The rich archaeological heritage of the pre- and protohistoric necropoles in the Ticino and Mesolcina valleys includes a number of «contact finds» indicating the existence of transalpine communication routes from these early times. However, prehistoric settlements are widely unknown between the southalpine lakes and the central alpine range. The shortest connection between northern Italy and western central Europe crosses the Gotthard pass an important route of commerce, well attested from the Middle Ages. New archaeological investigations have been started in the Leventina, focusing on the early settlement history of the valley and its role in the framework of transalpine contacts. Field work concerns in particular the prehistoric site of Airolo-Madrano «Mött Chiaslasc/In Grop» and its Bronze and Iron age connections. The project also includes palynological and palaeobotanical research in view of a reconstruction of the natural and cultural landscapes in the Leventina valley, and GIS-based analyses of archaeological sites and their ecological and economical background.
Jacquat, Christiane; Della Casa, Philippe (2018). Airolo-Madrano (TI): Palaeoenvironment and subsistence strategies of a hilltop settlement in the southern Swiss Alps during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Quaternary International: The Journal of the International Union for Quaternary Research, 484:32-43.