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  • Poggio Civitate
  • Poggio Civitate, Murlo
  •  
  • Italy
  • Tuscany
  • Province of Siena
  • Murlo

Credits

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Monuments

Periods

  • No period data has been added yet

Chronology

  • 800 BC - 550 BC

Season

    • Excavation during the 2008 season focused on two separate areas of Piano del Tesoro on Poggio Civitate. The area immediately south of a structure identified in 1999, OC3/Tripartite, yielded evidence of two circular areas cut into the bedrock shelf upon which the foundations of OC3/Tripartite rest. Given the architectural form of OC3/Tripartite, excavators suspected that they may have preserved evidence of votive activity associated with the adjacent structure. High concentrations of carbon and seeds were recovered from within the cuttings and the floral material is current under study by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Biology. Several meters west of the circular cuttings, excavators revealed the presence of a significant fossa feature, running approximately three meters south of the southern wall of Piano del Tesoro’s Archaic Period Building. This fossa, which was originally excavated to a depth of over three meters, exposed the fissures of bedrock on this portion of the plateau. Resting directly upon the bedrock, excavators recovered a fragmentary element of a lateral sima of the type associated with Poggio Civitate’s Archaic phase, along with numerous other fragments of roofing tiles. However, no material dateable to the site’s Orientalizing phase was recovered from within the fossa. Therefore, we posit the fossa was excavated and exposed while the Archaic Period Building was standing, perhaps to facilitate drainage of water from the area of the building’s southern courtyard. Additional excavation approximately 70m south of the trenches described above revealed an oval midden, filled with a high concentration of debris associated with manufacturing. The midden was slightly irregular in form, but approximately 5.7m in length and 4.2m in width. Several examples of partially cut bone and antler, similar to specimens recovered in the vicinity of OC2/Workshop, were recovered in the fill of the midden, along with numerous examples of bone preserving indications of butchering. Moreover, fragmentary spindle whorls and rocchetti along with hundreds of fragmentary murex shells were found, all indicating a concern with spinning and dyeing thread. While numerous ceramic sherds were recovered within the fill, only a few were chronologically diagnostic. However, these specimens suggest the midden fill dates to around 650 BCE. At the base of the midden and on its southern periphery, excavators recovered traces of a post hole. While the remainder of the midden was not excavated, the presence of the post hole indicates that the recessed area was originally the floor surface of a small hut. Therefore, we posit that the hut was abandoned around 650 BCE and the debris fill of the midden thrown into the resulting concavity sometime shortly thereafter.
    • The2009 and 2010 season at Poggio Civitate saw the continuation of efforts to bring the copious volume of data already collected at the site closer to publication. Rather than continue excavation, efforts were limited to topographic surveys designed to add focus to our understanding of the place of the well-known aristocratic complex of the Piano del Tesoro plateau within a broader context of the site and the immediate region. This survey effort focused almost entirely on the property zone of Poggio Civitate known as Civitate A. Civitate A is a property zone that extends from the western edge of Piano del Tesoro approximately 400 meters to the west and north. It is bordered on its southern side by the medieval road that bisects the ridge of Poggio Civitate. This area has yielded evidence of human occupation of this area over many years of excavation. In 1990, excavators revealed the presence of metal roasting ovens in Civitate A. In addition, excavation in 1996 confirmed the presence of a well dating to the Archaic period to the east of the roasting ovens. Periodic excavation in the vicinity of these features has also yielded trace evidence of materials dating to the Iron Age, although more definitive contextual explanations for all of these data was never revealed. Our walking survey of Civitate revealed additional areas of concentration of ceramic and roof tile. One continuous concentration was noted adjacent a low ridge of natural bedrock running continuously along the approximate northern edge of the property zone. Given the extremely thin covering of topsoil preserved on higher points of Civitate A, we conclude that this assembly of material is likely an effect of erosion. Over many successive years, erosion from deposits containing archaeological material accumulated along this ridge, producing the concentration along Civitate A’s northern border. Archaeologically secure deposits, such as the roasting ovens and the well recovered in earlier years of excavation, were originally constructed in a manner that was countersunk beneath the original soil surface and thus were partially protected from erosional damage. As a result, the 2010 survey of this area appears to confirm that Civitate A was an area of occupation of Poggio Civitate as originally suspected, but any data associated with that activity that was not originally constructed in a manner that would have naturally protected the lower elements of the feature.
