In archaeology, excavation is the exposure and recording of archaeological remains. An excavation site or "dig" is a site being studied; such a site excavation concerns itself with a specific archaeological site or a connected series of sites, may be conducted over as little as several weeks to over a number of years. Numerous specialized techniques each with its particular features are used. Resources and other practical issues do not allow archaeologists to carry out excavations whenever and wherever they choose; these constraints mean. This is with the intention of preserving them for future generations as well as recognising the role they serve in the communities that live near them. Excavation involves the recovery of several types of data from a site; these data include artifacts, ecofacts and, most archaeological context. Ideally, data from the excavation should suffice to reconstruct the site in three-dimensional space; the presence or absence of archaeological remains can be suggested by remote sensing, such as ground-penetrating radar.
Indeed, grosser information about the development of the site may be drawn from this work but the understanding of finer features requires excavation though appropriate use of augering. Excavation techniques have developed over the years from a treasure hunting process to one which seeks to understand the sequence of human activity on a given site and that site's relationship with other sites and with the landscape in which it is set; the history of excavation began with a crude search for treasure and for artifacts which fell into the category of'curio'. These curios were the subject of interest of antiquarians, it was appreciated that digging on a site destroyed the evidence of earlier people's lives which it had contained. Once the curio had been removed from its context, most of the information it held was lost, it was from this realization that antiquarianism began to be replaced by archaeology, a process still being perfected. Archaeological material tends to accumulate in events. A gardener laid a gravel path or planted a bush in a hole.
A builder back-filled the trench. Years someone built a pigsty onto it and drained the pigsty into the nettle patch. Still, the original wall blew over and so on; each event, which may have taken a short or long time to accomplish, leaves a context. This layer cake of events is referred to as the archaeological sequence or record, it is by analysis of this sequence or record that excavation is intended to permit interpretation, which should lead to discussion and understanding. The prominent processual archaeologist Lewis Binford highlighted the fact that the archaeological evidence left at a site may not be indicative of the historical events that took place there. Using an ethnoarchaeological comparison, he looked at how hunters amongst the Nunamiut Iñupiat of north central Alaska spent a great deal of time in a certain area waiting for prey to arrive there, that during this period, they undertook other tasks to pass the time, such as the carving of various objects, including a wooden mould for a mask, a horn spoon and an ivory needle, as well as repairing a skin pouch and a pair of caribou skin socks.
Binford notes that all of these activities would have left evidence in the archaeological record, but that none of them would provide evidence for the primary reason that the hunters were in the area. As he remarked, waiting for animals to hunt "represented 24% of the total man-hours of activity recorded. No tools left on the site were used, there were no immediate material "byproducts" of the "primary" activity. All of the other activities conducted at the site were boredom reducers." There are two basic types of modern archaeological excavation: Research excavation – when time and resources are available to excavate the site and at a leisurely pace. These are now exclusively the preserve of academics or private societies who can muster enough volunteer labour and funds; the size of the excavation can be decided by the director as it goes on. Development-led excavation – undertaken by professional archaeologists when the site is threatened by building development. Funded by the developer meaning that time is more of a factor as well as its being focused only on areas to be affected by building.
The workforce is more skilled however and pre-development excavations provide a comprehensive record of the areas investigated. Rescue archaeology is sometimes thought of as a separate type of excavation but in practice tends to be a similar form of development-led practice. Various new forms of excavation terminology have appeared in recent years such as Strip map and sample some of which have been criticized within the profession as jargon created to cover up for falling standards of practice. There are two main types of trial excavation in professional archaeology both associated with development-led excavation: the test pit or trench and the watching brief; the purpose of trial excavations is to determine the extent and characteristics of archaeological potential in a given area before extensive excavation work is undertaken. This is conducted in development-led excavations as part of Project management planning; the main difference between Trial
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus, one of the many genera that make up the order of trunked mammals called proboscideans. The various species of mammoth were equipped with long, curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair, they lived from the Pliocene epoch into the Holocene at about 4,000 years ago, various species existed in Africa, Europe and North America. They were members of the family Elephantidae, which contains the two genera of modern elephants and their ancestors; the oldest representative of Mammuthus, the South African mammoth, appeared around 5 million years ago during the early Pliocene in what is now southern and eastern Africa. Descendant species of these mammoths moved north and continued to propagate into numerous subsequent species covering most of Eurasia before extending into the Americas at least 600,000 years ago; the last species to emerge, the woolly mammoth, developed about 400,000 years ago in East Asia, with some surviving on Russia's Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean until as as 3,700 to 4,000 years ago, still extant during the construction of the Great Pyramid of ancient Egypt.
