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  • Cetamura del Chianti
  • Gaiole in Chianti
  • Civitamura
  • Italy
  • Tuscany
  • Province of Siena
  • Gaiole in Chianti

Credits

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Periods

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Chronology

  • 500 BC - 100 AD

Season

    • An exhibition, Cetamura Antica, Traditions of Chianti (Cetamura Antica, Tradizione del Chianti) was held at the Centro di Informazione Turistica, Gaiole in Chianti (SI), from July to November, 2000, including objects discovered since the first discovery of the site in 1964, and emphasizing materials from the area of the kiln, Structure K. The artisans’ zone at Cetamura was emphasized, with evidence of iron workers, weavers and spinners, and workers in ceramics (brick, tile and loomweights). A catalog appeared in English and in Italian translation: N.T. de Grummond, ed., Cetamura Antica, Traditions of Chianti, Tallahassee, Florida, 2000.
    • Excavations focused on four projects: 1. Zone I, the well in the center of the highest zone of the site. The shaft was cleared down to a depth of 22.5m below datum. The type of finds was almost unchanged from previous excavations in the well; a fill of mud, stones (some worked) and brick and tile, along with some Roman glass and red-gloss pottery, seemed to represent a dumping episode of largely Roman materials. The finds, of limited interest, also included an Etruscan black-gloss sherd with graffito and possible pieces of Etruscan overpainted ware and bucchero. 2. The Roman baths and other features on the escarpment on the N side of Zone I. In this area two units measuring 3x6m yielded evidence of terracing for the baths, with Roman glass and sigillata as well as fragments of Roman lamps, some from the period of Augustus. In addition, abutting and running under a fragment of a wall from the baths emerged a pit, ca. 0.70 m. deep, with an extensive refuse deposit, mostly dense ash and pottery dating from the period 350-300 B.C. Also within the “Refuse Pit” was a rich cache of hundreds of animal bones, including the sawed antlers of one or more deer, as well as a tiny glass bead, a fine clay spindle whorl or bead, and a cylindrical lead object thought to be a base or attachment for a bronze object. Adjacent to the pit was another area that showed some of the same ash-colored earth, but in which the finds were not so consistent; included were significant examples of bucchero. A layer of Etruscan bricks, probably also dating ca. 350-300 B.C. was found running under the Roman wall fragment. Beneath the level of the bricks a large, broken, burnt pan tile, nearly intact (probably Etruscan), covered over the “Refuse Pit.” 3. Zone II, the area S of the Late Etruscan (Hellenistic) cisterns, Structures A and B. Thick, rough sandstone foundation walls of Etruscan Late Phase II (ca. 150-75 B.C.) suggest the presence of a large building. 4. Zone II, a unit north of the kiln, Structure K. The loci excavated in 2001 included layers of very hard yellow clay, containing Roman red-gloss and Etruscan Hellenistic wares such as Volterran Presigillata. Underneath these a layer with fairly dense carbon was begun and thus far seems to be contemporary with the Etruscan Late Phase I of Structure K (300-150 B.C.). On the E side of the unit a stretch of wall running north-south has been uncovered, having an orientation parallel to the walls of Structure K, and possibly belonging to Etruscan Late Phase I.
