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  • Coriglia
  • Monterubiaglio
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    Chronology

    • 600 BC - 400 AD

    Season

      • In 2006 excavations began on the Etrusco-Roman settlement of Coriglia, undertaken by Saint Anselm College (NH) in collaboration with the municipality of Castel Viscardo. The investigations brought to light a series of structures situated on a terrace overlooking the valley of the river Paglia, a tributary of the Tiber, beside the via Traiana Nova. One of the trenches produced evidence of both the Etruscan phase, with 6th century B.C. tufa structures and grey bucchero, and the late Roman period in the form of an imposing wall belonging to a substructure on an east-west alignment. Further north another wall was exposed belonging to a part of a building overlooking the valley. This was divided into three parts, with channels and bath structures. Use of this building began in the Republican period and ended in the second half of the 3rd century A.D., as attested by coins of Gallienus (253-268) and Claudius the Goth (270). A trench opened in the 1990s (SAU) revealed a section of a wall crossing the excavation area on an east-west alignment. Immediately south of the wall, on the same level, there was a cobbled surface with stones of considerable size, separated from the wall by a layer of reddish earth which in the 1990s produced Hellenistic material. In 2009 a new trench was opened to the south. This exposed part of a tank, its facing of small slabs showing lime concretions (XRF analysis confirmed the presence of iron, lime and potassium) indicating contact with water. The excavation data and archeometric technologies (XRF and Raman) indicated more specifically that this water was sulphureous. This was a monumental complex of Roman date, with spectacular terraced architecture, linked to the exploitation of thermal waters. It was built on top of pre-existing Etruscan structures which at the moment are of an unknown nature.
      • The fifth excavation campaign on the site of Coriglia (Saint Anselm College NH, USA with the municipality of Castel Viscardo and the Archaeological Superintendency of Umbria) took place in May and June. The campaign aimed to investigate particular sectors in order to resolve questions relating to the use of a number of structures which emerged in previous years, and to the site’s general topography. The 2010 excavation saw the extension of two areas (F and A), continuation of work in C and the opening of a new trench in G with the aim of defining the development of a wall in an unexplored zone. The extension to the north of area F was of great interest as it exposed the entire perimeter of the tank partially exposed in 2009. This quadrangular structure (3.40 x 6 m) had an opus signinum floor and quarter- round molding at the base of the wall. The uniformity of the material in the tank’s fill (numerous fragments of opus doliare, architectural terracottas, amphorae, as well as marble crustae and millstone fragments) suggest that the tank was intentionally filled in antiquity. The presence of ARS and a coin of Gordian III (243-244 A.D,) date the fill to around the mid 3rd century B.C. The use of archaeometric instruments (XRF – Raman) on the concretions revealed the presence of chemical elements such as calcium, sodium, potassium and sulphur in quantities similar to those in the sulphureous waters of Monterubiaglio. Trench A, extended to the south by about 4 x 5 m, came into contact with the water-table. Here a 10 m length of wall (yellowish mortar and cobbles) on a north-east/south-west alignment was uncovered. It crossed the excavation area on a diagonal as far as one of the previously identified terracing walls. A via glareata with a road bed made up of small, well-packed cobbles bedded in compact earth may be of late Roman date. On a north-east/south-west alignment (cf. above) it was three metres wide and bordered by larger stones. In trench C investigations aimed to define the building techniques used for the bath structures. In the inner part of the exedra, excavated in previous campaigns, a water pipe came to light (a lead fistula with hammered edges) which headed towards a quadrangular structure interpreted as a fountain. In the northern strip of the area the stratigraphy indicated the continuation of the structures in that direction (sections of wall, drains). Trench G, 4 x 4m, documented the continuation of the containing/enclosure wall towards the west. The east-west arm crossed trenches A, B and E where it turned at 90° towards trench C. The find of a coin attributed to Pope Clement VIII (datable to around 1600) provided further information regarding the occupation of Coriglia.