The earliest known proboscideans, the clade that contains the elephants, existed about 55 million years ago around the Tethys Sea area. The closest relatives of the Proboscidea are the hyraxes; the family Elephantidae is known to have existed six million years ago in Africa, includes the living elephants and the mammoths. Among many now extinct clades, the mastodon is only a distant relative of the mammoths, part of the separate Mammutidae family, which diverged 25 million years before the mammoths evolved; the following cladogram shows the placement of the genus Mammuthus among other proboscideans, based on hyoid characteristics: Since many remains of each species of mammoth are known from several localities, it is possible to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the genus through morphological studies. Mammoth species can be identified from the number of enamel ridges on their molars. At the same time, the crowns of the teeth became longer, the skulls become higher from top to bottom and shorter from the back to the front over time to accommodate this.
The first known members of the genus Mammuthus are the African species Mammuthus subplanifrons from the Pliocene and Mammuthus africanavus from the Pleistocene. The former is thought to be the ancestor of forms. Mammoths entered Europe around 3 million years ago. Only its molars are known -- 10 enamel ridges. A population evolved 12–14 ridges and split off from and replaced the earlier type, becoming M. meridionalis. In turn, this species was replaced by the steppe mammoth, M. trogontherii, with 18–20 ridges, which evolved in East Asia ca. 1 million years ago. Mammoths derived from M. trogontherii evolved molars with 26 ridges 200,000 years ago in Siberia, became the woolly mammoth, M. primigenius. The Columbian mammoth, M. columbi, evolved from a population of M. trogontherii that had entered North America. A 2011 genetic study showed that two examined specimens of the Columbian mammoth were grouped within a subclade of woolly mammoths; this suggests that the two populations produced fertile offspring.
It suggested that a North American form known as "M. jeffersonii" may be a hybrid between the two species. By the late Pleistocene, mammoths in continental Eurasia had undergone a major transformation, including a shortening and heightening of the cranium and mandible, increase in molar hypsodonty index, increase in plate number, thinning of dental enamel. Due to this change in physical appearance, it became customary to group European mammoths separately into distinguishable clusters: Early Pleistocene – Mammuthus meridionalis Middle Pleistocene – Mammuthus trogontherii Late Pleistocene – Mammuthus primigeniusThere is speculation as to what caused this variation within the three chronospecies. Variations in environment, climate change, migration played roles in the evolutionary process of the mammoths. Take M. primigenius for example: Woolly mammoths lived in opened grassland biomes. The cool steppe-tundra of the Northern Hemisphere was the ideal place for mammoths to thrive because of the resources it supplied.
With occasional warmings during the ice age, climate would change the landscape, resources available to the mammoths altered accordingly. The word mammoth was first used in Europe during the early 17th century, when referring to maimanto tusks discovered in Siberia. John Bell, on the Ob River in 1722, said that mammoth tusks were well known in the area, they were called "mammon's horn" and were found in washed-out river banks. Some local people claimed to have seen a living mammoth, but they only came out at night and always disappeared under water when detected, he presented it to Hans Sloan who pronounced it an elephant's tooth. The folklore of some native peoples of Siberia, who would find mammoth bones, sometimes frozen mammoth bodies, in eroding river banks, had various interesting explanations for these finds. Among the Khanty people of the Irtysh River basin, a belief existed that the mammoth was some kind of a water spirit. According to other Khanty, the mammoth was a creature that lived underground, burrowing its tunnels as it went, would die if it accidentally came to the surface.
