Various teams and supporters are involved in the Vagnari project.

Project contact details

Professor Alastair Small

Honorary Professorial Fellow

Contact details

Project teams and supporters

Photo of a Vagnari artefact
Photo of a Vagnari Artefact

The Excavation at the Vagnari site is under the overall direction of Alastair Small, Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Edinburgh, and Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta. A substantial part of the excavation including one of the kilns, part of the complex of the early and middle empire, and much of the Late Antique porticoed building has been carried out by a team from the University of Foggia under Professor Giuliano Volpe, directed on site by Drs. Pasquale Favia and Roberta Giuliani. Another part of the site including kilns and the Late Antique iron working area was excavated by students from the University of Edinburgh, directed initially by Nic Fields (from 2000-2002) with volunteer assistance from local Italian archaeology students and an archaeological cooperative (Cooperativa ARES) from Gravina. They were joined in 2004-5 by a team from Mount Allison University ( New Brunswick ) directed by Professor Hans vanderLeest. The excavation of the cemetery is directed by Dr. Tracy Prowse, initially of McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) and, since 2006, of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, with teams drawn from those universities and from the University of Edinburgh. Prowse is also responsible for the palaeo-osteology.

The field survey including the detailed surface collection on San Felice is directed by Carola Small, Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh and Professor Emerita of the University of Alberta assisted by Alastair Small. Co directors include Karen Stears( University of Edinburgh) in 2000 and 2001, Mark Trewin (University of Edinburgh) in 2001, Sterling Vinson (Pima Community College, Arizona) in 2003-4, Robert Leighton (University of Edinburgh) in 2006.

Finds. The study of the artefacts is being co-ordinated by Dr. Philip Kenrick, and has involved various specialists, including Dr. Vito Volterra of McMaster University, Canada (lithics and Instrumented Neutron Activation Analysis), Dr. Richard Abdy of the British Museum (coins), Dr. Alessandra De Stefano of the Università degli Studi di Foggia (lamps), Angelica Portagnuolo of the Cooperativa Archeologia & Cultura (Neolithic pottery). Dr. Giacomo Disantarosa of the Università degli Studi di Bari (amphorae), Andrew Rich of the University of Edinburgh and Maria Pina Gargano of the Università degli Studi di Bari (metalwork). The draftsman for the artefacts is Sally Cann. Tonia Petrafesa (Gravina) does the restoration of the artefacts.

Faunal remains are being studied by Michael Mackinnon (University of Winnipeg), and the archaeobotanical material by Girolamo Fiorentino and Milena Primavera (Università del Salento), Stephen Monckton (University of Toronto) and Alan Dand (University of Edinburgh 2002).

The geomorphological study of the site was undertaken in 2000-2001 by Ian Campbell (University of Alberta) and in 2002-2003 by Andrew Bicket (University of Edinburgh, now at the University of York). David Sanderson of the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre gave advice on Optically Stimulated Luminescence. An archaeomagnetic study was carried out by Professor Roberto Lanza and Evdokia Tema (Università di Torino). The magnetometer survey of the site at Vagnari was done in 2000-2001 by Kristian Strutt (University of Southampton) and the resistivity survey was carried out at Vagnari and San Felice between 2006 and 2008 by John Hunt of Hunt Geophysics. The surveying on the sites, much of the photography of the artefacts and most of the local organization are the responsibility of Franco Taccogna of Gravina, who also acts as consultant on computing.


Funding and assistance for the project have been provided the following. In Britain: the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the British School at Rome, the University of Edinburgh (Faculty of Arts 2001, The Development Trust Research Fund 2004, the Munro Fund 2000, 2008). In Canada: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, McMaster and Mount Allison Universities. In the USA: Pima Community College, Arizona. In Italy: the Comuni of Gravina in Puglia and Irsina, the Banca Popolare di Puglia e Basilicata, the Fondazione Ettore Pomarici Santomasi of Gravina, the Università degli Studi di Foggia, and a number of private contributors. The owner of Vagnari, Dr. Mario de Gemmis-Pellicciari has given permission for the excavation and done much to facilitate it.

The excavation is carried out with a concessione di scavo from the Italian Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, and with the full support of the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Puglia (Soprintendente Prof Giuseppe Andreassi) and of the Centro Operativo of the Soprintendenza in Gravina (Direttore Archeologo Dott.ssa Giuseppina Canosa).