• Poggio Colla
  • Vicchio di Mugello
  • Italy
  • Tuscany
  • Florence
  • Vicchio


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 800 BC - 178 BC


    • Work concentrated on the Podere Funghi in a field north-east of Poggio Colla and on the slope to the north-west below the acropolis. The first trenches in the Podere Funghi brought to light small vases and bowls made in well refined yellow clay. The presence of several wasters suggests that the deposit may have been the dump from a nearby pottery workshop. Subsequent excavations revealed a structure datable to the 3rd century B.C., with a rectangular main room with a circular hearth towards the southern side around which cooking vessels were found. The exact dimensions of this room are still to be determined as the north wall has not survived. However, the fact that it was certainly larger than the preserved dimensions is attested by a drainage channel, at least 3 m long, north of the present edge of the room. The area to the west may have been a portico. Towards the east, traces of an earlier construction suggest the presence of another room or portico, where the remains of at least 4 pottery kilns were found (one of which below the foundations of the building’s south wall), used to produce the vessels found in the deposit. The archeo-magnetic dating of the kilns confirmed the 4th or 3rd century B.C. date. The Podere Funghi began to be used for pottery production, perhaps due to its proximity to water and the clay source. Later, a large structure with well-built foundations took the place of the production area and was subsequently destroyed at the same time as the acropolis. The acropolis on Poggio Colla was a fortified rectangle on a north-south alignment with several monumental phases. The walls were partially excavated in the early 90’s. Traces of these structures had already been found by Nicosia, including blocks with mouldings, probably part of a _podium_. Later finds of other bases relating to a temple, whose foundations were surrounded by carbonised black earth rich in late Orientalising-early archaic bucchero, dates the site’s first phase to the second half of the 7th century B.C. The bucchero finds, with unusual vessel types, attests that the site was flourishing in the 7th century B.C. As the temple dates to around 500 B.C. and the earliest pottery dates to at least a century earlier, it is not possible place the two contexts in relation to each other. The acropolis underwent a radical transformation in phase two. The orientation changed and followed the natural sides of the plateau. The religious nature of the original complex continued in the successive phases, as attested by votive contexts found between an altar, situated on the long axis of the courtyard, and the latter’s western part. The first of these contexts was a hoard of over 300 bronzes, pottery fragments, _aes rude_ weights, finished artefacts and coins. The votive nature of the area west of the altar was confirmed by the discovery of a large natural cleft, which following the destruction of the phase one structures, was partly closed by a large sandstone block with moulding from the temple. A gold ring and long gold threads were also placed in the cleft. This was a ritual deposit that should be placed in relation to the sacred nature, perhaps chthonic, of the natural cut. The phase three building was the largest and incorporated the phase two structures. The courtyard had rooms on at least three sides, where cereals were stored and textiles and pottery produced; those to the west housed large _pithoi_. This suggests that the sanctuary had its own fluorit from the 7th-5th century B.C., and that in a subsequent period (5th-4th century) the temple was destroyed and incorporated into the succeeding structures. New evidence of this ritual destruction emerged in 2006 with the discovery of a deposit containing an element of a sandstone altar, two sandstone statue bases and bronze and gold ex-voto.
    • The Mugello Valley Archaeological Project, directed by Prof. Gregory Warden (SMU) and Prof. Michael Thomas (U. of Texas), continued to focus on the fortified acropolis-sanctuary of the Etruscan site of Poggio Colla, twenty-two miles northeast of Florence. Our goal was to elucidate the monumental complexes of the 6th through the 2nd centuries BCE. On the southern flank of the fortified arx we continued to uncover terracing walls, buttresses, and yet another (our sixth) sandstone Tuscan column base. As in 2008, excavation on the western part acropolis continued to define the multiple phases of construction of the area west of the Phase II-IV courtyards, providing further evidence for at least four phases of monumental architecture. The western part of the acropolis also continues to provide evidence for ritual activity: the most significant find was a deposit at the northwest corner of the Phase II complex that included bronze and animal bones. The finds await conservation, but preliminary indications are that it was a foundation deposit. This season also produced dramatic evidence for the economic function of Etruscan sanctuaries: a storage area with well preserved pithoi, work areas, and loom weights. An English team of archaeologists, directed by Prof. Phil Perkins (Open University, UK) and working under the umbrella of the MVAP permit, continued to excavate the North-West Slope. They found an Orientalizing (7th c. BCE) quarry with unfinished, partially quarried blocks that were probably intended for the earliest phase of monumental construction on the arx. Nearby were large fire pits that may have served as kilns, again dating to the 7th c. BCE. Ceramic evidence from this area suggests that there was activity here earlier than previously thought, as early as the 8th century BCE (Villanovan Period).
