The first (1949) season of archaeological reconnaissance on the Foggia Plain in South Italy has confirmed, in the most striking manner, the existence of one of the densest concentrations of ancient sites to be identified in Europe in an area of comparable size. For readers of ANTIQUITY, their nature had already been foreshadowed in these pages.
These discoveries were first made from British air photographs taken in June 1945, which revealed the plans of settlements, farms, roads and field-systems existing below the surface of the ground or clearly visible to the air camera. They were distributed across 3000 years of Italian history, from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages, and illustrate from the archaeological record three principal stages in the rise of a European peasantry. This is a theme that affords ideal ground for the conjunction of Archaeology and Ethnology ; and it is appropriate that the Expedition should be based on the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford, which was founded on this very principle.
Now, thanks to the Apulia Committee, set up under the auspices of the Society of Antiquaries and representing the University of Oxford and learned societies, it has been possible to proceed to the second and fundamental stage:—namely, to carry out the first systematic programme of archaeological investigation based on air photographic data ever conducted in Italy. This also included the first British excavations there for a number of years, with the permission and helpful co-operation of the Italian authorities, and the support of the British School at Rome.