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  • Villa San Silvestro
  • Villa San Silvestro
  •  
  • Italy
  • Umbria
  • Provincia di Perugia
  • Cascia

Credits

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Periods

  • No period data has been added yet

Chronology

  • 300 BC - 100 BC
  • 300 AD - 500 AD
  • 600 AD - 900 AD

Season

    • In the 1920s excavations undertaken below the church of Villa San Silvestro, a mountain hamlet in the municipality of Cascia, brought to light the _podium_ and other elements of a large Roman temple dating to the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. During the 1980s further excavations were carried out by the Superintendency. Research in the area restarted in 2006, under the direction of Filippo Coarelli, which revealed that the temple had two building phases. The first phase was its construction at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., that is soon after the Roman conquest of the Sabina, and the second was a phase of restructuring in monumental form inspired by the architectural models present in Rome in the 1st century B.C. With the aid of a combined analysis of the magnetometer survey and aerial photographs, the campaign of August 2007 uncovered a section of the _forum_ surrounding the temple, the presence of which had been hypothesised in the previous campaign. Therefore, the temple stood to the back of the _forum_ on the short side of a vast rectangular square of circa 120 x 60 m, surrounded by a portico with tile columns. A quarter of the forum’s surface area was uncovered, including a series of rooms which were probably used for commerce, a small apsidal _sacellum_, related to some type of cult, and a hydraulic structure, perhaps a cistern, which faced towards the exterior of the _forum_. The structures which emerged, although still in the study phase, revealed that the _forum_ underwent various building phases, whilst the finds show that the area was in use between the 3rd -1st century B.C. A second century B.C. dedication to the god _Terminus_ was reused in the forum’s western perimeter wall. East of the _forum_ a vast area emerged, delimited by a triple series of porticoes with brick columns and half-pilasters, with a rectangular structure in the centre, probably a temple with a double cella. Evidence showed that this sector was still used in the Lombard period, as attested by a partial reconstruction of the building and the presence of two tombs.
    • The 2008 excavation campaign examined both the portico surrounding the main temple and that of the temple with double cella, investigating both extension and the chronological phases through the digging of deep trenches in areas already looked at by previous research. The main temple area revealed a phase of scattered structures that were probably coeval with the 3rd century B.C. podium and were later monumentalised in the 2nd century B.C. with the creation of what are now identified as public buildings (including the apse wrongly identified in the previous bulletin as a _sacellum_ ) next to the part of the portico opposite the temple. Subsequently the area was completely rebuilt following the earthquake of 99 B.C. mentioned by Julius Obsequens. Further minor restructuring occurred during the 1st century A.D. and the area was then abandoned and systematically robbed. The state of preservation of the portico structures is influenced by the depth to which they were buried. In fact, the standing structures in the north-western and eastern sectors were over one metre high, those in the south-western sector were only preserved at foundation level. The area of the temple with double cella appeared to be constituted by a quadrangular portico with a second row of rooms whose presence is at least certain for the long sides of the portico. Three building phases were also identified here. The first phase, also of 3rd century B.C. date, at present seems only to relate to dwellings obliterated in later centuries. One of the rooms to the east of the portico was identified, thanks to the material found there, as a _sacellum_ dedicated to Victory, whilst the temple with the double cella must have been dedicated to a couple of female divinities. In this area the late antique phase of the site appeared the best preserved, with occupation in the 4th century A.D. and a new settlement datable to the 7th-8th century A.D.
    • The 2009 excavations investigated already known areas of the temple with double cella and also extended the research to the south. The temple stood within a vast rectangular portico, built following the earthquake of 99 B.C. by Julius Obsequens with the aim of regularizing the layout of the structures already present in the area from the 2nd century B.C. onwards. The portico’s south-eastern corner was cut obliquely, perhaps in order to respect the line of an earlier road. The original project foresaw a double row of rooms on the long sides and the southern side, which later underwent slight alterations, without ever having a uniform of plan or extension. Even the sacellum of Victory seems to have been characterized by these two phases. The complex was abandoned during the 1st century A.D. and was subsequently robbed. The site saw two further occupation phases, the latest, between the 6th-7th century circa, was attested this season’s find of another tomb with a multiple burial and traces of hearths and associated materials. The buildings preceding the construction of the portico presented two phases. The first dated to within the 2nd century B.C., with structures seeming to have had the same function as those of the 1st century B.C., at least in part, but with an irregular layout. The second phase, probably dating to the 3rd century B.C., was identified as a complex of domestic buildings. The 2009 campaign partially uncovered a number of these dwellings. Whilst those nearest to the temple were demolished within the 2nd century B.C. to make way for the structures to which the portico was later added, the houses further south seem to have survived, through various phases, until the late 1st century A.D. when they were substituted by buildings of an economic-commercial nature. A deep trench brought to light part of a circular structure in unbaked clay on a lower level than the mid Republican houses. This structure was certainly pre-Roman, although its dating and function will be defined during the next campaign.
