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Excavation

  • Palecastro
  • Palecastro
  •  
  • Italy
  • Calabria
  • Provincia di Cosenza
  • Tortora

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Summary (English)

  • Between 1990 and 2007, excavations on the hill of Palecastro di Tortora investigated large sectors of the Lucanian town of Blanda and the Roman colony of Blanda Iulia, a small centre but the administrative, political and commercial hub of a much vaster territory at the mouth of the river Noce. The site was occupied from the archaic period until the first half of the 5th century A.D. and later became a bishop’s see until at least 743 A.D. The Enotrian phase is documented by residual stratigraphy, the Lucanian phase by the remains of the foundations of houses situated along plateia A on a NE-SW alignment. This latter phase is also represented by several sections of the fortifications running along the edge of the large summit plateau (115 m a.s.l.), enclosing an area of almost 5 ha.

    Around the mid 1st century B.C., a small forum area was constructed, constituted by a square (27 × 27 m), perfectly orientated with the cardinal points, with buildings on three sides. On the north side there was a row of quadrangular shops/workshops; there was a second row of shops/workshops on the east side, here preceded by a portico of the same depth and by a fountain. The south side was constituted by a long narrow structure with a pillared façade, which had a monumental entrance, facing the square. This building can be interpreted as the basilica; the base of a statue of M. Arrio Clymeno, duumvir of Blanda, abutted one of the columns. The fourth side of the forum was closed by three Italic podium temples (A, B, C). The two largest, B and C, were centred on the square’s east-west axis, while the third, A, smaller and better-preserved, was further south and set back with respect to the façades of the other two. It was perhaps built in a later period, at the time of the deduction of the triumviral colony, which required the construction of an actual Capitolium. A fourth building E, stood at the centre of the square, on a different axis from those on the Capitolium and stratigraphically datable to the mid imperial period, perhaps post mid 2nd century A.D. when the temples and workshops/shops present clear signs of destruction and partial rebuilding probably following an earthquake. A complex system of channels for collecting and draining rainwater into a fountain abutted the eastern portico. The channels were filled with materials datable to within the late 4th /early 5th centuries A.D. West of the forum (C, D, and E), two insulae were almost completely uncovered. They were separated by small roads (crossed by a brick-built underground sewer with a ventilation shaft, built around the mid 1st century A.D.). The roads ran at right angles to the main west-east road and only survived in a bad state of preservation at foundation level, due to the natural erosion of the hill summit.

    The 2016 excavations investigated part of the unexcavated forum area, in particular the north-eastern and eastern sectors, the area in front of temples B and C. In the south-western part of the forum, in the zone abutting temple A, a workshop/shop was excavated, which faced onto plateia A that entered the forum at this point.

  • Fabrizio Mollo- Dipartimento di Civiltà Antiche e Moderne, Università degli Studi di Messina 

Director

  • Fabrizio Mollo- Dipartimento di Civiltà Antiche e Moderne, Università degli Studi di Messina

Team

Research Body

  • Dipartimento di Civiltà Antiche e Moderne, Università degli Studi di Messina, Polo Universitario dell’Annunziata, 98168 MESSINA

Funding Body

  • Comune di Tortora (CS), Via Panoramica al Porto, 87020 Tortora (CS)
  • Dipartimento di Civiltà Antiche e Moderne, Università degli Studi di Messina, Polo Universitario dell’Annunziata, 98168 MESSINA

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