    • Four projects were resumed: 1. Zone I, the well. Excavation in the well finished at 24.1 meters below datum. The type of finds was almost unchanged from the previous excavations; the fill of mud, stones (some worked) and brick and tile, along with some Roman glass, red-gloss pottery, African sigillata, iron nails and Roman box-flue tiles seemed to represent a dumping episode of largely Roman materials. Of interest was a rim of a dolium (undated), with a graffito of a tree (ramus siccus) incised upon it. 2. The Roman baths and other features on the escarpment on the N side of Zone I. On the West side of the scarp excavations probed the north wall of Room 4, Area G, removing first the overlying medieval agger, rich with pottery from many periods, with medieval bread pans (testo) among the latest datable objects. Finds included a stamp from an amphora with the name EVTYCHEI, discovered only a few centimeters away from where another amphora stamp was found in 1993, with the name M.LVRI. Very likely parts of the same vessel, they come from a medium-sized, buff colored amphora of Greco-Italic type (3rd century B.C.). In the area of the two 3 x 6 m. units, finds similar to those above and in the refuse pit continued to emerge, including Roman red-gloss, box flue tiles, a nearly whole Roman lamp (late 3rd-2nd century B.C.) a bronze coin of the prow series, and beneath that bucchero and overpainted Etruscan ware. Of particular interest were two tracts of stones that appeared at the bottom of the units running parallel to one another at a distance of ca. 4.5 m., hypothesized to be part of an entranceway running between Zone I and Zone II. 3. Zone II, the area S of the Hellenistic cisterns, Structures A and B. Foundation walls for a large building, now called Structure L, continued to be revealed. A sandstone wall, ca. 0.90-1.00 m wide, running on a diagonal in relation to Structures A, B, and C etc., but directly perpendicular to a wall uncovered in 2001, is associated with the Etruscan Hellenistic period (probably Late Phase II). To the north of the wall is a vaguely defined area of flat stones, which may be a part of a paving. Elsewhere in Structure L, a hard yellow clay forms a beaten earth floor with very little artifactual content. 4. Zone II, a unit north of the kiln, Structure K. Excavations focused on uncovering the praefurnia of the kiln in an attempt to understand the work space next to them and to identify as precisely as possible the period of usage of the kiln and its final years. The pottery was a typical Hellenistic assemblage, with a great deal of Cetamura Fabric 3 (=argilla chiara granulosa) and black gloss; only a few sherds of Volterran Presigillata emerged, confirming an earlier hypothesis that the ware may have come to Cetamura right around the time the kiln was closed (ca. 150 B.C.).
    • The following projects continued: 1. Zone I, the well. Excavation arrived at 26.74 meters below datum, to the level of the water table. Excavations were suspended indefinitely due to the need for a water pump and other appropriate equipment. The usual fragments of box flue tile, Roman glass and stones were extracted, along with several vessels broken into numerous pieces. and one sherd of a vessel decorated with wavy lines (Late Antique/Langobard). 2. The Roman baths and other features on the escarpment on the N side of Zone I. A massive amount of earth was removed from the 3 x 6 m unit on the east of a fragmentary wall of the Roman baths. Artifactual material in the Roman horizon continued to support a dating in the period of Augustus. In the lowest stratum just above bedrock was encountered material of the fourth century BC. Here were fragments of tile lying flat, sherds from fine black gloss wares and a number of pieces from a mortarium. There was little or no evidence that this stratum was part of the Roman fill, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. Against the wall on the northeast side of Room 4 of the baths, the packing contained lumps of cocciopesto and fragments of painted plaster, suggesting that this wall and possibly all of Room 4 belonged to a second phase of the baths. Since the finds in the Roman terracing nearby suggest that the fragmentary wall there belongs to the Augustan phase, Room 4 may be hypothetically dated after the Augustan period. A drainage channel was found on the north of the wall, which formed part of the same system as a channel excavated in earlier years directly on the east of Room 4. 3. Zone II, the area south of the Hellenistic cisterns, Structures A and B. A new unit was opened immediately south of the party wall dividing Structures A and B. Two architectural features were immediately evident, a sandstone wall running north-south, evidently an extension of the party wall, and a segment of rough sandstone pavement. The pavement was cleared to reveal a number of loose stones, small to medium in size. The wall, ca. 1.00 m wide, is constructed with large roughly shaped blocks running along each side of the wall and with smaller stones and earth filling in the spaces. The masonry style is identical to that of the diagonal wall excavated in 2002, which forms part of the recently identified Structure L. In the southeast corner of the unit was uncovered a group of stones that form a wall running east-west, perpendicular to the new large wall, but with an estimated width of 0.80 m. The fill in between the north-west wall and these two stone features was a hard yellow clay with very few artifacts within it. The combination of the rough masonry style with the yellow clay fill and low artifact content was observed consistently in Structure L, dating to the Etruscan Late Phase II (150-75 B.C.).
