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 Altamura's Pulo sinkhole


  • Ph. Vanda Biffani
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  • Ph. Vanda Biffani
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Just 6km away from the city, the Pulo of Altamura looms up like a rift on the horizon. Without a doubt the most relevant karst phenomenon in the Upper Murgia, the giant sinkhole plunges 92m deep into the earth, at 477m of height. 
Furrowed by two gullies and characterized by vertical walls riddled with caves inhabited by man at least for 5000 years, the Pulo resembles a silent and archaic natural amphitheatre.  On the northern flank it is crossed by an important cliff range teeming with a highly-interesting flora and fauna.
The sinkhole has been at the centre of human activities throughout the Middle Ages and the modern era; it was a sacred place of worship and a natural resource exploited by extraction and production economies, as testified by the finding of human remains, engraved pebbles and the precious fossil of the Cyprea shell.
The rock walls of the northern flank, characterized by a clear vertical slope, are riddled with clefts and caves, the largest of which are Grotta I and Grotta II, inhabited by hominids who, in the course of the natural selection, would give rise to the species later known as the Altamura man, preceding the Neanderthals. 

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