    • The 2011 research season at Poggio Civitate consisted of multiple projects focusing on several different areas of the site and its immediate environs. Topographic survey work identified an ancient pathway leading from the Ombrone river to the arx of Poggio Civitate, the first such feature identified at the site that clearly relates to known ancient architectural features. In addition, GPS equipped survey teams also developed a detailed topographic map of Poggio Civitate and its surrounding area. Rescue excavation and documentation of materials from an area near Classical and Hellenistic domestic architecture in the town of Vescovado di Murlo revealed the presence of a somewhat broader settlement in the Colombaio area of the town that previously recognized in the 2006 excavation of the area. This material consisted primarily of roofing material, domestic ceramics as well as fragmentary loom weights. Finally, limited excavation continued on Poggio Civitate itself, focusing on the areas of the hill designated Civitate A and Civitate B. These areas preserve traces of evidence apparently related to the demolition of the Piano del Tesoro plateau in the 6th century BCE, consisting of large deposition pits containing a considerable amount of architectural debris. While most of the materials recovered from within these pits appears to be stylistically similar to the architectural forms associated with Piano del Tesoro’s monumental Archaic Period Building, our current state of knowledge concerning the Civitate A and Civitate B deposition pits cannot as yet definitively associate this new material with that building, leaving open the possibility that additional buildings with a shared decorative program stood elsewhere on Poggio Civitate.
    • The 2012 season of research and excavation on Poggio Civitate focused on the Civitate A and Civitate B zones of the hill. The Civitate B excavation focused on an area immediately south of a medieval road to that traverses the apex of Poggio Civitate. Excavation demonstrated that a natural bedrock terrace was artificially augmented in antiquity, creating a low retaining wall. Beneath this wall, excavation recovered a high volume of worn ceramic and architectural debris associated with Poggio Civitate’s Archiac phase of architectural development. Beneath this layer of debris, excavators revealed a beaten earth floor surface, perforated by two visible post holes. The overall scope of excavation in this area was not broad enough to determine the shape of any structure associated with the post holes, but future work in this area may reveal additional data associated with the ancient use of this zone. Immediately above the medieval road, excavation in the Civitate A area revealed traces of a structure defined by relatively robust stone socle foundations. An extremely high volume of debris associated with metalworking was recovered within the area of these foundation walls, including ferric slags (indicative of copper production), crucible and forno fragments as well as terracotta bellows piping. This body of recovered material suggests that the structure that original stood in this area was likely a foundry of some sort, although additional excavation in this area is also needed in order to clarify the nature of the ancient activity that occurred here.
    • The 2013 season of research and excavation on Poggio Civitate focused on the Civitate A property zone of the site. Excavation revealed the presence of domestic architecture consisting of relatively light walled structures. At least two phases of construction were revealed, the later phase consisting of rectolinear buildings and traces of earlier structures with apparently curvilinear walls – although further excavation is needed to further clarify these curvilinear features. The rectolinear structure revealed in Civitate A preserved a floor surface upon which were recovered a number of examples of ceramics with direct parallels with materials excavated on the site’s Piano del Tesoro plateau immediately to the west. These ceramics indicate that the Civitate A rectolinear structures were probably constructed some time around or during the last quarter of the 7th century BCE. In addition to these dateable ceramics, a wide assemblage of cooking wares, simple utilitarian vessels and other domestic equipment was recovered. Most intriguing of the various materials recovered from the floor and vicinity of this building was a fragment of a ceramic figurine in the form of a stylized human. The function of this figurine in such a domestic space is not entirely clear, but invites comparison to later practices associated with the veneration of Roman household divinities, or _Lares_ . All excavated materials at Poggio Civitate are published within weeks of the close of the excavation season and can be viewed at the following URL: http://poggiocivitate.classics.umass.edu