    • The season of 2004 was devoted to study of the finds from the previous three seasons, especially the rich deposit from the “Refuse Pit” located on the scarp in between Zone I and Zone II and to reorganization of the finds deposited in the storage rooms. Jacquelyn Simmons completed a Master’s paper on “Black-gloss Pottery from the Refuse Strata of the Well at Cetamura del Chianti.” (Florida State University). No excavation was carried out.
    • Two research areas were investigated: 1. On the escarpment on the N side of Zone I, excavation of the lowest strata of the easternmost 3x6m unit. Excavation to bedrock was completed. On the north side of the unit, Roman fill was found all the way down to bedrock, as was confirmed by Italian sigillata, a fragmentary Roman lamp and one piece of Roman glass. On the south side appeared an extensive area, ca. 2 x 2.5m, with Etruscan remains of the later fourth century B.C. Of particular interest was a long and deep pit in which was found debris virtually identical to that found in 2002 in the Refuse Pit on the other side of the fragmentary Roman wall. It is highly likely that the two pits are actually part of the same phenomenon. Refuse Pit I was roughly circular, but Refuse Pit II features an elongated cut in the bedrock, ca. 3m long as far as ascertainable, excavated down to ca. 1.00m below the upper level of the bedrock. RP II contained an ensemble dated to the later fourth century BCE, with fine grey and red-brown tableware, local cooking wares and storage vessels, black gloss and overpainted ceramics and bucchero and grey bucchero, as well as a handle of an Etruscan amphora. On the east side of the unit, in between RP II and the Roman fill on the north side, excavations were completed around the short tract of an Etruscan wall discovered in 2002. A locus abutting the wall contained an ensemble identical to that in the two RP’s, including one sherd of overpainted ware of a type datable to 325-300 BCE. The conclusion of the excavations in this area confirms an earlier hypothesis that this wall and one running parallel to it in the adjacent unit date to the late fourth century BCE. 2. In Zone II, Four units in Structure (Building) L, Zone II, continued to reveal evidence of the plan of the building. The walls indicate activity in Etruscan Late Phase I and especially II, with again abundant evidence of the nearly sterile yellow clay beaten earth floor. A post pit was found set against the south wall of Structure B. The rough diagonal foundation wall running NW-SE was traced toward the southeast, running now for a distance of ca. 10.00 m. Running partly perpendicular to this wall is another rugged feature, an irregular tetragonal foundation or pavement to the northeast of the wall. No diagnostic artifacts were found in its packing, but it is hypothesized to belong to Phase II, and to be contemporary with the large diagonal wall. The pottery found in the area is consistent with the hypothesis that the complex belongs to Late Phase II (150-75 BC). The impressive series of walls and the tetragonal platform represent an ambitious building project in the final years of Etruscan culture at Cetamura.
    • Two projects were continued, both in Zone II: 1. In an area north of the kiln, Structure K, excavation revealed very deep deposits in which carbon, yellow clay and brownish soil were mixed in irregular layers and lenses. During the season no diagnostic Roman artifacts were identified and it is assumed that all of the finds belong to the Etruscan Late Phase (Hellenistic). Excavations began at 2.51 meters below datum, and encountered bedrock on the north at 3.02mbd. On the south a depth of 3.50mbd was reached, without finding bedrock. On the east side of the unit a wall was investigated, running parallel to the walls of Structure K in a north-south direction, and probably dating to Late Phase I (ca. 300-150 B.C.). The deposits were extremely rich in ceramics, including refractory brick and tile, Cetamura Fabrics (CF) 1, 2 and especially 3, as well as dolio, black gloss and a few sherds of grey ware, Volterran Presigillata and Etruscan over-painted ware. Several black-gloss sherds with well-preserved palmette stamps were found along with black-gloss sherds with inscriptions: LURS and MI LEIN. These evidently reference the gods worshipped at Cetamura, Lur and Leinth. 