    • During the 2012 season, the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project focused on the Etruscan site of Poggio Colla, 35 kilometers northeast of Florence. The goal is the continued study of the sanctuary that occupied the plateau of Poggio Colla from the 8th through the 2nd centuries BCE. Excavation continued on the slope north west of the acropolis, where evidence of Etruscan quarrying has been documented. The study of this area, directed by Prof. Phil Perkins (Open University, UK) and working under the umbrella of the MVAP permit, continued its focus on an Orientalizing (7th c. BCE) quarry. Ceramic evidence from this area suggests that there was some activity here as early as the 8th century BCE. Work also contininued on the acropolis in three areas that seemed likely to clarify the complex history of construction of the sanctuary. One result is the documentation of several rooms on the west side of the acropolis that housed pithoi for the storage of grain. The pithoi date to the site’s latest phase. At lower levels there is additional evidence for the site’s earliest monumental phase, a phase that has remained elusive parts of the foundations seem to have been robbed out and re-used for later buildings. For the first time, a section of a Phase I foundation has been discovered on the south side of the acropolis. Work by Dr. Katy Rask (Ohio State University) centers on the study of the foundations of a sizeable altar in the center of the acropolis courtyard. Dr. Rask has carefully documented evidence of possibly ritual in the area of the altar. She will present her findings at the AIA annual meetings in early January 2013. Project co-director Michael Thomas recently (2012) published the deposit of one hundred victoriati discovered on the acropolis in 2001; this article includes considerations of the chronology and destruction of Poggio Colla.
    • A five week excavation season focused on exploring the extent of the archaeological remains on the North West slope of the hill. Previous work in this area (1999-9, 2008-10, 1012) had concentrated at a single location and recovered remains of Orientalizing Period stone quarrying, later (probably Archaic) ceramic kilns, evidence for textile working, craft activity and possibly disturbed remains of Orientalizing tombs. The aim of the 2013 season was to explore some outcrops of rock, identified in 2012 that showed signs of being worked and to establish the limits of the Etruscan occupation on the hill slope by trial trenching and geophysical survey (magnetometry and ground penetrating radar). Ten trenches (NW6-16) were excavated across an area of hill slope c.150 x 50m to assess and sample the archaeological remains. NW6 was positioned to explore a series of orthogonal cuts in the natural bedrock. Ten metres down the slope to the North a 3.5x3.5m trench, NW7, was positioned to include a larger outcrop of bedrock the Western side of which was cut straight. On the opposite side of NW6 a small trench NW16 was excavated 20m up slope to the South in an attempt to ascertain the origin of the abraded finds that had washed down into trench NW6. The 2.5x2.5m trench was positioned against a large outcrop of bedrock. A further 20m uphill to the South, a 6x4m trench NW8 was located on the top of a large mound on a terrace of the hill slope beneath the arx, to test the hypothesis that it might be a tumulus. Some 75m to the west a 5x5m trench (NW9) was located to investigate orthogonal cuts in the bedrock around a hollow, similar to those observed in NW6 A further 10m to the East, on the same terrace, a third trench (NW14 ) was more productive. This 3x2m trench revealed a wall running Southwest-Northeast constructed of large roughly shaped limestone boulders with smaller stones in-filling the gaps between the boulders. The last boulder in the Southwest corner of the trench may be a corner block, and if so, the return of the wall would be in alignment with boulders in trench NW12 and the large outcrop of rock in NW11. This evidence suggests there may have been stone structure in this area but without a tiled roof. The relatively early date of the ceramics suggests that this could be the earliest stone structure yet found on Poggio Colla. Some 150m to the East, at the location of the earlier excavations two small trenches were excavated to the north and the East of trench PC18 in the area of the hill slope where the archaeological strata were being eroded from the hill slope along the edge of the access track. Only small areas of archaeological deposits were found beneath the hill wash containing small quantities of Etruscan ceramics.