The concept of the mammoth as an underground creature was known to the Chinese, who received some mammoth ivory from the
Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century; the territory of Siberia extends eastwards from the Ural Mountains to the watershed between the Pacific and Arctic drainage basins. The Yenisei River conditionally divides Siberia into two parts and Eastern. Siberia stretches southwards from the Arctic Ocean to the hills of north-central Kazakhstan and to the national borders of Mongolia and China. With an area of 13.1 million square kilometres, Siberia accounts for 77% of Russia's land area, but it is home to 36 million people—27% of the country's population. This is equivalent to an average population density of about 3 inhabitants per square kilometre, making Siberia one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth. If it were a country by itself, it would still be the largest country in area, but in population it would be the world's 35th-largest and Asia's 14th-largest. Worldwide, Siberia is well known for its long, harsh winters, with a January average of −25 °C, as well as its extensive history of use by Russian and Soviet administrations as a place for prisons, labor camps, exile.
The origin of the name is unknown. Some sources say that "Siberia" originates from the Siberian Tatar word for "sleeping land". Another account sees the name as the ancient tribal ethnonym of the Sirtya, an ethnic group which spoke a Paleosiberian language; the Sirtya people were assimilated into the Siberian Tatars. The modern usage of the name was recorded in the Russian language after the Empire's conquest of the Siberian Khanate. A further variant claims; the Polish historian Chyliczkowski has proposed that the name derives from the proto-Slavic word for "north", but Anatole Baikaloff has dismissed this explanation. He said that the neighbouring Chinese and Mongolians, who have similar names for the region, would not have known Russian, he suggests that the name might be a combination of two words with Turkic origin, "su" and "bir". The region has paleontological significance, as it contains bodies of prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene Epoch, preserved in ice or in permafrost. Specimens of Goldfuss cave lion cubs and another woolly mammoth from Oymyakon, a woolly rhinoceros from the Kolyma River, bison and horses from Yukagir have been found.
The Siberian Traps were formed by one of the largest-known volcanic events of the last 500 million years of Earth's geological history. Their activity continued for a million years and some scientists consider it a possible cause of the "Great Dying" about 250 million years ago, – estimated to have killed 90% of species existing at the time. At least three species of human lived in Southern Siberia around 40,000 years ago: H. sapiens, H. neanderthalensis, the Denisovans. In 2010 DNA evidence identified the last as a separate species. Siberia was inhabited by different groups of nomads such as the Enets, the Nenets, the Huns, the Scythians and the Uyghurs; the Khan of Sibir in the vicinity of modern Tobolsk was known as a prominent figure who endorsed Kubrat as Khagan of Old Great Bulgaria in 630. The Mongols conquered a large part of this area early in the 13th century. With the breakup of the Golden Horde, the autonomous Khanate of Sibir was established in the late 15th century. Turkic-speaking Yakut migrated north from the Lake Baikal region under pressure from the Mongol tribes during the 13th to 15th century.
Siberia remained a sparsely populated area. Historian John F. Richards wrote: "... it is doubtful that the total early modern Siberian population exceeded 300,000 persons."The growing power of Russia in the West began to undermine the Siberian Khanate in the 16th century. First, groups of traders and Cossacks began to enter the area; the Russian Army was directed to establish forts farther and farther east to protect new settlers from European Russia. Towns such as Mangazeya, Tara and Tobolsk were developed, the last being declared the capital of Siberia. At this time, Sibir was the name of a fortress at Qashlik, near Tobolsk. Gerardus Mercator, in a map published in 1595, marks Sibier both as the name of a settlement and of the surrounding territory along a left tributary of the Ob. Other sources contend that the Xibe, an indigenous Tungusic people, offered fierce resistance to Russian expansion beyond the Urals; some suggest. By the mid-17th century, Russia had established areas of control; some 230,000 Russians had settled in Siberia by 1709.