2. Five units were opened in the sacred structure now designated as Building L (=Structure L). Near the tetragonal platform excavated in 2005 (now interpreted as an altar) was discovered a sacrificial pit, sunk into the beaten earth floor of fine yellow clay, measuring ca. 1.00x0.90 m, with a depth of ca. 0.30m. Amid a dense packing of brick, tile, stone and carbon emerged more than 30 items, including unpainted ceramics, almost all broken and some burned (storage vessels, a pitcher, a bowl, small jars, miniature cups) and metals, including 10 iron nails. Also found were an iron ring set with an engraved chalcedony stone, and a silvered bronze coin of the type struck at the time of the founding of the Roman colony of Narbo, ca.118 B.C., indicating that the pit dates to Late Phase II (ca. 150-75 B.C.) Elsewhere in Building L, more of the ground plan was revealed, including more of the diagonal wall (now ca. 20 m. in length) and attached on its south side, the foundations of a small chamber, Room 1 (interior ca. 2.85 m x 0.84 m). The eastern arm of the building, which with the diagonal wall creates a trapezoidal plan for the building, began to emerge. These features are all of Late Phase II, but there is evidence of several walls from Phase I being dismantled, while others were reused in Building L. Excavations on the exterior of Building L revealed, on the west side, an episode of extensive dumping of brick and large vessels, both dolio and amphora. Also in 2006, Stephanie Layton completed a master’s thesis on Bucchero Pottery from Cetamura del Chianti, 1978-2003 (Florida State University). Melissa Hargis completed a Master’s thesis, An Ancient Mortarium from Cetamura del Chianti. (Florida State University).
    • All investigations were confined to Zone II. Work continued in the sanctuary (Building L), near the large rock altar found in 2005. Below the sacrificial deposit discovered in 2006 (now known as Votive Feature 1A), were found two more deposits, Votive Feature 1B and Votive Feature 1C. In addition three other votive areas were identified (VF 2, 3 and 4). The overall plan of the sanctuary now appears as a large trapezoid with sides ca. 20 meters long, and with a broad courtyard in the wide end of the trapezoid, oriented toward the southeast. The main altar is located near the center of the sanctuary and VF 1, 2 and 4 are all located on the southeast inside the courtyard. VF 2 is essentially an in-ground hearth altar made up of numerous medium sized stones. New excavations of foundation walls allowed the identification of 3 (possibly 4) new rooms or chapels of the sanctuary on the north side of Building L. Two of these are elongated rectangular rooms side by side. Room 3 has a gap in the foundations suggesting the presence of a doorway, and just outside the doorway appeared VF 3, with an assortment of votive objects. All dating indicators confirm activity in the second half of the second century BCE. Iron nails (now more than 30 in total, along with at least one bronze nail cap) remain the offering of choice, and they have now been found in association with all deposits except 1C as well as outside the focal offering areas. A new example of an inscription type found before at Cetamura was discovered in Building L, a ceramic fragment inscribed with a monogram with the letters A, L and P. (There are now 11 total known from Cetamura). The letter order is uncertain, but one possibility is LAP, which might be the name of the god Lapse, known at only one other Etruscan site, Pyrgi. Fragmentary miniature cups have now been found in 4 of the votive contexts. Another popular form is the small, handleless jar or beaker. In each ceremony the vase was ritually broken, portions were burnt, and part or all of the vessel was buried or left on the sacred surface. On the exterior west flank of the sanctuary, where extensive dumping from the kiln areas was carried out when the sanctuary was remodeled into its present second-century form, were found large, rugged ceramic fragments of storage jars (dolio), as well as Etruscan fired bricks and imported amphoras. In the artisans’ quarter were completed two deep trenches exploring the workers’ area in front of the kiln, Structure K. Bedrock was identified at a depth of 4.58 meters below datum. The “workers’ yard” yielded an enormous amount of evidence for their practices, including heaps of broken pottery gathered around the site and brought there to be ground up and recycled as brick and tile.
