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NEWS | La Sapienza supera Oxford, prima al mondo in Classics & Ancient History

Alla Sapienza – Università di Roma torna lo scettro per il settore Classics & Ancient History nel Ranking QS 2021. È la seconda volta che l’ateneo romano conquista tale posizione: primo in classifica già nel 2018; nel 2019 era andato giù di una sola posizione, secondo solo all’Università di Oxford.

Il QS Ranking by Subject 2021 è stato pubblicato nella tarda serata di ieri: La Sapienza è l’unica università italiana a vantare un primo posto assoluto a livello internazionale. L’Ateneo si colloca al 10° posto a livello internazionale con Archaeology (al primo posto in Italia); cresce poi nella macroarea Arts & Humanities, collocandosi al 65° posto (+16 posizioni rispetto al 2020).

Cos’è QS World University Rankings?

QS World University Rankings è una delle più note classifiche universitarie al mondo. Viene pubblicata annualmente e stilata sui settori disciplinari dei vari dipartimenti delle università mondiali. La Classifica si basa su quattro indicatori per ognuna delle discipline considerate:

  1. Academic Reputation, riguarda la reputazione accademica degli atenei a livello mondiale;
  2. Employer Reputation, sulla base delle valutazioni dei datori di lavoro sui laureati assunti;
  3. Citations per Paper, cioè l’impatto della ricerca scientifica riguardo la disciplina in un determinato ateneo;
  4. H-index, ovvero una valutazione complessiva dell’impatto scientifico e dei contributi alla ricerca.
I parametri valutati in QS Ranking by Subject per i primi tre atenei classificati

Ecco perché La Sapienza è un’eccellenza mondiale

Progetto Theatron, Polo Museale e Grandi Scavi

“Questo brillante risultato, frutto di impegno e di passione. Si inserisce nel solco della tradizione di eccellenza nel campo degli studi classici del nostro Ateneo; tanti sono i corsi di laurea interamente in inglese e gli spazi per studiare tra statue e fregi decorativi nel Museo di Arte classica. Ruolo essenziale anche quello del Progetto Theatron in cui gli studenti adattano e mettono in scena i testi greci e latini. Parliamo di un ambito disciplinare che è base valoriale fondante della nostra società e, come tale, va custodito e trasmesso alle nuove generazioni. Inoltre, offre strumenti di analisi e competenze trasversali, che fanno la differenza in un mercato del lavoro e in un contesto socio-culturale che si evolve con estrema rapidità”. Commenta così Antonella Polimeni, rettrice dell’ateneo romano.

Il Teatro antico anche a distanza

Il progetto Theatron. Teatro Antico alla Sapienza” è coordinato da Anna Maria Belardinelli, docente di Filologia classica dell’Ateneo. Dal 2010 Theatron produce traduzioni di testi teatrali antichi su cui si basano le relative rappresentazioni. Il Progetto si articola quindi in due laboratori paralleli: uno di traduzione, cui partecipano gli studenti del Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Filologia, Letterature e Storia del Mondo Antico, e uno di messa in scena, cui partecipano gli studenti iscritti alle diverse Facoltà che animano La Sapienza. La traduzione, che si basa su un rigoroso lavoro di critica-testuale, di esegesi e di ricostruzione drammaturgica dell’opera in programma, è “messa alla prova” e trova conferma nel laboratorio teatrale vero e proprio.

Sapienza

Quest’anno la pandemia non ha fermato il Progetto: come le lezioni e tutte le altre attività, anche Theatron si è attivato a distanza! Oltre 30 collegamenti virtuali per lo studio del testo, 12 sessioni notturne per la registrazione, più di 35 partecipanti di cui una in Sud America, circa 60 ore di lavoro di post produzione multimediale, un’ora di spettacolo rappresentato su una piattaforma virtuale. Sono questi in numeri della tragedia “Agamennone”, lo spettacolo teatrale messo “in scena” quest’anno da Theatron.

