Investigating the proposed sanctuary near the volcanic Lago di Venere, Pantelleria, Italy, in 2014 and 2015
The longue durée of human activity on the island of Pantelleria represents an important locus of ancient cultural interaction in the Strait of Sicily. This narrow channel in the central Mediterranean has played a major and continuous role in human relations between Italy, Sicily and North Africa since the Neolithic period. Use or control of the Pantelleria has been pivotal for a number of cultures over time, each leaving a lasting impression on the landscape and the people of the island. The volcanic geology of Pantelleria has determined the shape of its landscape and is responsible for the creation of the collapsed-caldera basin and lake that form the study area of this project. The Brock University Archaeological Project at Pantelleria (BUAPP) is working in the Lago di Venere area, examining past human activity on the north-eastern lake shore. A previous project in the Lago di Venere area (1998–2002) interpreted the site as a Punic and Roman sanctuary (Audino & Cerasetti 2004; Cerasetti 2006). Our project complements this and other archaeological investigations of the island's classical past, including the ongoing excavations on the Acropolis, near the main harbour, which have revealed the remains of the island's Punic and Roman centre (Schäfer et al. 2015).