• Fondo Paparusso
  • Soleto
  • Soletum
  • Italy
  • Apulia
  • Provincia di Lecce
  • Soleto


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 300 BC - 50 BC


    • The Fondo Paparusso, is a large field used for the cultivation of cereals and vegetables. To the north it is bordered by the Messapian walls of Soleto and to the south by Le Fontanelle, an important natural spring until it was polluted a few decades ago. Following several fruitful surveys, when a trench across the curtain wall was opened in the Proprietà Russo, the opportunity was taken to extend it to the south to a length of 25 m. The excavation uncovered a rectangular oven for roasting barley up against the collapse of the curtain wall. It was built of tile, stone and refractive material such as lava-stone slabs. This agricultural structure of Republican date stood beside a road on an east-west alignment. Survey results suggest that it belonged to a farm situated along the road, a few metres to the south-east.
    • On the basis of the data produced by the trial trench opened in 2002 an open area excavation was undertaken. This identified a tomb filled with earth and covered with a stone slab, still in situ although damaged by a plough. The burial floor was a layer rich in gravel and crushed tufa upon which lay, in primary deposition, the skeleton of a child with the cranium to the east. The deceased lay in a fetal position on his/her left side, with the grave goods placed to the south of the feet. The tomb group comprised two vases (a jar and a small plate) and perhaps a wooden object (staff?), a sample of which was taken. This burial was largely covered, and surrounded by, the secondary deposition of an old woman. There were no associated grave goods, the cranium was placed at the child’s feet, the long bones to the sides and the other bones above. South of the tomb a low dry-stone wall marked the edge of a beaten road surface. Along the north side of the burial squared blocks of carparo forming the foundations of a Messapian house came to light. Thus, the burial was right beside the house, as also seen at Soleto in viale Italia (proprietà Palmisano) and in Fondo Fontanella.
    • The open area excavation concentrated on the area around the Messapian road which was subsequently resurfaced and widened towards the south in the Roman period (overall width circa 4 m). North of the road, in a space delimited by a low dry-stone wall, a Messapian house of Hellenistic date was uncovered beside the tomb excavated in 2005. The house comprised two rooms, with footings of squared _carparo_ blocks and the remains of stone walls. South of the road, structures belonging to a farm of Republican and Imperial date were identified. It was built of reused materials: squared _carparo_ blocks re-cut for the footings, tomb slabs used for shelves and workbenches.
    • Work to expose the structures of Republican and Imperial date was completed, revealing the footing of the south wall built of reused materials (re-cut squared carparo blocks). South of the building a second road was intercepted with the remains of a surface of crushed _carparo_ and tufa on a make up of tile, medium sized stones and slabs of _carparo_ and leccese stone. This road, circa 4 m wide, was delimited to the south by a wall of squared _carparo_ blocks, belonging to a structure yet to be excavated.
    • The excavation concentrated on the area around a Messapian road running approximately parallel to the second Messapian curtain wall, whose internal face was situated circa 15 m to the north of the road. In the eastern part of the fondo, the area south of the road was characterised by the presence of very irregular rock outcrops. The compact deposit of tufa and clay forming the road was substituted in this sector by a stone make up, delimited to the north by a low containing wall which filled the spaces between the rock outcrops of a small sierra, orientated in a north-south direction, so as to overcome the obstacle. North of the road the following archaeological evidence was identified: a section of the collapse of the Messapian curtain wall with stones and material from the fill; a guard post on the second curtain wall constituted by a beaten floor, circa 2,5 x 2 m, covered by a roof sloping to the south and delimited to the east by a rock outcrop on which the structure rested, and to the west by a squared tufa block inserted perpendicularly into the internal facing of the curtain wall; the collapse of a house partially disturbed by ploughing, with parts of the roof in primary deposition; an oval pit clearly placed in relation to the house, containing an animal burial, seemingly a dog, although the cranium was missing, having been displaced by ploughing, and Messapian material and the remains of a tile roof.
    • The excavation of the area identified in 2009 was completed confirming the Messapian date of the road bed. The loose foundations of a 3rd century B.C. Messapian house were also investigated. A preliminary investigation of the western part of the property identified Messapian structures (a second road associated with squared blocks probably belonging to a gate in the second Messapian curtain wall, and the foundations of one or more houses). These were partially covered and cut by small rural structures of Republican and Imperial Roman date relating to a _villa rustica_ situated slightly to the south. The mosaic-paved atrium of the villa’s residential sector was identified.
    • The house of the _dominus_ comprised four rooms. The central room was paved with _opus spicatum_ of tiles in mortar. To the north, was a small tank below a portico, lined with a double layer of waterproof plaster, it had four steps leading down into it and, in the centre of the bottom a depression. The other three residential rooms were arranged to the west, south, and east of the main space. The stone paving of a large threshing floor was exposed to the east of the house. An isolated residential structure completed the complex to the east, the living space of paid workers, freedmen, or slaves. Built near the springs, the villa rustica was aligned along a road of Messapian date. However, its alignment did not take into account the centuriation lines, which marked the territory from the Gracchan period onwards. The complex, built in the 2nd century B.C., was productive until the 2nd-3rd century A.D., when a farmhouse was constructed a short distance to the west. It reused the ruins of a Messapian house of Hellenistic-Republican date and had a large tank completely lined with waterproof plaster and a kiln/oven with a firing/cooking floor in Leccese stone. At this early stage of the excavation it appears that the farm was active at the end of the 5th-beginning of the 6th century A.D.


    • Th. Van Compernolle, 2003 [2008], Soleto (Lecce), 1. Via Kennedy 2. Località Fontanelle, Fondo Fontanella, in Taras. Rivista di Archeologia XXIII: 209-210.
    • Th. Van Compernolle, 2006, Soleto (Lecce), località Fontanelle, fondo Paparusso; località Petraci, proprietà Dell’Anna”, in Taras. Rivista di Archeologia XXVI: in corso di stampa.
    • Th. Van Compernolle, 2008, Soleto (Lecce), località Quattrare, isolato delle Scuole, via Risorgimento; località Fontanelle, fondo Paparusso, in Taras. Rivista di Archeologia, XXVIII: in corso di stampa.
    • Th. Van Compernolle 2009, Soleto (Lecce), località Fontanelle, fondo Paparusso, in Taras. Rivista di Archeologia XXIX: in corso di stampa.