (Eds) Grotta Romanelli nel centenario della sua scoperta. Congedo Editore Galatina (Lecce), (1900-2000):91-111
Sulla presenza di Alca impennis Linn. nella formazione superiore di Grotta Romanelli in Terra d'Otranto. Archivio per l
  • G A Blanc
Blanc GA (1927) Sulla presenza di Alca impennis Linn. nella formazione superiore di Grotta Romanelli in Terra d'Otranto. Archivio per l'Antropologia e la Etnologia 58:155-186
Dati ecologici e paletnologici. Archivio per l
  • G A Blanc
Blanc GA (1928) Grotta Romanelli II. Dati ecologici e paletnologici. Archivio per l'Antropologia e la Etnologia 58:1-49
Dipinto schematico rinvenuto nel Paleolitico superiore della Grotta Romanelli in Terra d'Otranto
  • A C Blanc
Blanc AC (1938) Dipinto schematico rinvenuto nel Paleolitico superiore della Grotta Romanelli in Terra d'Otranto. Rivista di Antropologia 32:3-17
Nuove manifestazioni d'arte paleolitica superiore nella Grotta Romanelli in Terra d'Otranto. Reale Accademia d'Italia, Rendiconti della Classe di Scienze fisiche
  • A C Blanc
Blanc AC (1940) Nuove manifestazioni d'arte paleolitica superiore nella Grotta Romanelli in Terra d'Otranto. Reale Accademia d'Italia, Rendiconti della Classe di Scienze fisiche, matematiche e naturali 1:1-11
Interpretazione geochimica delle formazioni quaternarie di Grotta Romanelli (Terre d'Otranto). III -Le sostanze umiche fossili. Atti della Reale accademia nazionale dei Lincei. Rendiconti della Classe di Scienze Fisiche
  • G A Blanc
  • C Cortesi
Blanc GA, Cortesi C (1941) Interpretazione geochimica delle formazioni quaternarie di Grotta Romanelli (Terre d'Otranto). III -Le sostanze umiche fossili. Atti della Reale accademia nazionale dei Lincei. Rendiconti della Classe di Scienze Fisiche, Matematiche e Naturali 7:33-55
Campagna di scavo nella Grotta Romanelli (Lecce)
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