    • The 2014 excavation season at Poggio Civitate explored areas within the Piano del Tesoro property zone bordering the domestic architecture identified in 2013. Curiously, evidence of non-elite domestic architecture did not extend east of the 2013 area of excavation. Instead, work revealed a large open space with a well situated at its center. Much like the well identified in the Civitate A Property zone and published in 2010, this well appears to have been intentionally closed by a large amount of architectural debris linked to the site’s Archaic phase of development. Several meters north of this well, excavation revealed traces of another monumental structure. Poor weather conditions limited the degree to which this building could be revealed, but excavation to date has revealed two robust parallel walls suggesting an interior span of approximately 5.7 meters. Erosion appears to have taken a heavy toll on the structure, but some surviving examples of ceramics recovered from its floor has strong typological parallels with pottery dating to the mid to late 7th century BCE recovered from contexts immediately east and also on the Piano del Tesoro plateau. All excavated materials associated with the 2014 excavation season at Poggio Civitate are published within weeks of the close of the excavation season and can be viewed at the following URL: http://poggiocivitate.classics.umass.edu.
    • The 2015 field season at Poggio Civitate and Vescovado di Murlo was characterized by a remarkable series of discoveries. Building on efforts initiated in 2013 and 2014, excavation continued in the area between the western settlement identified in 2013 and the western defensive walls of the site’s Archaic phase building. These efforts revealed several new features occupying this position on the hill. Strikingly, excavation uncovered the remains of a new monumental structure. This building, measuring 20.5m in overall length and 7.6m in width was oriented on an east/west axis and consisted of a deep, open porch extending into a front room. The back space is separated from the front porch by short wall elements while the back room appears to be lined with small stones abutting the southern, western and northern walls. Ceramics recovered on and beneath the floor of the structure suggest it served a domestic function and stood between 700 and 675-650 BCE. Given the building’s preserved size as well its evident early date, we tentatively postulate this building was an earlier iteration of the Orientalizing phase elite residence (OC1/Residence) situated several meters to the east and dating to between 675-650/600 BCE. South of this structure, excavated revealed a well clearly dating to the site’s subsequent Archaic phase. Like a well excavated in 1999, this well was intention infilled and closed, although the debris used to seal it consisted mainly of the terracotta sculptures associated with the Archaic phase building’s decorative program. Beneath this dense infill of sculpture, a massive, travertine altar was uncovered. The altar, which was partially damaged in antiquity, appears to have been the first object thrown into the well upon the event of its demolition. In addition to these efforts, excavation was also carried out in Vescovado di Murlo in the town’s Colombaio district. This excavation revealed elements of a structure of impressive scale consisting of a wall employing a drainage feature along its northern face. On the interior, souther face, several examples of ceramics dating to the 4th – 3rd centuries BCE were recovered, suggesting this feature was contemporary with houses and industrial spaces excavated in 2006 immediately to the east.
    • The efforts of the 2016 field season at Poggio Civitate and Vescovado di Murlo were committed to further exploring the architectural features revealed in Vescovado during the previous season of work while also controlling stratigraphic and chronological data related to the Early Phase Orientalizing Complex Building 4 (henceforth EPOC4) structure revealed in 2015 on Poggio Civitate. Upon Poggio Civitate, excavation centered on two areas of EPOC4, the central area of the building’s back room as well as the space immediately within the structure’s open porch. The excavation beneath of EPOC4’s interior chamber clarified the construction process the building’s floor and explained how the builders accounted for the variation in elevation between the building’s northern and southern foundation walls. By infilling the southern portion of the building’s floor, allowing the southern wall to serve both as a foundation and retaining wall, the structure’s builders levelled the floor’s surface with a wedge-shaped deposit added to the void between bedrock upon which the northern wall was constructed and the southern wall. Therefore, we now conclude that materials recovered within this fill are associated with the period of construction of EPOC4. As was tentatively suggested in our 2015 report, we remain convinced that this deposit, consisting of a few intact vessels and a number of shards of hand-made vessels, points to a date around the first quarter of the 