Sapienza
Theatron a distanza durante l’a.a. 2019-2020
Il Museo dell’Arte classica: studiare tra le statue antiche

Il Museo occupa una superficie di oltre 3000 mq, con molte sale che accolgono gli oltre 1200 calchi in gesso di opere di scultura greca (originali e copie di età romana), esistenti in musei e collezioni di ogni parte del mondo. L’esposizione è organizzata in modo da illustrare agli studenti ed ai visitatori lo svolgimento storico della plastica greca. Gli studenti possono comodamente studiare nelle sale del Museo, le aule per seguire le lezioni di Archeologia e Storia Antica si trovano nella stessa sede.

Nota anche come “Museo dei Gessi”, la Gipsoteca della Sapienza fu fondata da Emanuel Löwy, Professore di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte, che nel 1889-1890 si adoperò per creare una raccolta di calchi di sculture greche, originali e copie romane, sul modello delle gipsoteche europee. L’atrio di ingresso dal lato posteriore dell’edificio di Lettere e Filosofia accoglie il pubblico con il calco del colossale κοῦρος di Samo (570 a.C. ca.); le vetrine alle pareti contengono riproduzioni di statuette e altri materiali, dal periodo minoico e miceneo a quello greco classico ed ellenistico.

Grandi Scavi, studiare Archeologia nelle terre del mondo

I Grandi Scavi rappresentano da quarant’anni una delle più rilevanti prospettive di ricerca della Sapienza. Erano costituiti inizialmente da un numero limitato di ricerche di eccezionale importanza; nel tempo sono aumentati: oggi comprendono un elevato numero di missioni scientifiche (24) e coinvolgono numerosi docenti, ricercatori e studenti. Gli scavi coprono un ambito geografico molto esteso (Italia, Vicino e Medio Oriente, Africa orientale e sahariana) e interessano un arco cronologico amplissimo, dal Paleolitico al Medioevo, costituendo un patrimonio eccezionale di conoscenze che pone la Sapienza nella posizione di eccellenza nel campo dell’Archeologia

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ARCHAEOLOGY | Veleia Romana (Piacenza), the city of longevity

Veleia Romana (460 m below sea level), in the Chero valley, an ancient city whose name derives from the Ligurian tribe called Veleiates, was founded in 158 BC, after the definitive submission of the Ligurians to Rome. A Prosperious Roman municipality and important administrative capital, it ruled over a vast hilly and mountain area located between Parma, Piacenza, Libarna (Serravalle Scrivia) and Lucca.

The territory and its resources

The presence of saline waters, which the Romans have always been able to exploit with ingenuity, undoubtedly helped urban development, in which it is possible to identify various baths. This natural resource, along with the tranquility of the place, made Veleia a favorite holiday destination for various consuls and proconsuls from Rome, who were under the illusion, perhaps, of being able to extend their lives. In fact, it was known that among the population of Veleia, as confirmed by the last census of the emperor Vespasian (72 AD), there lived six people aged 110 and four even 120.

 

Remains of the Bathes

The urban sector of the city of Veleia is spread over a series of terraces along the “boreal slope of the knoll” of the Moria and Rovinasso mountains. The toponyms of these two peaks, which in ancient times seem to have been a single mountain, allude to a catastrophic event whose memory has unfortunately been lost in the haze of the times. This Apennine area, like many others in the Apennines, is known geologically for its tendency to landslides: many experts claim, in fact, that the decline and end of Veleia was caused by a large landslide or a series of landslides along the coast of the mountain above.

The archaeological area of Veleia

 

View of the excavations of Veleia

The forum, dating from the Augustan-Julian-Claudian age, extends over a plane obtained artificially by means of a massive excavation, as revealed by the readable stratification under the staircase on the eastern side. The paving, with four rainers, drained by a perimeter gutter with settling wells at the corners is well preserved. It is surrounded on three sides by a portico, dilated in ancient illusionistically by murals, on which there are shops and rooms for public use, almost all equipped with heating systems.