Siberia was a destination for sending exiles. The first great modern change in Siberia was the Trans-Siberian Railway, constructed during 1891–1916, it linked Siberia more to the industrialising Russia of Nicholas II. Around seven million people moved to Siberia from European Russia between 1801 and 1914. From 1859 to 1917, more than half a million people migrated to the Russian Far East. Siberia has extensive natural resources. During the 20th century, large-scale exploitation of these was developed, industrial towns cropped up throughout the region. At 7:15 a.m. on 30 June 1908, millions of trees were felled near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in central Siberia in the Tunguska Event. Most scientists believe this resulted from the air burst of a comet. Though no crater has been found, the landscape in the area still bears the scars of this event. In the early decades of the Soviet Union (
Mammals are vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia, characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding their young, a neocortex, fur or hair, three middle ear bones. These characteristics distinguish them from reptiles and birds, from which they diverged in the late Triassic, 201–227 million years ago. There are around 5,450 species of mammals; the largest orders are the rodents and Soricomorpha. The next three are the Primates, the Cetartiodactyla, the Carnivora. In cladistics, which reflect evolution, mammals are classified as endothermic amniotes, they are the only living Synapsida. The early synapsid mammalian ancestors were sphenacodont pelycosaurs, a group that produced the non-mammalian Dimetrodon. At the end of the Carboniferous period around 300 million years ago, this group diverged from the sauropsid line that led to today's reptiles and birds; the line following the stem group Sphenacodontia split off several diverse groups of non-mammalian synapsids—sometimes referred to as mammal-like reptiles—before giving rise to the proto-mammals in the early Mesozoic era.
The modern mammalian orders arose in the Paleogene and Neogene periods of the Cenozoic era, after the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs, have been among the dominant terrestrial animal groups from 66 million years ago to the present. The basic body type is quadruped, most mammals use their four extremities for terrestrial locomotion. Mammals range in size from the 30–40 mm bumblebee bat to the 30-meter blue whale—the largest animal on the planet. Maximum lifespan varies from two years for the shrew to 211 years for the bowhead whale. All modern mammals give birth to live young, except the five species of monotremes, which are egg-laying mammals; the most species-rich group of mammals, the cohort called placentals, have a placenta, which enables the feeding of the fetus during gestation. Most mammals are intelligent, with some possessing large brains, self-awareness, tool use. Mammals can communicate and vocalize in several different ways, including the production of ultrasound, scent-marking, alarm signals and echolocation.
Mammals can organize themselves into fission-fusion societies and hierarchies—but can be solitary and territorial. Most mammals are polygynous. Domestication of many types of mammals by humans played a major role in the Neolithic revolution, resulted in farming replacing hunting and gathering as the primary source of food for humans; this led to a major restructuring of human societies from nomadic to sedentary, with more co-operation among larger and larger groups, the development of the first civilizations. Domesticated mammals provided, continue to provide, power for transport and agriculture, as well as food and leather. Mammals are hunted and raced for sport, are used as model organisms in science. Mammals have been depicted in art since Palaeolithic times, appear in literature, film and religion. Decline in numbers and extinction of many mammals is driven by human poaching and habitat destruction deforestation. Mammal classification has been through several iterations since Carl Linnaeus defined the class.
No classification system is universally accepted. George Gaylord Simpson's "Principles of Classification and a Classification of Mammals" provides systematics of mammal origins and relationships that were universally taught until the end of the 20th century. Since Simpson's classification, the paleontological record has been recalibrated, the intervening years have seen much debate and progress concerning the theoretical underpinnings of systematization itself through the new concept of cladistics. Though field work made Simpson's classification outdated, it remains the closest thing to an official classification of mammals. Most mammals, including the six most species-rich orders, belong to the placental group; the three largest orders in numbers of species are Rodentia: mice, porcupines, beavers and other gnawing mammals. The next three biggest orders, depending on the biological classification scheme used, are the Primates including the apes and lemurs. According to Mammal Species of the World, 5,416 species were identified in 2006.