7th century for the building’s construction. Excavation in the area of EPOC4’s porch revealed that a grouping of stones within the foundation walls of EPOC4 arranged in a linear fashion and made visible in the previous year’s excavation were in fact the foundation walls of a later structure. Architecturally akin to the non-elite domestic structures revealed in 2013 several meters to the west, we posit that this structure was simply one of several such domiciles constructed in this area during the years of the latter half of the 7th century BCE, most of which have been lost to the erosion characteristic of this portion of the hill. Beneath the floor of EPOC4, excavation revealed traces of considerable burned soil and high volumes of slag. Although the area of excavation was insufficient to reveal any additional traces of architecture, the evidence for activity revealed in this area perhaps explains why EPOC4 was built in its location rather than upon an area with a more even ground line. Excavation in Vescovado di Murlo revealed a continuation of the wall revealed in 2015. This wall runs another several meters to the west before terminating in a short turn to the north. However, the wall is now understood to have been constructed within a significant fossa. The wall is built to the northern side of the fossa, creating a somewhat more level pathway on the wall’s exterior, southern face. We now postulate that the wall served both as a retaining wall for a terrace rising to the north while also very likely serving a defensive purpose as well. To date, nearly all ceramic evidence recovered within the fossa points to a date around the first quarter of the 4th century BCE for the event that resulted in the demolition and burial of both the fossa and its associated wall.
    • Excavation in 2017 at Poggio Civitate and Vescovado di Murlo continued the exploration of features identified in earlier years of excavation. Atop Poggio Civitate, excavators expanded upon an area first revealed in 2012-2013. This portion of Poggio Civitate, called by its modern property zone name of Civitate A, revealed traces of non-elite domestic structures. These small buildings typically consist of narrow stone socles arranged in rectolinear forms. The width of the socles and dearth of terracotta roofing materials suggests these structures did not support terracotta roofs but were instead covered with lighter forms of roofing such as thatch. To the east of Civitate A, excavation continued within the area of a building identified two years earlier. This structure, currently referred to as Early Phase Orientalizing Complex Building 4 (henceforth EPOC4), is a large structure with robust foundation walls and dimensions suggestive of the use of terracotta roofing tiles. This fact encouraged excavators to continue the examination of the floor of EPOC4’s eastern porch in an attempt to better determine the date of the building’s construction and ultimate abandonment. While conclusions remain tentative and awit additional excavation and study, at present we believe EPOC was constructed in the final years of the 8th or early years of the 7th century BCE and dismantled at some point within the second quarter of the 7th century BCE. Excavation in Vescovado di Murlo returned to a space originally identified in 2015. The 2017 excavation focused on the eastern extend of a massive wall and defensive moat present on a terrace in the Colombaio district of the town. The remains recovered confirmed previous conclusions that the feature was originally associated with a terrace or platform located to the immediate north and was likely destroyed at some point before the middle of the 4th century BCE.
    • The 2018 Field Season at Poggio Civitate sought to clarify several critical details concerning the early phase of monumental architecture revealed over the past several seasons of excavation. Efforts continued within the confines of a structure now called Early Phase Orientalizing Complex Building 4 (abbreviated EPOC4). This work yielded additional ceramic evidence supporting earlier hypothesis that the structure was constructed and occupied within the first half of the 7t century BCE. Moreover, recovery of numerous specimens of carbonized wheat grains and grape pips from the structure’s floor appear to confirm that other forms of domestic activity associated with food production occurred within this space. Elsewhere on Poggio Civitate, excavation sought to clarify indications of architectural remains located approximately 75m west of EPOC4. This building, tentatively called Early Phase Orientalizing Complex Building 5 (abbreviated EPOC5), preserves only a few examples of evenly spaced column pads of a form similar to those employed in Orientalizing Complex Building 2/Workshop. While excavation failed to reveal additional examples of EPOC5’s column bases, topographical data recovered reflects the building’s east/west orientation. As yet, no data recovered can be confidently employed to date EPOC5, although the current opinion of the excavators is that this structure anticipates the construction of Orientalizing Complex Building 2/Workshop and perhaps served a similar industrial function.