The whole is completed by the lowest of the terraces, formed by the accumulation of materials coming from the excavation of the slope above, contained by robust substructures, still clearly visible in the eighteenth century. Connected to the upper one by an imposing entrance with double tetrastyle elevation, inserted in the colonnade of the forum, the terrace was perhaps reserved for religious functions.

The final destination of an upward path that comes from the valley floor is the basilica that closes the complex to the south: a building with a single nave, with rectangular exedras at the ends, was the seat of the imperial cult; in fact, the twelve large Luni marble statues depicting the members of the Julio-Claudian family rose against the back wall.

To the west of the forum, recent excavations have again brought to light the remains of buildings, recognized as prior to its creation, as well as traces of its original entrance, replaced after the middle of the 1st century. AD from the monumental one located on the northern side. Upstream of the forum there are residential quarters.

The terrace on which a parish church dedicated to S. Antonino has stood since the Middle Ages probably housed a building of worship already in antiquity. Higher is placed a building, identified, already at the time of its discovery, as a water reservoir, later mistakenly interpreted – and consequently rebuilt – as an amphitheatre.

Inside the archaeological area, an Antiquarium has been set up, where casts of the Trajan’s Tabula Alimentaria and the bronze table containing the lex de Gallia Cisalpina, as well as furnishings and architectural elements relating to Roman cremation burials, are kept.

Tradotto da: https://archeome.it/archeologia-veleia-romana-la-citta-della-longevita/

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ARCHAEOLOGY | The wonders of the Archaeological Museum Luigi Bernabò Brea in Lipari

Luigi Bernabó Brea and Madeleine Cavalier

The Regional Aeolian Archaeological Museum Luigi Bernabò Brea, born from a previous Antquarium and located on the plateau known as “Il Castello” (The Castle), was inaugurated in 1954.

Its arrangement was strongly desired by the scholar Bernabò Brea, to whom it was later dedicated, and by the famous Madeleine Cavalier. The latter, after having carried out prehistorical excavations and research in Liguria, was his research partner since 1951, when she took over the scientific direction of the excavations in Lipari and of all the archaeological activity in the Aeolian Islands. The collaboration between the two significantly allowed so much the expansion of the previous museum collection that it was necessary to open new centres. Today, the Archaeological Museum of Lipari consisting of six pavilions that contain respectively: Prehistory, Epigraphy, Minor Islands, Classical Age, Vulcanology and Paleontology of the Quaternary which are located in as many buildings. The exhibition makes use of a rich and exhaustive information that spread across captions in Italian and English. It documents the development of human settlements and the development of the successive civilizations in the Aeolian Archipelago.

The Prehistoric Section

This Section is located in an eighteenth century building which, built on the ruins of the Norman monastery, was the seat of the “Palazzo Vescovile” (Bishop’s Palace). The finds preserved in it show the succession of cultures from the Neolithic age (end of the 5th millennium BC) to the Late Bronze Age (11th-10th century BC). The materials come from excavations carried out in the area of “Il Castello”and in the areas that have given their names to successive cultures. From Piano Conte, for example, we get the typical ceramics of the homonymous Middle Eneolithic culture; from Castellaro Vecchio, on the other hand, the traces of the most ancient Neolithic settlements come. To these are added the artifacts found in Contrada Diana and Spatarella. In this section, for the Bronze Age, the finds from the settlements of the culture of Capo Graziano (Filicudi) and the culture of Milazzese (Panarea) are also exhibited.

The exhibition itinerary of the Prehistoric Section of the Museum continues with the evidence of Ausonius I and Ausonius II, whose handcrafted ceramics seem similar to those of the Late-Apennine and to the Protovillanovian culture of the Italian peninsula. Finally, the itinerary ends with the interesting votive offerings, found inside the bothros dedicated to Aeolus, dating back to the Cnidian foundation of Lipàra (580-576 BC).

