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Excavation

  • Monte Petrino - Rocca Montis Draconis
  • Mondragone
  • Rocca Montis Draconis
  • Italy
  • Campania
  • Provincia di Caserta
  • Mondragone

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Credits

  • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

    MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

    ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

    AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

  • AIAC_logo logo

Summary (English)

  • The 2011 campaign concentrated on two areas: by the outer defensive wall (CAE), including the two towers connected to it, and the central area of the summit plateau (CAB) interpreted as the upper platea (CF11), in particular the south-western corner outside building CF8. The latter had been excavated earlier and its final occupation period (14th-15th century) interpreted as a private chapel. Both areas presented specific questions, which the excavations aimed to answer: the method of access and defence of the site in each occupation phase, and the subdivision and arrangement of the spaces relating to different social classes and powers that shared the most important part of the site, that is the summit plateau.

    Area CAE is situated on a natural terrace, on the western slope of Mt. Petrino, below the summit where the main archaeological evidence lies. There is a change in height between the areas of about 1000 m (CAB: 409 m a.s.l.; CAE: 333 m a.s.l.). They are linked by tracks that follow the contours of the mountain and cross two villages (CAC and CAD) on the western and southern slopes. The outer defensive wall, 7.38 m long and 5 m wide, preserved to a height of about 1.50 m, constitutes an imposing defence for the only entry point to the fortified settlement on the plateau’s northern side. The southern side of the settlement was rendered inaccessible by the sheer rock formation and lack of vegetation. The wall was reinforced by the presence of a polygonal tower at each end, from which it was separated by openings. The towers projected towards the north side beyond the front wall. The east tower had a quadrangular plan with a solid masonry scarp base preserved to a height of about 2.50 m, but no standing walls survive. The second watchtower had an irregular polygonal plan with a solid masonry base. Situated at the west end of the wall, from which it was separated by a 3.50 m gap, it splayed towards the interior of the ridge. It is suggested that an opening existed here that was wide enough to allow the entry of wagons and equipped troops who would have camped on the flat strip of land protected by the outer defensive wall. Similarities in dimension and structure with the passage in the east tower and the inter-visibility between the two, suggests a system coherent with a defensive structure (barbican?), probably built during the conflict between Angevins and Aragonese for the conquest of the dukedom at the end of the 15th century. The Rocca di Mondragone was one of the most important castles in the Ducato di Sessa during this period.

    Several test trenches were put in on the summit of CAB, in the area in front of the late Angevin chapel excavated in 2010 (CF8) in order to clarify the sequence of the external floors. Once again, questions were asked about the settlement’s abandonment in the mid 16th century. This was preceded by intense activity to replace the floors at the centre of the plateau, which were raised by dumps of material from earlier demolitions. These layers produced a considerable number of finds of varying dates, including pottery, iron objects (for building, craft work and war) together with almost 50 coins, mainly cavalli issued by Ferrante di Aragona between 1472 and 1496. A coin of Louis XII (1502-1505) was also found in the collapse obliterating the final occupation levels, together with a Romano-Campanian coin (265-240 B.C.) and an imperial coin.

    Survey continued on the slopes of Mt. Petrino with the aim of mapping the terracing, which attests the exploitation of the territory around the medieval castle, as well as the evidence for settlement of pre-Roman and Roman date, in particular villa-farms specialising in viticulture.

  • Francesca Sogliani - IBAM CNR; Scuola di Specializzazione in Archeologia di Matera, Università degli Studi della Basilicata 

Director

  • Luigi Crimaco - Museo Civico Archeologico di Mondragone “B. Greco” Mondragone (CE)

Team

  • A. Carcaiso - Museo Civico Archeologico “B. Greco” Mondragone (CE)
  • A. De Gregorio - Museo Civico Archeologico “B. Greco” Mondragone (CE)
  • B. Gargiulo - Museo Civico Archeologico “B. Greco” Mondragone (CE)
  • F. Gabellone - IBAM CNR
  • M. Musella - Museo Civico Archeologico “B. Greco” Mondragone (CE)
  • F. Sogliano
  • D. Roubis - IBAM CNR; Scuola di Specializzazione in Archeologia di Matera, Università degli Studi della Basilicata

Research Body

  • Comune di Mondragone – Museo Civico Archeologico "B. Greco" di Mondragone
  • Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali IBAM CNR.
  • Scuola di Specializzazione in Archeologia di Matera, Università degli Studi della Basilicata

Funding Body

  • Comune di Mondragone

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