      • The 2011 excavation campaign concentrated on four trenches, one begun this year. The beginning and ending dates of the bath complex were established in trench C, the largest and northernmost in the site. The first layout can be dated to the Republican period thanks to the architectural terracottas of the second-first cent. BC, the analysis of the walls on which the subsequent building was set and the cocciopesto floor, frequently restored and raised. The wall frescoes, stuccoes and a few Campana plaques decorated with egg and dart and Dionysian subjects date to the following period (first cent. AD). The oldest terracottas were recycled as bricks, an important chronological element. The kiln identified in C, probably for the production of bricks, was dated with Africana red-gloss ware and belongs to a more recent phase. The kiln is a square structure with walls consisting of superimposed tiles, and with the central support in refractory clay at the center. The exterior wall on the north may have been washed away downhill due to the morphology of the site. In the eastern enlargement the structures of Roman period rest on a north/south alignment of medium-large limestone blocks, in dry masonry. They were covered by extremely compact layers of earth dated thanks to the black gloss, in other words referring to the use of the site in Hellenistic times. In order to investigate a new area, a new trench (H, 4X5 m) was opened east of trench C. As a result particularly interesting structures in situ were documented: the ridge of a wall more than 90 cm thick, oriented east/west, razed up to the foundation levels on a bank of natural clay, probably another terrace wall of the Roman complex, similar to the wall in trenches A, B, E, G (see preceding campaigns). Immediately north of this wall is a parallel alignment, built of medium-large river stones and a tufa ashlar: a pre-existing dry masonry structure of Etruscan period. In correspondence to the ashlar a semicircular pit with small stones wedged along the edge was noted. Inside a small “pasta grigia” jar with a flaring edge, flat bottom and “tenons perforés” handles, datable to between the end of the fourth and the early third cent. BC, in agreement with the Hellenistic phase of the site. In trench B a deep excavation was dug at the base of the channel on the north side of the terrace wall in opus caementicium: the most recent material is a black gloss bottom with petites éstampilles. The last trench investigated in the 2011 campaign was F, where the perimeter walls of the main basin were identified. It seemed to be flanked, downhill, by another large basin (connected to the first by lead and terracotta pipes previously identified) and by two small basins, poorly preserved: a sort of monumentalization of the water complex. The excavation campaign ended in this sector with the documentation of the layer of collapsed material inside the large basin, which seems to be datable to the chronological period of the sigillata africana, albeit in the lack of precision involved in this span of time.
      • Trench A was extended by two metres in the south-east corner in order to investigate the road identified in 2007: a cobbled surface about 3 m wide on a north-south alignment, bordered by kerbs made up of river stones. The cobbled surface formed a counterslope with respect to the hill and was well-preserved apart from some small patches. A bronze Republican coin dating to 160 B.C. found in direct contact with the cobbles and its being on the same alignment as a dry-stone wall to the west suggest it was of late Etruscan date. An underlying layer of smaller cobbles may have been the make up for the Etruscan road or an earlier one. Later use between the end of the 3rd - beginning of the 4th century A.D. was attested by several coins attributed to Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II) and Helena. In the northern part of trench C, work concentrated on the kiln found in 2011. The north wall was uncovered below the overlying compact red layer. Built of large tiles, it was badly-preserved due to its position up against a change in height on the hill. The floor of the firing chamber was formed by compact clay. The kiln plan was completed. It was made up of a single rectangular space with _praefurnium_ to the east, the long sides measured 3.60 m and the clay-built back wall 2.20 m, with a pillar supporting the perforated kiln floor. A 4th century coin and ARS fragments found in the rubefied obliterating layer date the complex to the late antique period. The eastern sector of trench C incorporated trench H dug in 2011: Here, it was documented that all of the rooms continued towards the east where the perimeter wall has yet to be reached. The stratigraphy repeated what had been previously documented: accumulations of stones and mortar lumps, the decay of the walls. The situation in the southern part of this trench, in correspondence with trench H, was different. The area was heavily disturbed: fragments of _opus signinum_, chunks of wall, brick and tile all churned up by ploughing. A patch of _opus signinum_ floor (1.40 x 1.10 m) dotted with square limestone tesserae (2 x 2 cm) was exposed below the disturbed layer. The final part of trench C that was investigated showed that the quadrangular tank found south of the exedra functioned as part of the apsidal room to which it was connected by a lead _fistula_. Trench F, with the articulated system of late imperial tanks, was extended to the north. A limekiln was uncovered in the surface layers. This context contained fragments of medieval glazed ware and archaic majolica. The compact fill of the ancient tank contained amphorae, _dolia_ and coarse ware pottery. In the north-western corner of the trench was a compact concentration of medium-large stones, which did not seem to be related to the tanks. The layer of stones obliterated a substantial wall, with yellowish mortar, on a north-south alignment.