The Epigraphical Section of the Museum

The Epigraphical Section of the Archaeological Museum of Lipari is also located in the former “Palazzo Vescovile”, inside Room X. This exhibits numerous memorial stones and funerary stelae from the Greek and Roman age, found in the archaeological area of Contrada Diana. The inscriptions bear the names of the deceased, to which, at times, dedicatory or auspicious formulas are added. The large number of finds made it necessary to place the numerous stelae also in the adjacent garden, where they are accompanied by numerous sarcophagi from the same necropolis.

The Minor Islands Section

This section, on the other hand, is located in a small building opposite the Pre-Historic Section. Inside its showcases, there are numerous finds, coming from the archaeological contexts of the smaller islands and datable between the Upper Neolithic and the Middle Bronze Age. The highlight of this exhibition is the reconstruction of a Bronze Age hut. This reproduction, which occupies the central area of the pavilion dedicated to the archaeology of the smaller islands, was made possible through the joint study by archaeologists and archaeobotanists.

The Classical Section of the Museum

 

 

 

Room XIX with reconstruction of the excavation trench of the Bronze Age necropolis

The Classical Section is certainly the largest and occupies the largest number of rooms inside the main twentieth-century building of the Museum. Through the three floors dedicated to it, the finds are exhibited in order to reconstruct the rich historical-cultural framework of the Greco-Roman city. Beyond Room XX, in which the different types of burial are exemplified (sarcophagi and vases of medium and large dimensions), there is Room XIX, which offers a faithful reconstruction of the excavation trench of the Bronze Age necropolis, located below the former Piazza Monfalcone. On the upper floors are exhibited the numerous finds from the rich funeral objects, including the magnificent masks, divided by age and type: they are masks of Greek and Roman comedy and tragedy. Other exhibition spaces are dedicated to the numismatics and jewellery objects.

 

The great pyramid of the amphorae of Wreck A Roghi on display in room XXVII

Finally, the large room dedicated to underwater archeology is part of the Classical Section. In this room Greek and Roman ships are showcased unfortunately shipwrecked in the waters of the Archipelago, as well as materials from various eras, coming from port dumps in landing areas that have now disappeared. The visitor is immediately attracted by the pyramid-like display of the wreck amphorae of A. Roghi of Capo Graziano , which occupies the centre of Room XXVII. Subsequently, the visitor continues the exhibition itinerary through the finds from different eras, masterfully displayed in chronological order.

The Vulcanological Section

The Vulcanological Section is based in a 14th century building, next to the Minor Islands Section, which was later enlarged in the 17th century. The collection is named after the great vulcanologist Alfred Rittmann and showcases the geomorphology of volcanic origin of the Aeolian archipelago. The exhibition itinerary leads the visitor to observe a series of geological samples – including the famous obsidian – and the plastic reconstructions, which have the didactic purpose of getting him in touch with the productive and economic aspects of the various human settlements that have occurred on the islands .

The Paleontology of the Quaternary Section

Finally, this Section currently occupies a small room located in the south-western sector of “Il Castello”. The collection includes a series of sediments and fossils that must have been present on the various islands of the Aeolian Archipelago during the Quaternary. Of considerable interest is a fragment of the shield of a terrestrial turtle, incorporated in the pyroclasts of Valle Pera di Lipari and dating back to a time period between 127,000 and 104,000 years ago.

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ARCHAEOLOGY | The archaeological area of Fiesole – Florence

The excavations in the archaeological area of Fiesole include a Roman theatre, the baths, an Etruscan-Roman temple and an archaeological museum, which houses finds dating from the third century BC to the second century BC

The archaeological area, bordered to the north by the Etruscan walls, preserves traces of Fiesole history: on the Etruscan temple of the 4th century BC, the Romans, after having conquered the city in the 1st century BC, built another temple and enriched the area with theatre and baths. Near the sacred area of the temple, a necropolis show the subsequent use of the area.

