The first traces of settlement on the hill date back to the Iron Age, between the 8th and 6th centuries B.C. when the people lived inside the walls of the Castelliere. The castelliere was a type of hill fort to be found throughout the Karst and Istrian zones from 1600 BC until the Roman conquest. In Muggia Vecchia the remains of the massive defence wall have been found along the southern side of the slope, in sector H, behind the presbytery and the House of the Pilgrim. Inside the walls, as in almost all the castellieri, there were rooms for people, shelters for animals, and small cultivated areas. In our case we have not found evidence of these, partly because of the overlaying strata of more recent times. Fragments of ceramic have been found, the equivalent of our dishes and pots, and traces of fire, indispensible for cooking and warming the dwellings.
The clearest evidence of the protohistoric phase is the boundary wall in the lower part of sector H. Going down the steel stairs one can see, on the left, a part of the castelliere wall. It is the lowest portion, overlaid with successive terracing from Roman times.
Going back up the stairs one notices, higher up on the right, a fenced-off area: this was the area from which they quarried the sandstone required for the construction of the castelliere’s defence wall. The area had already been terraced in ancient times to prevent its collapse.