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Excavation

  • S. Maria di Torba
  • Castelseprio
  • Sibrium / Castel Seprio
  • Italy
  • Lombardy
  • Provincia di Varese
  • Gornate Olona

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Summary (English)

  • In July 2001, prior to the approval of a project to restructure the church buildings at Torba, a series of trial trenches were dug along the south and west perimeters of the church of S. Maria.
    Those excavated to the south, next to the church entrance and adjoining the area investigated in the 1980s (which is to be fully explored in the near future), brought to light not only an archaeological deposit containing burials, but also revealed part of the perimeter wall and end of the phase 1 church (excavation and phasing by G. P. Brogiolo). This enabled the course of the perimeter wall to be corrected with respect to that previously documented and published. It also became clear that the layout of the ancient church walls, as reproduced in the modern pavement at the end of excavations in the 1980s, is on the wrong alignment.
    In fact the northern perimeter wall shown in the modern pavement has a NE-SW alignment which corresponds neither to what was recorded in 2001 or to G. P. Brogiolo’s reconstruction.
    A trench dug on the western perimeter, built during the final phase of the church’s enlargement, brought to light work surfaces (floors) and what appear to be defensive structures, built up against the slope, for the protection of the church.
    The church of S. Maria di Torba was part of the outpost, situated in the valley bottom, of ancient Sibrium (Castel Seprio). This site was mentioned in the 6th century A.D. by geographers from Ravenna but was frequented from the late Bronze Age. Occupying land on the northern edge of the modern town of Castelseprio (VA) and a substantial part of the adjacent town of Gornate Olona (VA), the ancient settlement underwent various vicissitudes and was destroyed in 1287 by the Visconti family during their war with the Della Torre family for the conquest of the signoria of Milan. Archbishop Ottone Visconti decreed its perpetual abandonment.
    The archaeological park of Castelseprio has been open to the public since the 1950s. (Angela Surace)

Director

  • Angela Surace - Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Lombardia

Team

  • Alessandra Massari - Studio di Ricerca Archeologica
  • Fausto Simonotti - Studio di Ricerca Archeologica
  • Angela Surace - Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Lombardia

Research Body

  • Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Lombardia

Funding Body

  • F.A.I. (Fondo per l

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