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Preliminary survey activities carried out during construction works at the site of Contrada Pace in the Municipality of Tolentino (Macerata, Central Italy) led to the discovery of one of the most complete and well-preserved Early Mesolithic open-air sites in Italy and, in general, southern Europe. On a terrace of the Chienti river, an Early Holocene paleosol with significant traces of human activity was discovered under a 1-1.5 meter thick fine sedimentary cover. The extensive micro-stratigraphic excavation that took place since September 2019 allowed exploring an area of more than 500 square meters and recovering several thousand lithic artefacts and organic remains. These findings appear to be clustered in different functional areas that yielded multiple structured features. This paper aims at presenting the first overview of the Early Mesolithic sites discovered at Contrada Pace. Although the study is still at a preliminary stage, data collected during the excavation and the first laboratory analyses already allowed gaining a clear understanding of the general structure of the site and some of the most significant discovered features.
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