    • The primary goal of the 2014 season was to concentrate research on the early history of the site. We revisited several areas of the site where we had excavated previously. The research design behind re-opening PC 27 and 28 focused on the need to study the architecture and shed light on the early phases of the site. Excavations further defined a foundation wall that belongs to the first monumental phase of architecture at the site. Running almost due north-south, it contains well-quarried ashlar blocks. There is a possibility that these blocks constitute one section of the early temple wall, however, further excavation will be required in order to test this theory. Trench PC 21 is on the southeastern side of the Poggio Colla hilltop was originally excavated in 2000. This 7.5m x 2.5m trench soon found bedrock some 30 cm below the surface. Although not deep, the earlier excavation did find various features cut into the natural bedrock. These were interpreted as post holes, forming part of a wooden structure, perhaps an elliptical hut with a large central post hole and, to the east, four smaller holes forming an arc – perhaps the wall of a hut. The goal of re-opening and expansion of this area in 2014 was to test the hypothesis that this area was indeed the site of an early hut. The results of the 2014 campaign are suggestive but not conclusive. A total of 9 features seem to be post holes—all carved out of bedrock. The arc shape continued into the extension of PC 21 to the north and does bear similarity in shape to an early hut. The results are not conclusive because of a lack of datable material culture associated with the structure. Although and Orientalizing bucchero fragment was discovered in 2000, the 2014 campaign found no evidence that would secure such an early date. Excavation continued in 2014 to further elucidate the nature of the activities associated with this altar. Complicating the analysis of this area is the shallow stratigraphy and the apparent erosion at this south end of the site, which may have erased much of the material culture associated with any early phases. For the third time, we’ve returned to PC 45, a trench first opened in 2011. The primary goal of the trench from the beginning was to document the depositional history across the courtyard. The highlight of the trench was the discovery in 2011 of a large altar foundation, a continuation of the altar found in PC 23 in 2001. To the north of the altar, excavation uncovered a wall course of unworked stones that connects to a structure previously discovered in PC 23.
    • The primary goal of the 2015 season was to continue research on the early history of the site. The re-opening of PC 49 (the combination of PC 27, 28 and 34) focused on the need to study the architecture and shed light on the early phases of the site, specifically the first phase of a late Archaic temple. Results of the past few years of excavation were presented at the 2016 AIA annual meetings . Excavation has recovered a remarkable buried ritual context sitting on the floor of the cella, seemingly put to rest after the destruction of that building. Most of this deposit was originally excavated in 2005 and 2006 and published by Greg Warden. Included were a circular sandstone cylinder, which Warden argued was either the capital of a column or a small altar. To the north of the cylinder were two sandstone statue bases, the larger of which was inscribed. These were joined by several fragments of bronze, intertwined gold wire, and two bronze bowls and animal remains. Excavation in 2014 produced two bronze statuettes which probably belong to the same context. These two Archaic female figures found were presented at last year’s annual meetings of the AIA by Ann Steiner and Gretchen Meyers. Another bronze female figure as well as a male kouros discovered during excavations in July of 2015 may have belonged to the ritual activity associated with the temple. Excavations here have detailed what we now believe is part of the cella wall of Temple A, a peripteral or semi peripteral temple with stone functions, molded blocks, and column bases dating to the end of the 6th or beginning of the 5th C BCE. More evidence of the early phases of the site came from trench PC 48, the combination of earlier trenches PC 2,8,14 and 36. Most notable was the discovery of an inscribed stele reutilized as part of the foundations of the aforementioned Temple A. With help from the conservation laboratory of the Florence Archaeological Museum, the stele was removed and sent to the museum for conservation and study. Initial examination of the stele by Rex Wallace found 46 confirmed letters and punctuation marks. An additional 24 unreadable letters as well as another 7 marks that may have been letters would raise the total to 77. A smaller 5 by 5 meter trench on the southern flank of the terrace, PC 50, represented the only newly opened area of excavation of the 2015 season. A new section of wall was discovered along with notable material culture dating to the Hellenistic phases.


    • L. Fedeli, G. Warden, 2005, Vicchio (FI). Recenti scavi a Poggio Colla, in Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana 1: 366-369.
    • P.G. Warden, 2009, Remains of the Ritual at Poggio Colla, in M. Gleba and H. Becker (eds), Votives, Places, Rituals in Etruscan Religion. Studies in Honour of Jean MacIntosh Turfa. Religion in the Graeco-Roman World (RGRW), Leiden: 121-127.
    • P.G. Warden and M.L. Thomas forthcoming, Evidenza di culto e problemi di continuità culturale al sito Etrusco di Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello), in G. Bartoloni (ed.), Piana Fiorentina, Valdarno e aree limitrofe. Studi recenti e nuovi dati dalla ricerca archeologica.
    • P.G. Warden, 2007, Vicchio (FI). Poggio Colla. Campagna di scavo 2006, in Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana. Firenze, Soprintendenza Archeologica Toscana: 38-40.
    • L. Fedeli and P.G. Warden, 2006, Recenti scavi a Poggio Colla (Vicchio), in Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana. Firenze, Soprintendenza Archeologica Toscana: 334-337.
    • P.G. Warden, M.L. Thomas, A. Steiner, and G. Meyers, 2005, The Etruscan Settlement of Poggio Colla (1998-2004 excavations), in Journal of Roman Archaeology 18: 252-266.
    • P.G. Warden and M.L. Thomas, 2002-2003, Sanctuary and settlement: archaeological work at Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello), in Etruscan Studies 9-10: 97-108.
    • M.L. Thomas, 2000, An Imitative Unsealed Semis from Northern Etruria, in American Journal of Numismatics 12: 113-118.
    • M.L. Thomas, 2001, Excavations at Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello): A Report of the 2000-2002 Seasons, in Etruscan Studies 8: 119-130.