    • The sixth excavation campaign at Cittareale partially concentrated on an area not previously investigated, the zone in front of the church of San Silvestro, between the hamlets of Bricca and Collicelle. On the basis of the results of the geophysical survey excavations were undertaken at circa 60m west of the church, covering an area of almost 285 m2. The remains of a wall on an approximately east-west alignment emerged. It was preserved for a maximum length of circa 15 m and to an average height of circa 0.50 m. This constituted the containing wall of a terrace created by slightly cutting into the slight slope of the hill, positioning the low wall directly on the clay, levelling the area south of it and covering it with a thin layer of soil and charcoal (as insulation against humidity from the nearby water-table). The terrace was finished with a compact layer of clay and crushed brick/tile on average 0.20 m thick. The purpose of this structure remains unknown. It could perhaps relate to a second series of activities involving the area both before and after the creation of the platea. These activities were attested by the remains of four small and rudimentary kilns, two of which obliterated by the platea itself, whilst the other two were partially obliterated by the terrace wall. The finds date these activities to the 6th-9th century A.D. Therefore, they were contemporary with the original phase of the church (an inscription recalls its re-consacration in 923 A.D., at the end of the Saracen incursions) and the deposition of the 52 tombs in the nearby locality of Pallottini (investigated in 2005-2006).
    • La campagna di scavo 2011 ha interessato di nuovo l’area alle spalle del tempio principale, dove è stato scavato un forno per la produzione di calce che si addossa al muro di fondo del portico (emerso nel 2010). Il forno è databile ad epoca tardo-antica ed è stato realizzato al di sopra di un alto strato argilloso de posizionale che ha inglobato i materiali edilizi del portico stesso, interpretabile come una frana proveniente dall’altura soprastante. La maggior parte delle operazioni di scavo si sono svolte nell’area del tempio a doppia cella. Qui sono stati scavati gli strati relativi all’insediamento tardo-antico ed alto-medievale, tra cui ulteriori due sepolture databili a quest’ultima fase, che insistono su ambienti produttivi in uso tra IV e V secolo, i quali a loro volta riutilizzano strutture tardo-repubblicane. Tale successione di fasi, con il rimpiego o il danneggiamento delle strutture repubblicane in occasione della rioccupazione tardo-antica prima ed alto-medievale poi, è ormai evidente e ben documentata in tutta l’area dello scavo e senz’altro di notevole interesse. Per quanto riguarda l’età medio e tardo-repubblicana, l’edificio principale dell’area si è rivelato essere una grande abitazione che occupa il settore occidentale dell’area, insistendo al di sopra di abitazioni di coloni precedenti. Di questa si è messa in luce l’intera estensione ed inoltre si è compreso che gli edifici (probabili magazzini o annessi agricoli) emersi sul lato orientale dell’area, ma con lo stesso orientamento, sono da interpretarsi come probabile pars rustica di quella che si delinea ormai come una villa medio-repubblicana. La pars rustica in età tardo-repubblicana fu sostituita da un più elegante portico ad L, presso il lato corto del quale (ossia a N) fu realizzato il tempio a doppia cella. Non molti anni dopo, fu il lato residenziale della villa ad essere demolito per la ricostruzione del portico, con la realizzazione di una vasta piazza porticata sui quatto lati intorno al tempio. Sono proseguite le ricerche nelle semplici abitazioni databili al III secolo a.C., indagate nella parte meridionale dello scavo, mettendone anche in luce il rapporto con il sistema idraulico che caratterizza la via glareata lungo la quale sorgono. L’estremità S dello scavo ha evidenziato il crollo di un’ulteriore struttura porticata, che si era andata nel corso del I secolo a.C. a sovrapporre a tali domus fiancheggiando la via principale. Nell’angolo S-E è stata messa in luce una cava di argilla, realizzata al momento della costruzione delle _domus_, il cui elevato è testimoniato in terra cruda su uno zoccolo di blocchi di calcare rozzamente squadrati. Il riempimento della cava, realizzato al momento del suo abbandono e riempimento per la realizzazione della sovrastante strada, ha restituito una notevole quantità di materiale litico e ceramico di epoca neolitica, rari materiali protostorici e un’ulteriore importante deposito di materiali medio-repubblicani.
    • This campaign concluded the excavations in areas where doubts remained about stratigraphy and chronology, or the size and characteristics of the structures. Eleven trenches were excavated and the area around the excavation was surveyed, as were the overlooking hilltops of la Ritonna and Colle Chiavanello. At the southern edge of the excavation (part. 11A), south of the previously excavated gravel road, the following situations were uncovered: - mid Republican structures, built of roughly shaped blocks, probably with pisé walls (also a “pozzetto” containing materials identified as a votive deposit); - late Republican portico, of which at least three rooms survive below floor level (floor make ups, wall foundations); - late antique occupation of the area (iron working?); this phase led to a substantial deterioration of the earlier structures, especially in the easternmost area; - probable early medieval phase (hearth with associated materials). Slightly further to the north, a trench exposed the structures of a 3rd century B.C. _domus_ underlying channels relating to the 2nd century B.C. _domus_, and the southern side of the 1st century B.C. portico. In the areas west of the temple with the double _cella_ the phases contemporary with, and subsequent to the collapse of the temple and portico were investigated. This revealed a well-preserved stratigraphy running from the late antique to early medieval periods, associated with productive structures. No structures were present in the area uphill from the north back wall of the portico. As regards the two construction phases of the portico and its extension in the eastern sector, it was seen that the first phase did not extend beyond the length of the temple with the double _cella_ and that room E/F was already present in this phase, while other rooms further south along this side of the portico were only added in the second phase. The fill between the first and second phases was excavated. Lastly, evidence of late antique occupation and early medieval hearths was documented. Immediately south of the above, the recording was completed of the structures that preceded the portico. The earliest were on the same alignment as the large _domus_ to the west, and had stone footings and _pisé_ walls. In the following phase, still prior to the building of the portico, which here had a single phase (the second dating to the beginning of the 1st century B.C.). The structures were built in lime mortar and stone. Preceding structures also emerged to the west of the portico’s back wall. In the area of the vast 2nd century B.C. _domus_, underneath the western sector of the portico, the floor make-ups were excavated in order to investigate the preceding phases of the _domus_ itself. The entire area was heavily cut in the late antique and early medieval periods. A last trench, immediately north of the preceding one, west of the portico, revealed the presence of post holes from a late period, and an infant burial datable, like the others, to about the 6th century A.D. The portico floor make-ups were also investigated.