 

Roman Theatre

Built between the beginning of the first century BC and the beginning of the first century AD, it was the first building in the area to arouse interest and to be excavated: its ruins must have always been visible, if in the Middle Ages and in the following centuries the place was indicated by the villagers as “Buca delle Fate”, as evidence of some suggestive stories telling the Fairies of Fiesole, symbol of a happy time, had hidden themselves in dark cavities underground, in order not to see the horrible havoc that the Florentines made after having conquered the city in 1125.

In 1809 the Prussian Baron Friedman von Shellersheim, digging in search of precious objects, claimed to have found two rich sets in the ancient layouts of the theatre, but the news remains difficult to verify. The excavations for bringing the theatre to the light were systematically resumed in 1870 and ended between 1882 and 1900, with the reconstruction of the left side of the steps (cavea), also in view of public use.

The building had a large semicircular cavea, partly carved into the rock of the hill, and four main entrances (vomitoria), which gave access to the covered crypta gallery, which was to support a portico or another order of seats, of which, however, no traces remain. The cavea was divided into four sectors by means of narrow stairs, which allowed the public to take place more easily. Below is the orchestra and, opposite, the space dedicated to the theatrical representation; a wall with a central niche (the pulpitum) frontally delimited the stage (proscenium), behind which stood three doored stage front (the scaena frons), of which no architectural layouts remain, but only the foundation and some marble decorations.

 

The Roman Baths

Behind the theatre there are the ruins of the baths, dating back to Sulla’s times (1st century BC), restored and enlarged in the Hadrian period. They were discovered in 1891, when, finally, it was possible to let three arches operating that have always been visible: they, in fact, constituted the terrace of the baths towards the valley.

The baths are located along the walls and consist of the three classic rooms of the calidarium, tepidarium and frigidarium, plus other tubs and rooms. A rectangular pool and two basins (one of which immersed) were used for public baths: on their bottom many amphorae were found, used to purify the water, collecting the impurities that went to the bottom.

There are the remains of rooms for water heating and the production of steam, which was distributed in the various rooms by means of lead or terracotta pipes. In the calidarium, characterized by the cocciopesto floor, boiling water arrived, while in the tepidarium (consisting of three basins) lukewarm water was collected and, finally, in the frigidarium there was cold water; the frigidarium is divided by an arched layout (which has been rebuilt) which has a semicircular shape and is located next to the latrines. Perhaps there was also a cryptorticus that separated the basins. Some of the layouts were rebuilt following excavations.

 

The Temple

The Etruscan-Roman temple was built between the second half of the fourth century BC and the second century BC, although the area was in use for sacred rituals at least from the 7th century BC. It was excavated at the beginning of the 20th century and most likely corresponds to the ancient Fiesolano Capitolium .

The cell is the oldest part and is divided into three parts: this has led us to suppose that the temple was dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva (the latter is an attribution almost certain, as suggested by a Hellenistic bronze depicting an owl found nearby and now exhibited in the museum). In front of the temple there is a small decorated sandstone altar (4th century BC – 3rd century BC). In the Republican era the temple was rebuilt, raised and enlarged both on the wings and on the front, partly by reusing the walls of the previous building. The staircase, well preserved, has seven steps and reaches the stylobate on which stood the columns of the portico, surmounted by the pediment of the temple. The longest part of the stylobate suggests that the portico connected the temple to the Collegium.

On the left you can see the bases of three residual columns of the portico that surrounded the cell. Among these ruins were found bronze and silver coins (3rd century BC – 10th century AD). In this place, moreover, the remains of a barbarian burial ground from the Lombard period (7th-8th century AD) were found, built on an area of the cell, and the ruins of a Christian temple, built on the remains of the pagan one around the 3rd century AD

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ARCHAEOLOGY | The Archaeological Site of Contrada Diana

The Archaeological Site of Contrada Diana is located in Lipari, in a plain south of the Vallone Ponte and north of the Vallone S. Lucia. The large fenced area near the Palazzo Vescovile, bounded to the south by the former via Diana (now via G. Marconi), and other small adjacent archaeological sites belong to the main unearthed park. The entire archaeological area was established in 1971 by the then Superintendence of Antiquities of Eastern Sicily. In 1987, however, following the birth of the Superintendency of Cultural Heritage in Messina, it became the archaeological heritage of the province of Messina.