    • P.G. Warden and M.L. Thomas, 2000, Excavations at Poggio Colla: the 1999 Season, in Etruscan Studies 7: 133-143.
    • M.L. Thomas, 2000, The Technology of Daily Life in a Hellenistic Etruscan Settlement, in Etruscan Studies 7: 107-108.
    • P.G. Warden, M.L. Thomas and J. Galloway, 1999, Excavations at the Etruscan Settlement of Poggio Colla: The 1995-1998 Seasons, in Journal of Roman Archaeology 12: 231-246.
    • P.G. Warden and M.L. Thomas, 1999, Excavations at Poggio Colla: The 1998 Season, in Etruscan Studies 6: 111-22.
    • P.G. Warden, 1998, Excavations at the Etruscan Site of Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello). The 1998 Season. Philadelphia.
    • S. Kane, P.G. Warden and N. Griffiths, 1998, A Bronze Head of a Youth from Poggio Colla (Vicchio), Tuscany, in Etruscan Studies 5: 63-68.
    • P.G. Warden and S. Kane, 1997, Excavations at Poggio Colla (Vicchio) 1995-1996, in Etruscan Studies 4: 159-186.
    • P.G. Warden, 1997, Southern Methodist University Excavations at the Etruscan Site of Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello). The 1997 Season. Dallas and Philadelphia.
    • P.G. Warden, S. Kane, K. Vellucci, and D. White, 1996, Southern Methodist University Excavations at the Etruscan Site of Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello). The 1996 Season. Dallas and Philadelphia.
    • P.G. Warden, 1995, Southern Methodist University Excavations in Tuscany, 1995. A Preliminary Report for Friends and Supporters. Dallas.
    • P.G. Warden, 12, Monumental Embodiment: Somatic Symbolism and the Tuscan Temple. Monumentality in Etruscan and Early Roman Architecture: Ideology and Innovation. Festschrift in Honor of Ingrid Edlund Berry, edited by M.L. Thomas and G. Meyers.
    • M.L. Thomas, 2012, One Hundred Victoriati from the Sanctuary at Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello): Ritual Contexts and Roman Expansion, Etruscan Studies 15 (1): 19–93.
    • P.G. Warden 2010, The Temple is a Living Thing: Fragmentation, Enchainment, and the Reversal of Ritual at the Acropolis Sanctuary of Poggio Colla, in The Archaeology of Sanctuaries and Ritual in Etruria, edited by Nancy de Grummond, chapter 4: pp. 55-67. Supplementary volume to the Journal of Roman Archaeology.
    • G. Meyers, L.M. Jackson, and J. Galloway, 2010, The Production and Usage of non-decorated Etruscan roof-tiles, based on a case study from Poggio Colla, in Journal of Roman Archaeology 23: 303-319.
    • I. Van der Graaff, R, Vander Poppen, T. Nales, 2010, The advantages and limitations of coring survey: An initial assessment of the Poggio Colla Coring Project, in TRAC 2009: Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, edited by Alison Moore, Geoff Taylor, Emily Harris, Peter Girdwood and Lucy Shipley.
    • P.G. Warden 2009, Vicchio (FI). Recenti scavi (2008) a Poggio Colla, in Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana 4 : 402-405.
    • A. Castor, 2009, An Early Hellenistic Jewelry Hoard from Poggio Colla, in Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 54: 245-262.
    • P.G. Warden, 2012,“Giving the Gods their Due: Ritual Evidence from Poggio Colla.” With an appendix by Angela Trentacoste. In Francesco Nicosia. L’archeologo e il soprintendente. Scritti in memoria. Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, Supplemento 1 al n. 8/12, 249-257. Firenze: Soprintendenza Archeologica Toscana.
    • G. E.Meyers, 2013, Women and the Production of Ceremonial Textiles: A Reevaluation of Ceramic Textile Tools in Etrusco-Italic Sanctuaries, AJA 117 (2): 247-274.
    • I. Weaver,G. E. Meyers, S. A. Mertzman, R. Sternberg and J. Didaleusky. 2012, Geochemical Evidence for Integrated Ceramic and Roof Tile Industries at the Etruscan Site of Poggio Colla, Italy, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 13.1.
    • P. Perkins, 2012, The Bucchero Childbirth Stamp on a Late Orientalizing Period Shard from Poggio Colla, Etruscan Studies 15 (2): 146-201.
    • M.L. Thomas, 2012, One Hundred Victoriati from the Sanctuary at Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello): Ritual Contexts and Roman Expansion, Etruscan Studies 15(1): 19–93.
    • M.L. Thomas,2016, “New Evidence for the Early Phases of the Temple at Poggio Colla (Vicchio di Mugello), paper delivered at AIA Annual Meetings, San Francisco, January 7.