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Excavation

  • Fossa
  • Fossa
  • Aveia
  • Italy
  • Abruzzo
  • Province of L'Aquila
  • Fossa

Summary (English)

  • The historic landscape of the present-day municipality of Fossa is the result of a series of changes in settlement form over a long period of time, during which the Iron Age and pre-Roman (village and defences of Monte Cerro, the cemeteries of Aveia), Roman (praefectura of Aveia) and medieval settlements were distributed within an area of a few square kilometres without any destructive superimposition. With the aim of documenting the Roman evidence (walls and probable remains of a theatre) and considering the fact that the Roman town of Aveia, identified in the 18th century, had never been the object of systematic research, the “Orientale” University of Naples in agreement with the Archaeological Superintendency of Abruzzo, programmed for 2007 a series of georadar surveys and trial trenches.

    The earthquake of the 6th April 2009 caused of tragic destruction to the urban fabric of the modern town of Fossa. This made an intervention to identify and recover the archaeological evidence within the territory even more pressing, not only in order to save what was preserved of ancient Aveia, but also for the sensitivity and interest shown by the local populations towards their origins following the excavation of the great necropoleis. It was seen that archaeology can represent a cohesive factor for a community whose historical and cultural identity had already been put to the test by the population decline caused by the great migrations in the second half of the 20th century.

    The interest of the team from the “Orientale” was concentrated on studying the walls of Aveia, with the aim of helping to protect the site by clearly identifying its extension, in particular the “low” part of the town where the walls had disappeared from sight, and of defining the entity and chronology of the ancient interventions, from the foundation of the Roman settlement to that of its abandonment. The first intervention was the identification and cleaning of all the parts of the walls that could be seen, most of which hidden by thick vegetation, in order to undertake a detailed 3D survey.

    In the “low” part of the town, in particular the area thought to coincide with the south-eastern corner of the town walls, two trenches were dug and a stretch of wall circa 120 m long was cleaned. What emerged from the excavations demonstrated that at this point the walls, which were slightly curved as prescribed by late Republican treatises on architecture (Vitruvius, I, 5, 5), clearly bent to form a corner between the east and south stretches. In order to provide better protection for this sector, obviously considered very vulnerable, a semi-tower was built abutting the walls. The preliminary interpretation (prior to further excavation) is that this was either a space housing war machines (catapults or ballistas), shelter for the guards or a tower flanking one of the town gates.

    The systematic robbing of the walls, which continued for a long period after the abandonment of Aveia, renders dating of their construction difficult. Despite this, on the basis of finds recovered in the foundation trench of a channel built at the same time as the walls, it is possible to suggest, for the moment, that the town walls date to the first decades of the 1st century B.C.

  • Fabrizio Pesando - Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale" 

Director

  • Fabrizio Pesando - Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale"
  • Vincenzo D’Ercole - Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Abruzzo

Team

  • Andrea D’Andrea - Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Dipartimento Studi del Mondo Classico
  • Francesco Panzetti
  • Marco Giglio - Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”
  • Michele Stefanile
  • Fabrizio Pesando - Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale"
  • Angela Bosco
  • Benyamin Bacci
  • David Almeida
  • Diego Garzya
  • Giancarlo Iannone
  • Gilda Ferrandino
  • Marcello Gelone
  • Marco Barbarino
  • Rachele Infascelli
  • Rosamaria Persico
  • Sara Napolitano - Università degli Studi di Roma
  • Stefano Iavarone - Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”
  • Suena Carnevale

Research Body

  • Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”

Funding Body

  • Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia di Teramo (Tercas)
  • Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”

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