These were grouped into 153 families and 29 orders. In 2008, the International Union for Conservation of Nature completed a five-year Global Mammal Assessment for its IUCN Red List, which counted 5,488 species. According to a research published in the Journal of Mammalogy in 2018, the number of recognized mammal species is 6,495 species included 96 extinct; the word "mammal" is modern, from the scientific name Mammalia coined by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, derived from the Latin mamma. In an influential 1988 paper, Timothy Rowe defined Mammalia phylogenetically as the crown group of mammals, the clade consisting of the most recent common ancestor of living monotremes and therian m
Homo heidelbergensis is an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Homo, which radiated in the Middle Pleistocene from about 700,000 to 300,000 years ago, known from fossils found in Southern Africa, East Africa and Europe. African H. heidelbergensis has several subspecies. The subspecies are Homo heidelbergensis heidelbergensis, Homo heidelbergensis daliensis, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo heidelbergensis steinheimensi; the derivation of Homo sapiens from Homo rhodesiensis has been proposed, but is obscured by a fossil gap from 400–260 kya. The species was named Homo heidelbergensis due to the skeleton's first discovery near Heidelberg, Germany; the first discovery—a mandible—was made in 1907 by Otto Schoetensack. The skulls of this species share features with both Homo erectus and the anatomically modern Homo sapiens; the Sima de los Huesos cave at Atapuerca in northern Spain holds rich layers of deposits where excavations were still in progress as of 2018. H. Heidelbergensis was dispersed throughout Southern Africa as well as Europe.
Its exact relation both to the earlier Homo antecessor and Homo ergaster, to the lineages of Neanderthals and modern humans is unclear. Homo sapiens has been proposed as derived from H. heidelbergensis via Homo rhodesiensis, present in East and North Africa from around 400,000 years ago. The correct assignment of many fossils to a particular chronospecies is difficult and differences in opinion ensue among paleoanthropologists due to the absence of universally accepted dividing lines between Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo rhodesiensis and Neanderthals, it is uncertain whether H. heidelbergensis is ancestral to Homo sapiens, as a fossil gap in Africa between 400,000 and 260,000 years ago obscures the presumed derivation of H. sapiens from H. rhodesiensis. Genetic analysis of the Sima de los Huesos fossils seems to suggest that H. heidelbergensis in its entirety should be included in the Neanderthal lineage, as "pre-Neanderthal" or "archaic Neanderthal" or "early Neanderthal", while the divergence time between the Neanderthal and modern lineages has been pushed back to before the emergence of H. heidelbergensis, to about 600,000 to 800,000 years ago, the approximate time of disappearance of Homo antecessor.
The delineation between early H. heidelbergensis and H. erectus is unclear. Given the evidence, it means there is no direct evidence that suggest the Homo heidelbergensis is related to modern-day humans. H. heidelbergensis is thought to be derived from Homo antecessor, around 800,000 to 700,000 years ago. The oldest-known fossil classified as H. heidelbergensis dates to around 600,000 years ago, but the flint tools found in 2005 at Pakefield near Lowestoft in Suffolk with teeth from the water vole Mimomys savini, a key dating species, suggest human presence in England at 700,000 years ago, assumed to correspond to a transitional form between H. antecessor and H. heidelbergensis. Fifty prehistoric hominid footprints up to nearly one million years old were discovered in Happisburgh, England, they are members of Homo antecessor that lived from 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago. In Europe, H. heidelbergensis is taken to have given rise to H. neanderthalensis at 240,000 years ago. Homo sapiens most derived from H. rhodesiensis after around 300,000 years ago.
A morphological separation of a European and an African branch of H. heidelbergensis during the Wolstonian Stage and Ipswichian Stage, the last of the prolonged Quaternary glacial periods, has been argued based on the evidence of the Atapuerca skull in Spain and the Kabwe skull in modern-day Zambia. Neither the derivation of H. heidelbergensis from H. erectus, nor the derivation of anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals from H. heidelbergensis, are clear-cut and are the object of debate. Both H. erectus and H. heidelbergensis are described as polytypic species, which went through a number of population bottlenecks and associated In the summary of Hublin, Middle Pleistocene humans in Eurasia underwent a succession of population bottlenecks due to glaciations. The "Western Eurasian clade" derived form H. rhodesiensis or H. heidelbergensis sensu lato diverge at MIS 12 but coalesce as late as MIS 5, suggesting a division between Eurasian H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis before MIS 11.