Bibliography

    • A. Tuck & R. Wallace 2017. "Inscriptions on Locally Produced Ceramic Recovered from Poggio Civitate (Murlo): Literacy and Community." With Wallace, R. In Petra Amman (ed.), Etruskische Sozialgeschichte Revisited, 8–10 Juni 2016. 2. Internationale Tagung der Sektion "Wien-Österreich" des Istituto Nazionale di Studi Etruschi ed Italici. Wien, Austria, June 8–10, 2016.
    • A. Tuck 2017. “The Evolution and Political Use of Elite Domestic Space at Poggio Civitate,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 30. Forthcoming.
    • A. Tuck 2017. “2016 Excavations at Poggio Civitate & Vescovado di Murlo.” Etruscan Studies 20. With Kansa, S. Kriendler, K. & O’Donoghue, E. 35-57.
    • A. Tuck 2017. “2016 Excavations at Poggio Civitate & Vescovado di Murlo.” Etruscan Studies 20. With Kansa, S. Kriendler, K. & O’Donoghue, E. 35-57.
    • A. Tuck, R. Wallace, 2018, "An Umbrian Inscription at Poggio Civitate (Murlo)." Glotta 94, 273–282
    • A. Tuck, S. Kansa, S. Gauld, c.d.s., “Perinatal Human Remains from Poggio Civitate (Murlo): A Preliminary Presentation.” Etruscan Studies 21.
    • A. Tuck, R. Wallace, c.d.s., “A third inscribed kyathos fragment from Poggio Civitate,” Römische Mitteilungen.
    • A. Tuck, 2018, “Recent Discoveries at Poggio Civitate (Murlo). Atti del XXIII Convegno Internazionale di Studi sulla Storia e l’Archeologia dell’Etruria. G. Della Fina, ed. 497-510.
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    • A. Tuck, 2005, A Woven Basket Impression from Poggio Civitate\'s OC2/Workshop,” PCEA. http://poggiocivitate.classics.umass.edu/publications/pubviewbody.asp?pid=21.
    • A. Tuck, 2006, The Social and Political Context of the 7th Century Architectural Terracottas from Poggio Civitate (Murlo), in I. Edlund-Berry, J.F. Kenfield, G. Greco (eds), Deliciae Fictiles III: Architectural Terracottas in Ancient Italy: New Discoveries and Interpretations (Proceedings of the International Conference held at the American Academy in Rome, November 7-8, 2002), Oxford: 130-135.
    • E. Nielsen, A. Tuck, 2001, An Orientalizing Period Complex at Poggio Civitate (Murlo): A Preliminary View, in Etruscan Studies 8: 35-64.
    • A. Tuck, R. Wallace, 2011, The Social Context of Proto-Literacy in Central Italy: The Case Study of Poggio Civitate, in Accordia Research Papers. forthcoming.
    • A. Tuck, R. Wallace, 2011, Letters and Symbols on Roof Materials from Poggio Civitate, in Studi Etruschi. Forthcoming
    • A. Tuck, R. Wallace, 2010, An Inscribed Rochetto from Poggio Civitate (Murlo), with Rex Wallace, Studi Etruschi LXXIII: 193-198.
    • A. Tuck, J. Brunk, T. Huntsman, H. Tallman, 2010, An Archaic Period Well from Poggio Civitate: Thoughts on the Final Destruction of the Site, in Etruscan Studies 13: 93-104.
    • A. Tuck, 2009, Burials from Poggio Aguzzo: The Necropolis of Poggio Civitate (Murlo), Rome.
    • A. Tuck, 2009, Center and Periphery in Inland Etruria: Poggio Civitate and the Etruscan Settlement in Vescovado di Murlo, with Jason Bauer, Kate Kreindler, Teresa Huntsman, Steven Miller, Susanna Pancaldo and Christina Powell, in Etruscan Studies 12: 215-237.
    • A. Tuck, S. Kansa, S. Gauld, forthcoming, “Perinatal Human Remains from Industrial Debris at Poggio Civitate (Murlo)".
    • A. Tuck, T. Huntsman, K. Kriendler, 2013, “Excavations at Poggio Civitate (Murlo) During the 2012-2013 Seasons: Domestic Architecture and Selected Finds from the Civitate A Property Zone,” Etruscan Studies 16(2): 287-306.
    • A. Tuck, R. Wallace, 2013. First Words: The Archaeology of Language at Poggio Civitate. Amherst.
    • S. Kansa, M. MacKinnon, “Etruscan Economics: Fourty-Five Years of Faunal Remains from Poggio Civitate,” Etruscan Studies 17(1): 63-87.
    • Tuck, A. 2015. “2014 Excavations at Poggio Civitate,” Etruscan Studies 18.1.
    • Tuck, A., 2014. “Manufacturing at Poggio Civitate: Elite Consumption and Social Organization in the Etruscan 7th Century,” Etruscan Studies 17.2: 13-39.
    • Tuck, A. Kreindler, K. Huntsman, T. 2013. “Excavations at Poggio Civitate (Murlo) During the 2012-2013 Seasons: Domestic Architecture and Selected Finds from the Civitate A Property Zone,” Etruscan Studies 16.2: 287-306.
    • A. Tuck, 2016, “2015 Excavations at Poggio Civitate and Vescovado di Murlo (Provincia di Siena),” Etruscan Studies 19(1). With Ann Glennie, Kate Kreindler, Eoin O’Donoghue & Cara Polisini. 87-148.
    • A. Tuck, 2016. “The Three Phases of Elite Domestic Space at Poggio Civitate,” Annali della Fondazione per il Museo "Claudio Faina.” Forthcoming.
    • A. Tuck, 2016, “Scavi a Poggio Civitate e Vescovado di Murlo,” Notiziario della Soprintendenza Archeologia della Toscana. Forthcoming.