      • Now in the eighth year, this season’s excavations at Coriglia continued work in the areas of greatest archaeological interest. With its extension of 640 m² and the building complex overlooking the Paglia valley, trench C is the largest on the site. Work focused on certain contexts identified in previous campaigns, such as completing the excavation of a late antique kiln and the investigation of the southernmost rooms in the complex. The kiln’s baked clay floor was identified and the structure’s plan and construction technique defined. Its central tower was built using a timber formwork inside which the clay was left to harden. In another sector of trench C, up against the eastern face of the eastern perimeter wall, work continued on a context identified in 2012, a sub-circular cut in the room’s _opus signinum_ floor. The hole was filled with dark soil, rich in charcoal and animal bone, and was lined with tile and pottery fragments placed edgewise. At the centre of the pit, there was an element made of very friable grey-blue trachyte stone. Funnel-shaped, it was 33 cm in diameter, the upper face sloping down to a central hole. A shell valve was found on the bottom of the pit. The presence of such a particular find suggests an interpretation for the pit. Shells were invested with symbolic values, not only linked to the feminine sex, but also to the aquatic cosmos and water cults. Therefore, this may have been a ritual pit, placed inside a break in the floor, perhaps when the structure was abandoned, in a period yet to be defined. In the eastern area of the trench, the northernmost of a series of walls, interpreted as terracing walls, on an east-west alignment was exposed. The north-western part of trench F was extended in order to investigate the walled structure identified at the end of the 2012 excavations. This was another tank, situated west of the previously excavated one, used for water collection and whose overall dimensions are unknown, its thick walls faced with _opus_ _latericium_. A _catillus_ made of Morgantina type leucite was found _in situ_, perhaps reused to catch water from a small channel situated uphill. A channel with _catillus_ of this type was previously found in trench I. Trench A was extended to the south and north in order to uncover a further stretch of the roadbed and ascertain the presence of structures along the sides of the road. An earlier cobbled road of Etruscan date was discovered. The first road, only exposed for 1.08 m and of uncertain date, was visible in the section north of the Hellenistic road and in this year’s north extension. The road was 2.70 m wide and characterised by stone chippings and cobblestones that were smaller and more irregular than in the later roads.
      • Along the western embankment a wall connected to the Etruscan road was identified in trench A. In cleaning the ridge, a fragmentary ziro came to light, perhaps set upside down. This would be the second example of this kind, fundamental in interpreting the Etruscan phase. In enlarging the eastern edge of the trench the backhoe uncovered a Roman wall, oriented E/W, faced with squared river stones and with a tufo cornerstone. The removal of an earthen step in trench C revealed a small curving channel that continued up to a square structure in river stones. In various points, mortar sealed the cappuccina covering. It was apparently related to the bath complex, with an apsidal basin with mortar bedding for mosaic. The complex, with imported marble crustae, must have extended westwards. A tufo block in the southern wall of the trench led to the uncovering of another room. In trench F, the fill from two new rooms was removed, revealing one as an elongated square structure with perimeters in opus latericium and cocciopesto faced with a calcareous concretion. Two projecting parts at the center divide it in two. The barrel vault of the basin had collapsed inside. The floor consists of regular (55 x 45) tiles, the raised borders broken, set in mortar. The second room is located N of the basin/corridor. It was not contemporary with the basin complex, as indicated by the building technique and stratigraphy. A closed room exploiting the outer wall of the basin was built in the medieval period. The accumulation of stones and ceramic fragments in the surface layer included a bowl in Orvieto majolica dating to the last quarter of the fifteenth century. The material resulting from the collapse of the roof provided archaic majolica of the early 1300s, terminus ante quem for its use. The brick flooring stopped in correspondence to three shafts with 40 cm. diameter openings. The flask-shaped interiors were faced with dry tufo masonry. This space seems to have been created in late medieval times for productive purposes, a fuller’s workshop or a tannery.