A fossil gap in Africa between 400 and 260 kya obscures the presumed derivation of H. sapiens from H. rhodesiensis. Chris Stringer argues for Homo heidelbergensis as an independent chronospecies. A 2013 genetic study on the Sima de los Huesos fossils classified them as H. heidelbergensis or "early Neanderthal". For more than half a century, many experts were reluctant to accept Homo heidelbergensis as a separate taxon due to the rarity of specimens, which prevented sufficient informative morphological comparisons and the distinction of H. heidelbergensis from other known human species. The species name "heidelbergensis" only experienced a renaissance with the many discoveries of Middle Pleistocene fossils since the 1990s; the paleontology institute at Heidelberg University, where the type specimen is kept since 1908, as late as 2010 still classified it as Homo erectus heidelbergensis, i.e. categorizing it as a Homo erectus subspecies. This was changed to Homo heidelbergensis, accepting the categorization as separate species, in 2015."Rhodesian Man" (Kab
Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation and parasitoidism, it is distinct from scavenging on dead prey, though many predators scavenge. Predators may search for prey or sit and wait for it; when prey is detected, the predator assesses. This may involve pursuit predation, sometimes after stalking the prey. If the attack is successful, the predator kills the prey, removes any inedible parts like the shell or spines, eats it. Predators are adapted and highly specialized for hunting, with acute senses such as vision, hearing, or smell. Many predatory animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate, have sharp claws or jaws to grip and cut up their prey. Other adaptations include aggressive mimicry that improve hunting efficiency. Predation has a powerful selective effect on prey, the prey develop antipredator adaptations such as warning coloration, alarm calls and other signals, mimicry of well-defended species, defensive spines and chemicals.
Sometimes predator and prey find themselves in an evolutionary arms race, a cycle of adaptations and counter-adaptations. Predation has been a major driver of evolution since at least the Cambrian period. At the most basic level, predators eat other organisms. However, the concept of predation is broad, defined differently in different contexts, includes a wide variety of feeding methods. A parasitoid, such as an ichneumon wasp, lays its eggs on its host. Zoologists call this a form of parasitism, though conventionally parasites are thought not to kill their hosts. A predator can be defined to differ from a parasitoid in two ways: it kills its prey immediately. There are other borderline cases. Micropredators are small animals that, like predators, feed on other organisms. However, since they do not kill their hosts, they are now thought of as parasites. Animals that graze on phytoplankton or mats of microbes are predators, as they consume and kill their food organisms. However, when animals eat seeds or eggs, they are consuming entire living organisms, which by definition makes them predators, albeit unconventional ones: for instance, a mouse that eats grass seeds has no adaptations for tracking and subduing prey and its teeth are not adapted to slicing through flesh.
Scavengers, organisms that only eat organisms found dead, are not predators, but many predators such as the jackal and the hyena scavenge when the opportunity arises. Among invertebrates, social wasps are both scavengers of other insects. While examples of predators among mammals and birds are well known, predators can be found in a broad range of taxa, they are common among insects, including mantids, dragonflies and scorpionflies. In some species such as the alderfly, only the larvae are predatory. Spiders are predatory, as well as other terrestrial invertebrates such as scorpions. In marine environments, most cnidarians, ctenophora and flatworms are predatory. Among crustaceans, crabs and barnacles are predators, in turn crustaceans are preyed on by nearly all cephalopods. Seed predation is restricted to mammals and insects and is found in all terrestrial ecosystems. Egg predation includes both specialist egg predators such as some colubrid snakes and generalists such as foxes and badgers that opportunistically take eggs when they find them.
