The cave site of La Cala is located in Southern Campania, close to the village of Marina di Camerota (Salerno) at the foot of a hilly-mountainous landscape characterized by short tablelands 250-500 m a.s.l. (Fig. 1)
Earliest excavations at La Cala started in 1966 and were undertaken by A. Palma di Cesnola of the University of Siena (1966-1969). Investigations at this site were later resumed by Paolo Gambassini (1974-2004) and Adriana Moroni (2014 –still in progress) of the same University.
In 2016 the cave was set up for being visited by the general public (Fig. 2).
La Cala is a crucial site for the reconstruction of the Upper Palaeolitithic of Central-Southern Italy . Its more than 3m thick archaeological sequence covers a period of about 50 ka, from the late Middle Palaeolithic to the Copper age. Here, the cultural evolution of the Upper Palaeolithic (from the Uluzzian the to the Final Epigravettian, around 40-11 ka BP) is almost completely documented in great detail.
The key nature of La Cala also relies upon the presence of some layers (containing the late Mousterian, Uluzzian and Protoaurignacian techno-complexes) encompassing the so-called Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Transition, namely the phase in which the demise of Neandertal populations and their substitution by anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) took place (Fig. 3).
All the excavated layers yielded several hearth features and plenty of lithics and faunal remains. Ornaments and some mobile art objects were also retrieved.
The 2017 excavation fieldwork took place between the 2nd and the 21ft of October. Investigations were carried out in the layers of the Early Gravettian (squares C9, C10 and D10) and of the Protoaurignacian (squares E6, F6, G6, F7 and B6-9). Participants: Adriana Moroni (scientific director), Giulia D’Andrea, Miriam De Angelis, Giulia Capecchi (materials coordinator), Silvia Campeti, Brigitta Ciccarelli, Stefano Ricci (graphic documentation coordinator) and Laura Tassoni (Fig. 4).