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Excavation

  • San Felice
  • Gravina in Puglia
  •  
  • Italy
  • Apulia
  • Bari
  • Gravina in Puglia

Tools

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)

  • During the months of July and August, 2011, a team of 25 archaeologists and archaeology students from Canada and the United States continued excavating the Roman villa site at San Felice, work which commenced in the summer of 2005. The goals of the excavation were to determine the layout and nature of rooms surrounding a central peristyle courtyard/pool area; to better understand the nature of activity at the site during a post-occupational phase dating to the late second through early third century AD; to determine, if possible, the nature of renovations to the structure in the late first century AD; and to generally better understand the transition of the site from a primarily residential structure to a centre of artisanal production.

    Excavations in 2011 provided a great deal of evidence related to the post-occupational phase of the structure. To begin with, a series of tile surfaces, composed of reused tegulae, imbrices, and dolium covers were constructed directly on top of a thick layer or rubble, a phenomenon that was particularly easy to discern in the south western section of the excavation where the level of overburden protected the rather delicate archaeological remains of the post-occupational phase. These surfaces all show evidence for burning and are accompanied by hearth features. Sediment samples were taken for flotation by Anthony Taylor while charcoal samples were examined by Dr. Robyn Veal in the hopes of understanding better the activities associated with the post-occupational phase. We also discovered a relatively well-preserved pottery kiln that had been dug into an early phase floor surface. Although we only excavated the praefurnium, it is likely that the kiln was used to produce oil lamps as.

    It is also now quite clear that by the end of the late first century AD much of the villa, including its central peristyle, was converted from a residential to an artisanal or industrial function. This involved raising the floor levels in certain parts of the structure, filling in some doorways, inserting dolia defossa and diverting the water present in the central peristyle pool. The finds from archaeological strata associated with this renovation suggest that wool working and the preparation of textiles was an important activity at the site.

    While we had hoped to find evidence for the northern limit of the structure, based on our northernmost trench it now seems clear that plough damage is too great in this area to ever recover the plan of the structure’s northern edge, although we did find some small, well-preserved patches of painted concrete flooring in this area. Still, it is possible that future excavations may find evidence of the basis villae.

    Finally, the finds associated with the first two phases of activity at the site, from the second half of the first century BC to the mid-first century AD, suggest that the site’s inhabitants were of a relatively high social status. These finds include pieces of an iron candelabra, a carnelian intaglio, and a great deal of tack and harness.

  • Myles McCallum - Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS, Canada  

Director

  • Hans vanderLeest - Department of Classics, Mount Allison University new Brunswick, Canada
  • Myles McCallum - Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Team

  • Michael MacKinnon - University of Winnipeg
  • Anthony Taylor - University of Nevada, Reno
  • Robyn Veal - University of Sydney
  • Matthew Munro - Saint Mary's University
  • Mikael Haller - Saint Francis Xavier University; Canada
  • Darryl Kelman - CRM Group, Halifax, Canada
  • Martha Sellens - University of British Columbia, Canada

Research Body

  • The British School at Rome

Funding Body

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

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