Some plants, like the pitcher plant, the Venus fly trap and the sundew, are carnivorous and consume insects. Some carnivorous fungi catch nematodes using either active traps in the form of constricting rings, or passive traps with adhesive structures. Many species of protozoa and bacteria prey on other microorganisms. Among freshwater and marine zooplankton, whether single-celled or multi-cellular, predatory grazing on phytoplankton and smaller zooplankton is common, found in many species of nanoflagellates, ciliates, rotifers, a diverse range of meroplankton animal larvae, two groups of crustaceans, namely copepods and cladocerans. To feed, a predator must search for and kill its prey; these actions form a foraging cycle. The predator must decide. If it chooses pursuit, its physical capabilities determine the mode of pursuit. Having captured the prey, it may need to expend energy handling it (e.g. killing it, removing any shell or
Isernia is a town and comune in the southern Italian region of Molise, the capital of province of Isernia. Situated on a rocky crest rising from 350 to 475 metres between the Carpino and the Sordo rivers, the plan of Isernia still reflects the ancient layout of the Roman town, with a central wide street, the cardo maximus, still represented by Corso Marcelli, side streets at right angles on both sides; the commune of Isernia includes 16 frazioni. The most densely populated is Castelromano, positioned in a plain at the base of the La Romana mount, elevation 862 metres, 5 kilometres from Isernia; the area of Isernia was settled at least 700,000 years ago: the nearby site called Pineta has been cited in the magazine Science as the most ancient site where traces of use of fire by humans have been found. The city's Roman name, reflects a former Samnite toponym, but a connection to an Indo-European root, which means "water", is tenuous. Classical Aesernia was a city of Samnium, included within the territory of the Pentri tribe, situated in the valley of the Vulturnus, on a small stream flowing into that river, distant 22 kilometres from Venafrum.
The Itinerary places it on the road from Aufidena to Bovianum, at the distance of 45 kilometres from the former, 29 kilometres from the latter. The first mention of it in history occurs in 295 BC, at which time it had fallen into the hands of the Romans, together with the whole valley of the Vulturnus. After the complete subjugation of the Samnites, a colony, with Latin rights was settled there by the Romans in 264 BC the city, a key communication center between southern Italy and the inner Appennine Regions; this colony is again mentioned in 209 BCE as one of the eighteen which remained faithful to Rome at the most trying period of the Second Punic War. During the Social War it adhered to the Roman cause, was gallantly defended against the Samnite general Vettius Scato, by Marcus Claudius Marcellus, nor was it till after a long protracted siege that it was compelled by famine to surrender, 90 BCE. Henceforth it continued in the hands of the confederates, it became for a time, after the successive fall of Corfinium (modern and Bovianum, the headquarters of the Italic League.
At this time it was evidently a place of importance and a strong fortress, but it was so punished for its defection by Sulla after the final defeat of the Samnites in 88 BC, that Strabo speaks of it as in his time utterly deserted. We learn, that a colony was sent there by Julius Caesar, again by Augustus, it never, enjoyed the rank of a colony, but appears from inscriptions to have been a municipal town of some importance in the time of Trajan and the Antonines. To this period belong the remains of an aqueduct and a fine Roman bridge, still visible; the modern city is still the. The massively constructed podium now underlying the cathedral supported the Capitolium. In the early 7th century AD, what are today the communes of Isernia as well as Bojano and Sepino were the places where Grimoald I of Benevento settled a group of Bulgars, seeking refuge from the Avars. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Isernia has suffered destruction numerous times in history. Isernia was destroyed by the Saracens in 800, sacked by Markward of Anweiler, Count of Molise, in 1199, set on fire in 1223 by the soldiers of Frederick II.
In 1519 it was freed from feudal servitude by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and became a city in the Kingdom of Naples. Earthquakes in 847, 1349, 1456 and 1805 caused massive destruction. On the morning of September 10, 1943, during World War II, American planes launched their bombs from B-17 Flying Fortress planes over a crowded town on market day causing thousands of deaths. In the following weeks they came back twelve times without hitting their targets: the bridges of Isernia and Santo Spirito built of iron, towards the internal area. All the bridges were vital to the German retreat. In 1970 Isernia became the capital of the province of the same name, created out of part of the province of Campobasso; the hills around Isernia produces red and rose Pentro di Isernia, an Italian DOC wine. The grapes are limited to harvest yields of 11 tonnes/ha with the finished red and rose wines needing a minimum alcohol level of 11% and the finished whites required to have at least 10.5% alcohol. The reds and roses are composed of 45-55% Montepulciano, 45-55% Sangiovese and up to 10% local grape varieties to fill out the blend if needed.
The whites are composed of 60-70% Trebbiano, 30-40% Bombino bianco and up to 10% local varieties to fill out the blend if needed. The coins of Aesernia, which are found only in copper, have the legend "AISERNINO", belong to the period of the first Roman colony. Although having suffered repeated dest