      • The 2015 excavations at Coriglia uncovered important new evidence in four trenches, three opened previously, and one new area. In trench A, to the east, the cobblestone surface was shown to be later and more limited in extension than that uncovered in the southern sector. It was only partially preserved in the northern part of the trench, as it was cut by a plough furrow running south-east/north-west. The lower levels of the cobblestone surface appeared to be more carefully constructed. The surface was made of carefully selected cobbles mixed with crushed pottery and brick/tile. The excavation of one of the walls dated the floor to the late antique period. This proposal is supported by past finds of coins datable to the Constantinian and Theodorician periods. The archaeological material from the new trench J (heavy root presence) was very homogeneous. Of note, a large bronze coin attributable to the 5th century A.D. (the three standing figures appear to be Honorius, Theodosius II, and Arcadius). A layer characterised by a substantial accumulation of medium-large stones together with pottery and brick/tile was uncovered in trench F. Also present was a wall imitating _opus_ _listatum_ built with reused brick/tile and stone, a practice widely documented during the late antique and late medieval periods. This dating was confirmed by the large amount of medieval pottery recovered from the layer, including numerous fragments of archaic majolica. Thus, it was also confirmed that occupation of the southern part of the site continued until at least the late 1300s. In the southern part of the trench, the excavation of a small vat lined with _opus_ _signinum_ produced a commemorative aes of the _Divus_ _Augustus_ attributable to Tiberius and dating to 15-16 A.D. Trench C, the largest, is situated in the northernmost area of the site. A large amount of homogenous material was recovered from the northern part of the trench (painted wall plaster, architectural terracottas, stone, and glass paste mosaic tesserae, patches of _opus_ _signinum_, tiles and tubuli, marble _crustae_. The bronze finds included a nail, a fragmentary fibula and two small coins. A 50-calibre bullet from the Second World War was also found. The trench was extended to the south in order to investigate a structure identified in its south-eastern corner in 2014. This revealed the presence of an underground structure with an arched lintel of bricks belonging to a barrel vault. The fill contained large stone mosaic tesserae, tiles, amphorae and numerous _dolia_ fragments, some of which had been repaired in antiquity. Finds from the lower parts of the stratigraphy included a bone hairpin, a small iron scythe, a miniature cup in thin walled ware, a few fragments of sigillata Italica, a lamp of the _Firmalampen_ type dating to the 1st-2nd century A.D., a leucitite millstone and amphora fragments including a neck with the stamp “PECVL”.
      • The eleventh archaeological campaign at the site of Coriglia in the municipality of Castel Viscardo, along the valley of the Paglia River in the area of the Parco Archeologico dell’Orvietano, was begun in the month of May 2016. Stratigraphic studies for the year were limited to sectors A and C. For sector A, investigation of the northwestern area, previously excavated in the 1990s by the Soprintendenza Archeologica per l’Umbria, revealed a coherent paved surface (US 135), 4.6 m long and 5 wide, sloping from S to N, consisting of a mixture of stone flakes and brick fragments, probably the _via glareata_ underneath the previously excavated road. The paved portion is bordered on the W by an embankment of medium-size river stones (US 29) while on the E, work for the water main eliminated all but a short row of stones, indicating the whereabouts of the border. A manhole (US 144) for controlling rainwater was found on the E. Measuring 70x50 cm, it consisted of stones lodged in a yellowish mortar. An almost complete _fritillus_ (dice-box) and fragments of Italic terra sigillata were found inside. The shaft had a cover consisting of a block of tufa (US 146) with two circular indentations for lifting. The second area investigated was that of sector C. In cleaning a drainage canal covered by lime incrustations from thermal waters, building material came to light, consisting of pieces of painted intonaco and architectural terracotta fragments of the early Imperial Age, including a slab with an ovolo cornice and a figure of Dionysus holding a thyrsus. Particular attention was given to the excavation of a vaulted structure, which had come to light the previous year, in an attempt to discover its continuation eastwards and reveal the entrance. The stairs were buried under discarded building materials (US 667, US 671, US 688), consisting on the whole of broken pieces of cocciopesto within which there were various fragments of Late Antique pottery (3rd-4th cent. CE African cooking ware with rouletted decoration on the exterior bottom of the pan and an oven/cover _clibanus_ from the middle of the 4th cent. CE). A bronze coin of 297 CE coined by Diocletian, a _terminus post quem_ for the collapse of the structure (US 649 – US 682), was found in the fill of the vaulted room (US 654). The underground structure was therefore still intact up to the third century CE, but no longer serving as a cistern for water. The entrance to this structure consists of a steep staircase of 7 steps in tufa, river stones and mortar, each step around 30/35 cm high and with a tread of 30/33 cm.
