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Excavation

  • Capestrano
  • Collelungo
  • Aufinum
  • Italy
  • Abruzzo
  • Province of L'Aquila
  • Capestrano

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Summary (English)

  • The Aufinium- Capestrano Project is the result of a long collaboration between the Archaeological Superintendency of the Abruzzo, Chieti University and several other bodies.

    The town and territory

    The excavations at Capestrano have revealed the existence of an ancient town, Aufinium, in a well-structured territory. The hill was surrounded by several curtain walls that functioned more as substructures for the terracing than as defences. The terraces present two phases of use, one datable to the Hellenistic-Roman period, while the second phase dates to the late medieval period. Two temples were uncovered on the hill summit, which functioned as the acropolis, “Temple A” and “Temple B”, datable to between the 3rd and 1st centuries B.C. Very little of Temple A, in particular the podium structures excavated directly in the hill’s rocky substratum, was preserved.

    Temple B, still being excavated, is very interesting both for the typology of the building materials and for the later phases of reuse with early medieval burials reusing materials from the temple. Abundant fragments of coloured wall plaster with a ‘wave’ decoration, of a type attested in Campania and the Taranto area, were found inside the temple. A rectangular hut was discovered on the hill summit. Divided internally by posts, it had pits for storing dry foodstuffs and water, together with grindstones and mortars. Another feature of the vicus is the so-called theatre or assembly building, which follows the line of the hill slope. The tiers were made up of steps of two different heights forming the seat and footrest. Trenches were opened at the foot of the hill in order to investigate the imperial phase of urbanisation. The remains of private dwellings were uncovered, including an impluvium, which were heavily damaged by ancient digging for planting vines and by centuries of deep ploughing.

    The Roman necropolis

    The excavations in the necropolis of Capestrano uncovered 54 tombs of different dates, as well as the via sepolcrale already identified in the 1930s. Two chamber tombs, built with the entrance facing towards the ancient road, were of particular interest. The presence of worked bone elements from funerary beds, decorated with motifs relating to love and death, indicates that these were high status burials. However, the most significant discovery was constituted by numerous cremation burials in urns, attesting this practice for the first time at Capestrano and in the Vestina area in the imperial period. Several tomb types were present: ‘a fossa’, ‘a dado’ and within an enclosure. Most were constituted by a pit containing an urn with the grave goods placed both inside and outside, or only inside the urn. The grave goods mainly comprised small jars and pocula, balsamari, glass unguentaria, lamps and plates.

  • Oliva Menozzi - DiSPUTer Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti 

Director

  • M.C. Mancini DiSPUTer Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti
  • Oliva Menozzi - DiSPUTer Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti
  • Valeria Acconcia - Dipartimento di Studi Psicologici, Umanistici e del Territorio dell’Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti-Pescara

Team

  • Ruggero D’Anastasio, Museo Universitario, Università G. D’Annunzio di Chieti
  • Alessandro Bencivenga - Università de L’Aquila
  • Marinella Urso
  • Angelo Palumbo
  • Clara Tamburrino
  • Eugenio Di Valerio - CAAM Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti
  • Maria Giorgia di Antonio
  • Serena Torello di Nino

Research Body

  • CAAM (Centro di Ateneo di Archeometria e Microanalisi-Chieti)
  • IERA (Istituto Europeo per la Ricerca Archeologica)
  • LABDAM (Laboratorio di Diagnostica e Archeometria del Mosaico
  • ORTO BOTANICO DI NAPOLI, Università degli Studi Federico II, Napoli
  • Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Abruzzo
  • Università degli Studi “G. D’Annunzio” di Chieti

Funding Body

  • Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti

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