Systematic archaeological excavations have been carried out since 1948. For about twenty years, starting in 1954, the investigations were led by Luigi Bernabò Brea and Madeleine Cavalier, who helped found the site and, above all, the Archaeological Museum. The entire area of the site preserves memory of the entire history of the island and has returned evidence of the prehistoric, Greek and Roman age. Among these, of particular interest are the Greco-Roman necropolis and the remains of the city walls, to which are added two thermal complexes.

The necropolis of Contrada Diana

The heart of the Archaeological Site of Contrada Diana is the large necropolis. The first site to be excavated, for over sixty years of excavation it has yielded nearly 3,000 burials. The tombs were neatly arranged, in rows, and superimposed on several orders: the most recent, in fact, are located above the older ones. All the burials have a kind of N-S orientation and each of them was accompanied by an internal and an external furnishing. Eight types of burials have been identified: they are mainly burials in sarcophagi, more rarely in defunctionalized amphorae. The external furnishing, first placed inside a large vase, starting from the middle of the 4th century BC, is placed inside a shell of raw clay. In the imperial age, from the 1st to the 5th century AD, in addition to the reuse of old Greek burials, the tombs also took on a monumental form with enclosures and familiar hypogea.

The funeral rite was mixed and included both burial and cremation, with a clear prevalence of the first over the second. The rich grave goods, preserved inside the Aeolian Regional Archaeological Museum, were composed of figured and non-figured ceramics, metal jewels and objects, terracotta statuettes and masks, which reproduce characters from Greek and Roman comedy and tragedy.

The Walls

Archaeological excavations have brought to light the remains of two city walls, one dating back to the period of the first foundation and the other to the reconstruction of the mid-4th century BC. The oldest walls were found in 1954, under what is now Piazza Luigi Savior of Austria. These are polygonal walls, with large blocks of perfectly hewn lava stone, built with the aim at protecting the Greek settlement, which extended between the Civita hill and the Castle.

What is visible in Contrada Diana is the reconstruction of the first half of the fourth century BC: it is a 50 m long stretch, which highlights the presence of square protective towers. The new and wider curtain was adapted to the expansion of the Greek town. This second construction technique involved a filling of compact stones, lined, on both sides, with isodomic blocks of stone coming from Monte Rosa di Lipari.

With the arrival of the Romans, the Greek city was destroyed and obliterated by the remains of the Roman reoccupation. In the second half of the 1st century BC, the citizens built a new parallel line of fortification, which is 6.50 m from the previous one: it is the agger of Sesto Pompeo, an irregularly shaped work, composed only of dry stone and blocks of bare. The new walls were part of the fortifications commissioned by Sextus Pompeius during the civil war of 36 BC against Octavian. The walls, as well as the necropolis, are implanted in an area that had been the seat of the prehistoric village, pertaining to the culture of Capo Graziano: in fact, they cut the remains of ancient oval huts, built with the technique of the wall dry.

 

 

The Roman Baths

Besides, the Roman Baths are added of via Mons. Bernardino Re and via Franza. The first is located almost in front of Palazzo Vescovile and shows the remains of public spaces, with floor mosaics and drainage channels, dating back to the imperial age. Furthermore, the remains of a horseshoe-shaped tank, the frigidarium, and some adjacent spaces referred as tepidarium and calidarium are clearly visible. In via Franza, nestled in what scholars interpret as a working district, there is a more modest spa building. This is made up of three rooms, equipped with a cocciopesto floor, one of which, due to the presence of the characteristic tile columns under the floor, has been recognized as a calidarium. This second spa building dates back to the late imperial age.