      • Le indagini stratigrafiche nel sito archeologico di Coriglia, nel 2017 si sono concentrate nei saggi A, C, F e K. _Saggio A_ Si tratta di un’area caratterizzata dalla presenza di percorsi glareati di età romana, forse tardo imperiali, compromessi da interventi agricoli e arature moderne. Il dato emerso quest’anno, fondamentale per avere un _terminus ante quem_ non, è che le massicciate si impostano sulla fase di abbandono di strutture di epoca imperiale: un vasto ambiente, di cui è stato portato alla luce l’angolo NW, realizzato con murature di pietre fluviali di taglio quadrangolare in facciata legate con malta biancastra. E’ stato individuato un pozzetto rettangolare che al suo interno aveva un sistema di fistule in piombo e canalizzazioni ricavate nella muratura. Era occluso da un blocco di tufo rinvenuto spostato dalla sua prima sede: la chiusa evidenzia una faccia lisciata sulla quale sono presenti due profondi incavi circolari usati per il sollevamento. L’infrastruttura idrica, delle dimensioni di 70x50 cm e dalla profondità di 1,22 m, è costruita con pietre fluviali di taglio quadrangolare in facciata allettate in una malta giallastra molto porosa. Sul fondo, realizzato con pietre fluviali di piatto allettate su malta, si trova una canaletta di deflusso con piano in malta pozzolanica. _Il saggio C_ Ci si è concentrati nell’area immediatamente a N dell’imponente struttura voltata emersa nella campagna 2015 (Struttura A). L’ampliamento ha consentito l’individuazione di un ambiente bipartito costituito da un vano a cui si accedeva mediante un unico scalino e da una contigua stanza quadrangolare di cui ancora non sono stati portati alla luce tutti i perimetrali La presenza di numerosi frammenti ceramici riferibili per lo più ad anforacei, fa interpretare lo strato come un vero e proprio scarico di materiale d’età tardo antica (IV sec. d.C.). Il livello pavimentale del vano, estremamente duro e compatto, è in terra battuta frammista a ciottoli fluviali di piccole dimensioni. La destinazione d’uso degli ambienti in analisi: sono parte del complesso termale che si sviluppa su l’asse principale E/W. L’angusta stanza sarebbe da identificare come il _praefurnium_ del _balneum_ a diretto contatto con il _caldarium_. _Il saggio K_ Dall’indagine è emerso un moncone di muro, orientato NE/SW, che prosegue nella parete occidentale del saggio, ed al momento privo di rapporti stratigrafici con altre murature; l’ipotesi che possa costituire la chiusura dell’ambiente voltato A, che raggiungerebbe la lunghezza di m 9,60, rimane al momento la più plausibile. _Il saggio F_ Quest’anno, grazie alle favorevoli condizioni atmosferiche, il saggio è stato riaperto nella zona immediatamente a N della grande vasca. Quella che sembrava una pavimentazione in cocciopesto è risultato essere uno strato di disfacimento di cui si conserva solo parte di un bauletto di sponda. Pertanto è verosimile che il sistema di vasche fosse più esteso. Una struttura muraria, conservata in fondazione, è apparsa al disotto dei lacerti della vasca, con un orientamento diverso dalle altre strutture, eccezion fatta per una canaletta con cui al momento non sembra avere rapporti stratigrafici. Questa muratura, obliterata dai perimetrali della grande vasca e della struttura voltata di raccolta idrica, potrebbe essere interpretata come un muro di contenimento. L’ultimo dato emerso dall’indagine del saggio F è la presenza di una breve porzione di bauletto in cocciopesto _in situ_ a N della struttura voltata: ciò che rimane di un piano pavimentale idroresistente verosimilmente pertinente ad un’altra vasca che andrebbe ad articolare maggiormente il sistema di bacini idrici dell’area.

    Bibliography

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      • D. George, C. Bizzarri, M.K. Donais, 2009, Use of Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry for Mortar, Hydraulic Cement and Metallic Artifact. Analyses in Situ, poster per The American Institute of Archaeology Annual Meeting Philadelphia, PA January 9.
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      • M.K. Donais, S. Wojtas, A. Desmond, B. Duncan, and D.B. George, 2012, Differentiation of Hypocaust and Floor Tiles at Coriglia, Castel Viscardo (Umbria, Italy) Using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Portable X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectrometry, in Applied Spectroscopy, Vol. 66, Issue 9: 1005-1012.
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