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Excavation

  • Via Sepolcri
  • Torre Annunziata
  • Oplontis
  • Italy
  • Campania
  • Naples
  • Torre Annunziata

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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)

  • This past summer the Oplontis Project began its own study of Oplontis B. As with our work in Villa A, here we will excavate below the 79 CE levels. In collaboration with the Swale and Thames archaeological team from Britain, Ivo van der Graaff of the Oplontis Project, supervised the opening of trench, OPB1 in the courtyard area of Oplontis B (in green on the plan). The goal of the trench was to document stratigraphy of the courtyard, with the hope of finding further information about the building’s chronology and function.

    The trench stretched the entire width of the courtyard from the southern colonnade foundation to that of the northern. We discovered the original pavement of the courtyard, made of large basalt boulders filled in with amphora sherds and topped with a layer of concrete to create a smooth surface. The pavement rested on a pyroclastic flow datable to the last Bronze Age eruption of Vesuvius. In fact the northern profile of the trench revealed a sequence of alternating paelosols and eruption strata, the earliest of which dates to the Avellino eruption of 1700 BCE. Of interest is a particular paleosol datable to circa 1500 to 1000 BCE. This level preserves what appear to be plough and cart- or sledge-marks along with scattered remnants of mudbrick; all of these point to Bronze-Age activity in the Oplontis B area.

    Up against the colonnade foundations at the north and south ends of the trench, we discovered interesting details of construction. The foundations consist of a thick tufa stereobate atop spaced tufa blocks, laid perpendicular to the stereobate. Within the foundation trench for these blocks at the south end, we found several sherds of Campana A Black Gloss ceramic, whose broad range of production includes the entire 2nd century BCE, a range consistent with our preliminary estimates for date of the courtyard building.

    Under the colonnade, at the northeast corner of the courtyard, we excavated another smaller trench where Ground Penetrating Radar had shown a clear anomaly (OPB 2, also in green on the plan)., this trench was labeled OPB 2. Excavations revealed that the anomaly was a drainage conduit or perhaps an aqueduct. A pit abutting it to the south was filled with amphorae fragments, further evidence of the great number of amphorae used at this site.

  • John R. Clarke - University of Texas at Austin 
  • Michael L. Thomas - University of Texas at Austin 

Director

  • John R. Clarke - University of Texas at Austin
  • Michael L. Thomas - University of Texas at Austin

Team

  • Jess Galloway - Principal, Booziotis & Company Architects
  • Paul Wilkinson - Swale and Thames, UK
  • Ivo van der Graaff - University of Texas at Austin

Research Body

  • Center for the Study of Ancient Italy - Center for the Study of Ancient Italy, The University of Texas at Austin
  • The University of Texas at Austin

Funding Body

  • The University of Texas at Austin

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