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Area of the Archaeological Site of Contrada Diana and Lipari Castle

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UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY | The wrecks of the “Falcata Zone” of Messina

Known as the Falcata Zone because of its shape, the peninsula of Saint Raineri, in Messina, tells more than a millenary story, centuries older than the canonical foundation of the Zancle colony done by the Chalcidese.

The Falcata Zone, Guardian of Wrecks


That stretch of the Ionian Sea that bathed the peninsula was the scene of numerous battles. Its seabed and coasts became cemeteries for boats, which, through the passing of time, were forgotten.
But something still peeps out from the past, as a reminder of a time when Messina was the crossroads of the main trade and connection routes between the Island, the Italian peninsula and the rest of the Mediterranean.

The Rigoletto

Along the Southern part of the Falcata area lies, undisturbed, the wreck of a historic ferry: the Rigoletto. The wreck owes its fame to the prow that comes out of the water, clearly visible a few metres from the shore and not far from the Spanish Citadel. While the stern was sinking, resting on the seabed, it became the habitat of several species of fish, unique in the Mediterranean Sea (trumpet fish and pink and black castanets). In 1968 the ship was sold to Italy and, under the name “Maddalena Lofaro”, made numerous trips. On the first of July of 1980, a fire broke out on the ship, while it was carrying used cars from Antwerp (Belgium) to Beirut in Lebanon. The crew was forced to abandon the boat, which was towed from the Mediterranean to the port of Messina. Now too damaged to travel by sea, it was abandoned in the area of the Real Cittadella, where, in shallow waters, it found its last port. The Rigoletto is not the only wreck along the Falcata area, just as it is not the only one found at the bottom of the Sicilian coast.

Other modern wrecks: the ferry Cariddi

Another wreck that can be admired in the depths of the Falcata area is that of the Cariddi ferry, a historic boat dating back to the early 1930s. This allowed the railway connection between the Calabrian and Sicilian coasts across the Strait of Messina. The Cariddi was a symbol of great innovation and was the first ship to have a diesel propulsion system.
She was sunk during the Second World War, re-emerged in the following years and redeveloped with a lengthening of the hull, only to be decommissioned in 1990. Finally, now forgotten along the coast, she sank in silence in the 2000s. The ship, a favourite destination for scuba diving, gives shelter and life to countless marine animal species (shrimps, sea bass, groupers, etc.), lying on the rocky limestone seabed.

In antique

During a research campaign, carried out with scans, Rov verifications and scuba diving, two perfectly intact wrecks of merchant ships, dating back to the II-IV century A.D., were discovered at the bottom of the Strait of Messina. The area involved in the archeo-submarine countryside embraces a stretch of sea of 49 km2, not far from the Falcata area. In this operation public and private institutions have worked in synergy: Aurora Trust, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of the Sea of Palermo, Oloturia Sub, Bimaris Edition. The research campaign is part of the “Atlantis” project, a two-year plan for mapping the seabed of the Strait of Messina. During the campaign that took place from 13th to 19th June of 2011, well-preserved North African amphorae were found in the first shipwreck, well-preserved whole millstones, lead ingots with a stamp, fundamental to identify their origin, and three iron anchors, now preserved in the warehouses of Zanca Palace in Messina.

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ARCHAEOLOGY | Metaponto – Basilicata – the pearl of Magna Graecia

Metaponto, an ancient city of Magna Graecia, was probably founded in the eighth century BC by groups of Achaeans from the Peloponnese. According to the tradition handed down by Strabo, it seems that the centre was initially constituted by the veterans of the Trojan war.

The new veterans, however, lived together and clashed with the local populations of the Oenotrians. In the oldest phase of the area there was also an important inhabited area, now designated as the archaeological area of the “Incoronata of San Teodoro.

 

History of the city

The place, during the early age, was called Metabos with regard to a legend, and from this comes the subsequent evolution in the name. The ceramic productions were important in the area of ancient Metaponto.