Bibliography

    • F. Diosono (a cura di), 2009, I templi ed il forum di Villa San Silvestro. Catalogo della mostra, Cascia, Museo civico palazzo Santi 6 giugno-1 novembre 2009, Roma.
    • F. Coarelli, 2009, Divus Vespasianus: il bimillenario dei Flavi, Milano.
    • R. Cascino, V. Gasperini, (a cura di) 2009, Falacrinae. Le origini di Vespasiano. Catalogo della mostra, Roma.
    • F. Diosono, 2009, Cascia: i templi ed il forum di Villa San Silvestro. La Sabina dalla conquista romana a Vespasiano, Forma Urbis XIV-7/8: 8-18.
    • F. Coarelli, F. Diosono (eds.), in preparazione, Il territorio di Cascia dalla preistoria all\'età longobarda.
    • F.Diosono, H.Patterson, in preparazione, Some observations on late antique and early medieval pottery in the Central Apenines: the case of Villa San Silvestro di Cascia”, in 4th International Conference on Late Roman Coarse Ware, Cooking Ware and Amphorae in the Mediterranean: Archaeology and Archaeometry (LRCW 4), Thessaloniki 2011.
    • F. Diosono in preparazione, Aedes come rappresentazione del dominio di Roma in territorio italico: gli esempi del santuario di Diana a Nemi e di Villa San Silvestro (Cascia, PG), in Forme e strutture della religione nell’Italia mediana antica, Atti del III Convegno IRDAU (Perugia-Gubbio 2011).
    • F.Diosono, H.Patterson, 2012, L’area sabina tra Spoleto e Rieti dal tardoantico all’altomedioevo: due esempi, in F. Redi, A. Forgione (eds.), Atti del VI Congresso Nazionale di Archeologia Medievale, Firenze 2012: 314-320.
    • F. Diosono, 2010, Pratiche cultuali in relazione a porti fluviali e canali, in M. Serlorenzi, H. Di Giuseppe (eds.), I riti del costruire nelle acque violate. Atti del Convegno Internazionale, Roma 2008, Roma 2010: 91-105.
    • F. Diosono, c.s., Villa San Silvestro, in A. Bravi (a cura di), Aurea Umbria. Cultura visuale e trasformazioni sociali nell’era costantiniana. Catalogo della mostra, Perugia 2012.
    • F. Diosono, c.s., Il posto degli dei: il tempio di Villa San Silvestro di Cascia e la colonizzazione romana del territorio sabino nel III secolo a.C., in Forme e strutture della religione nell’Italia mediana antica, Atti del III Convegno IRDAU (Perugia-Gubbio 2011).