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Translated Jeff Matthews

This is a natural cave in which the entrance is blocked by some permanent device or structure. Over time, natural cavities, particularly those with wide entrances and horizontal structure, were often fortified. They may have a basic closure wall or have an array of defensive works in the tunnel below the parapet.

In Slovenia the Castel Lueghi grotto, known as Predjame, has four levels for a total length of about 5 km. The upper level, called Erazmova jama (grotto of Erasmus), houses the remains of a fortress built in the 13th century. In the second half of the 16th century a new castle (Predjamski grad), perfectly visible even today, was built at the entrance. The work is defensive in character and along the upper part of the best conserved section there are square and rectangular loopholes. (Buzio A., Mengoli D., Zorzin R., “Le grotte fortificate mdi Hong Lin” (Guizhou – Cina), in Padovan G. (ed.), Archeologia del sottosuolo. Lettura e studio delle cavità artificiali, British Archaeological Reports, International Series, S1416, Oxford 2005, pp. 131-136).


Padovan Gianluca (ed. ), Archaeology of the Subsoil. Lectures and studies of artificial cavities. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 1416, Oxford 2005.

Basilico Roberto et alii, Italian Cadastre of Artificial Cavities. Part 1. (Including introductory comments and a classification), B.A.R. International Series 1599, Oxford 2007.

Gianluca Padovan (Associazione S.C.A.M. – Federazione Nazionale Cavità Artificiali)

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