Among the ancient artists the “Painter of Pisticci” should be remembered . The craftsmanship of bronze, sometimes illustrated, found in the Incoronata site was also important.

The city, in the period of maximum splendour, was able to host Pythagoras, who fled from Crotone. Following the events of the times, the city of the Achaeans often allied with nearby Taranto, following its fate for a long time. After being involved in the wars between the Romans and the Carthaginians, Metaponto entered the Roman orbit, first as a Federal City, then as a City Hall  in the 1st century BC.

 

The archaeological area

The sacred area is bordered on the west and east side by a perimeter wall ,Témenos, as well as by wide orthogonal streets. The east side, on the other hand, is marked only by a symbolic theory of pillars, which physically separates the area from the other public space, the agora.

The two major temples, Heraion and Apollonion, were built in the Doric style around the mid-sixth century BC. They are the result of a process of monumentalization of the sanctuary, which seems to end with the construction of the Ionic temple and with the reconstruction of building, in the first decades of the fifth century BC. The most impressive remains belong to the temple of Hera, the series of the 8 columns of the eastern front with a partial reconstruction of the elevation is proposed. The entire floor plan, on the other hand, is suggested by the orderly arrangement of the other remaining architectural elements.

On the side there is the temple dedicated to Apollo Lykaios, named as the Virtuous or the “Wolf”, of which some monolithic non-fluted columns relating to a previous building, never built, can be appreciated. The grandeur of the structure, the large base, is due to the need to support a great weight, determined by the marble roof. The building is characterized by the central division of the cell and by the double colonnade on the eastern front.

This building and the Ionic temple dedicated to Artemis maintain an old orientation, different from that of the two major temples, which instead align perfectly with the geometries of the urban grid. In front of the temples are situated the altars, accompanied by numerous bases, inscriptions and votive objects.

 

PUBLIC SPACES

In the agora, however, the architectural grandeur of the theatre is clearly distinguished, which during the second half of the fourth century BC replaces the previous archaic circular building, conventionally referred to as Ekklesiasterion. The building certainly hosted the highest town hall meeting, Ekklesia, but also competitions and shows with great popular participation. The absence of a hilly slope in the area has forced the invention of an artificial embankment. This is held on the outside by a retaining wall made of large limestone blocks.

In the current arrangement we can point out the development of the first layout, following that one of the metal section bars. In the centre the orchestra is recognizable, rectangular in shape, with two large opposite entrances. To represent the elevation of the theatre, instead, the masonry reconstruction of a sector of the external retaining wall, decorated with columns and Doric frieze, was preferred. Along this wall there are also the entrances, which should have allowed the spectators to access the upper part of the steps, the cavea.

 

Remains of the theatre
Remains of columns and doric frieze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


On the opposite side of the modern access road to the park, before the railway line, the area of the so-called Castro Romano develops, built between the agora and the line of the eastern walls. This is happened probably to house the Roman military garrison during the wars of the third century BC, before the definitive defeat of the Carthaginian army led by Hannibal. It is important the large portico or stoà, probably on two floors, with columns and Doric frieze, which closes the east side of the agora.

During the imperial period, Metaponto was further reduced to a small town within the Castro area. It exists in the basis of the port and the coastal road system. It is significant that the public space of the Greek city , agora and sanctuary, hosts a sector of the necropolis as if to underline the loss of any cultural and topographical relationship with the previous stages of life.

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News

ArcheoMe Magazine – Year I n. 5 – August 2020

Here is the fifth issue of our archaeological magazine, translated into English for our beloved readers who globally follow us.

The magazine you are about to read was translated from Italian to English. A choice that we hope will be able to bring in a large international audience in relation to archaeology, history and Italian cultural heritage.

The most beautiful and carefree moment of the year, August, named in honor of Emperor Augustus, could only coincide with the theme “Mare Nostrum”. Our sea, so cherished to the Romans and the Greeks, the scenes of battles and expeditions, of discoveries and conquests, are analyzed in this issue from different points of view.

Enjoy the reading!