    • During the summer of 2008 a study season was conducted. The two principal goals of the work period were to organize previously excavated materials for an exhibition, projected for July, 2009, and to carry out limited excavations in the area of Structure L (Building L), the Etruscan sanctuary of the second century BCE, located in Zone II. The investigation continued of Votive Feature 4, located within the courtyard of Building L and thus evidently open to the sky. The soils in 2007 and 2008 featured extensive carbon remains, evidently the result of acts of burning. The area yielded few artifacts, but two more votive features were found nearby, VF 6 and VF 7. VF 6 featured a complete circular rim of an amphora in 12 pieces broken off just below the rim and turned upside down in the soil, presumably on what was the surface of the courtyard. Adjacent to it were some 30 fragments of local Cetamura Fabric 3, as well as carbon and tile fragments. VF 7, a group of numerous and diverse offerings, was found on the west side of the unit at a similar level. Included were a black-gloss goblet, Morel form 3451a2, datable to 160 ± 50 BCE, sliced vertically and with only half of the vessel deposited, and a cooking pot, probably of local Cetamura Fabric 1, also sliced vertically, and laid on the ground to the north of the black-gloss goblet, filled with cooked chick peas. Around the goblet were found numerous fragments of thin sheets of curved iron, part of a strigil. Scattered about the votive area were rods of iron, lumps of iron, a miniature brick, and a fragment of a miniature cup. Near the hearth-altar (Altar II =VF 2), VF 5 emerged, consisting of tile, carbon, refractory brick and a well-preserved miniature votive cup. Still in the courtyard and south of VF 2 was found a cavity in the ground, excavation of which is not yet complete. Channels in the sterile soil seem to lead to it. The cavity and the channels showed evidence of intentional filling and covering with a dense pebble matrix, extending toward Altar I. A sterile hard-yellow clay beaten earth floor overlies the pebble stratum, indicating that the cavity and channels belong to a phase earlier than the beaten earth floor and the votive features identified in the courtyard of Structure L. Also in 2008, A master’s paper, “A Survey of Graters in Ancient Italy,” was completed by Sarah Johnson, Florida State University.
    • An exhibition, The Sanctuary of the Etruscan Artisans at Cetamura del Chianti, The Legacy of Alvaro Tracchi, Il Santuario degli Artigiani Etruschi a Cetamura del Chianti, L’Eredità di Alvaro Tracchi, was held at the Museo Casa di Masaccio in San Giovanni Valdarno, the home town of Sig. Tracchi, who discovered the site of Cetamura in 1964. The exhibition, on display in June and July, 2009, featured 222 objects and didactic panels on the Etruscan sanctuary and artisans’ zone. The exhibition was a joint project of Florida State University and Studio Art Centers International (SACI) of Florence, in cooperation with the Comune di San Giovanni Valdarno. No excavation was carried out.
    • The following four projects were pursued: 1. Room 1 of Area G on Zone I, excavated in 1982 and 1984, was reopened to study a pit discovered next to its east wall which had contained the antlers of a deer and animal bone. The foundations of Room 1, of medieval date, appear to overlie the pit. 2. Another area, on the scarp in between Zone I and Zone II, was reopened to resume probing the Refuse Pit (segment III) running under the Roman terracing and a fragmentary Roman wall. The matrix of RP III was filled with ash and hundreds of fragments of bone, tooth and antler, as well as 4th-century black gloss, Cetamura Fabrics (especially cookwares), and bucchero, including one base inscribed with a siglum of a cross mark (forma quadrans) with symmetrical markings in the quadrants. 3. On Zone II, work focused on the Etruscan artisans’ quarter. In units east, north and west of the kiln Structure K, strata emerged near the surface with medieval and Roman artifacts—majolica, red gloss, glass, and coins. One unit was so rich in iron slag, nails and other, unidentifiable iron objects that it seems likely that this was an area of iron working; Roman artifacts were the latest datable objects. Excavations were reopened around Structure J, a stone platform that was part of the kiln workshop, and near the southwest corner of Structure H, of which one wall running east-west is under investigation. Its masonry style suggests a date of ca. 300-150 B.C. Finds in the unit included 5 polished stone and/or glass gaming pieces. On the south side of the wall the deposit was consistent with the workers’ yard for the kiln area around Structure J—dense carbon, refractory brick, numerous sherds of pottery, a typical Late Etruscan assemblage of black gloss and Cetamura Fabrics, especially CF 3 (hydrias). Structure J encompasses a feature of stones in a rough circle (diameter ca. 1.00m) that may be a kiln. 4. In Building L, the Etruscan sanctuary of the second century B.C., Room 2 was excavated, a small chamber (ca. 1x3m) oriented north-south with three foundation walls belonging to Late Phase II (150-75 B.C.) and a fourth wall belonging to Phase I but reworked. The yellow clay beaten earth floor was, as usual, nearly sterile. Northeast of Room 2, excavation was begun in Room 5, a chamber with foundation walls measuring nearly the same as those in Rooms 1 and 2. On the southwest exterior of Building L, in one unit bedrock was encountered near the surface, except in an area where a large curving line demarcated a clay deposit, suggesting the presence of a large circular structure with clay packed around it. Further to the west, the lower part of a large dolio began to emerge within an area of dumping, possibly in situ. Numerous artifacts were retrieved from the dump, including fired brick, iron nails, a bronze nail cap, flint, bone and ceramics (black gloss, Cetamura Fabrics 1-4).
    • Five projects were conducted: 1. Excavations in the well on Zone I were resumed, arriving at a depth of 28.65 meters below datum. Excavations by Ichnos: Archeologia, Ambiente e Sperimentazione of Montelupo Fiorentino involved extensive pumping at the level of the water table. Brick and tile were abundant (1287kg =2840lbs.) as well as worked sandstone. Finds included box flue tiles, Roman glass, and Italian sigillata as well as African red slip, along with medieval bread-pan and jars with an incised wavy line (late antique/ Langobard). 2. Near the well there was further investigation of Area G, Room 1, where foundations of a medieval room were uncovered in 1982 and a nearby pit and stone platform were first encountered in 1984. The pit, expanding to a length of ca. 3m. and a depth of ca. 0.60 m, contained carbon, bone, scraps of iron and a bronze ring (earring?), along with pottery datable ca. 350-300 BC. 3. In between Zones I and II excavation was continued with the removal of a single deep locus in segment III of the Refuse Pit under excavation since 2001, revealing in toto a crevice in the bedrock ca. 5.5m long, and as deep as 1.25m. Ceramic finds from RP III exhibited a range of Cetamura Fabrics 1 to 4, bucchero, amphora, black gloss, gray ware, and early Hellenistic fine wares. Deposits of carbon and bone included jawbones of sheep/goat and cow. Diagnostic fragments of black gloss confirm the date for the RP of ca. 350-300 B.C. 4. Six units in the artisans’ zone to the north of the sanctuary were pursued. Immediately east of Structure K, a post pit and a cobbled pavement suggest a work area of the kiln workshop. Still further to the east were found two walls that intersected at right angles, creating a corner of a heavy foundation. Upper strata in this area included Italian sigillata, black gloss and other Late Etruscan wares. West of Structure K investigation continued in the worker’s area; dense carbon, tile and refractory brick were encountered, along with fragments of bone and Late Etruscan pottery. North of this excavations continued with the Late Phase I wall of Structure H. On the northern edge of Zone II a perimeter wall running east-west was uncovered, intersected by a north-south wall, forming a feature that may be the northeast corner of Structure H. In Zone II, Building L, excavation focused on Room 5, a small cell-like room (ca. 3x1m). The beaten earth floor yielded local Cetamura fabrics, black gloss and grey ware of the 3rd-2nd centuries BC. 5. On the southwest exterior of Building L was discovered a cistern or well, Structure M, lined with stone walls in a roughly oval pattern (ca. 1.80 m north-south x ca. 2 m east-west). On the western exterior of Building L, large portions of the base and walls of a great storage jar, Dolio A, were extracted and excavation began on a second specimen, Dolio B, both evidently in situ.

Bibliography

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    • N.T. de Grummond, 1985, Excavations at Cetamura del Chianti, 1983-84, in Archaeological News 14: 29-38.
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