logo
  • Rofalco
  • Farnese
  •  
  • Italy
  • Latium
  • Provincia di Viterbo
  • Farnese

Credits

  • failed to get markup 'credits_'
  • AIAC_logo logo

Periods

  • No period data has been added yet

Chronology

  • 350 BC - 280 BC

Season

    • Shortly after the creation of the Selva del Lamone Nature Reserve, following surveys and on the indication of the Farnese Civic Museum and the SAEM, it was decided to undertake a first intervention regarding the numerous illegal excavations present within the walls of Rofalco. In the summer of 1996 the first limited trenches were excavated. In the central zone (Area 0) the walls of four rooms were identified together with a series of rows of stones at descending levels. The first of these rooms (room 2), although disturbed by illegal digging, revealed a sequence of fairly coherent collapses, characterised by the presence of a level of destruction and burning. A second room (room 3), with a wide counter/bench, was identified as a textile workshop thanks to the discovery of over twenty loom-weights. Useful chronological data came from the excavation of the levels below the flooring, which showed the working of the bed-rock and make ups for the building of the structures. In the nearby Area 1000 a polygonal terrace wall was investigated. A rough niche was associated with the wall containing an amphora with linear decoration containing burnt bones and charcoal, perhaps relating to a sacrificial context. The following year, as well as continuing the excavation of the first two areas, an area to the north (Area 2000) was opened, where substantial illegal digging had brought to light numerous dolium fragments. The excavation revealed part of a structure interpretable as a warehouse (room 2) and a sizable courtyard paved with tufa slabs, its walls built of _opus africanum_ (room 1). After a year dedicated entirely to the finds study, in 1999 the first publication on Rofalco was completed by M. Incitti. The presentation of the excavation results and the precise analysis of the finds provided clear dating for the site, confirmed by the continuing excavations. The proposed dating, between the mid 4th and the first decades of the 3rd century B.C., makes it possible to relate the fire and abandonment of the site to the Roman defeat of Vulci in 280 B.C. In the same year the excavation of Area 2000 continued with the opening of two new sectors, Areas 7000 and 3000. This revealed a stretch of the settlement’s central _via glareata_, flanked on one side by a porticoed sidewalk and other buildings, only partially investigated, among which there appeared to be a second warehouse complex analogous to that in the nearby Area 2000. Like the structure in Area 2000, the latter was also partially built in _opus africanum_. In 2000 and 2001 activity concentrated on Area 3000, where the final layers of collapse on top of the road were excavated. An exceptional find was a trachyte stone weight incised with a cross.
    • A large scale illegal excavation, undertaken a few days prior to the start of the work programmed in Area 2000, a short distance away from the room paved in tufa blocks, rendered it necessary to carry out the time-consuming recovery of numerous pottery fragments from the excavated soil obstructing the area. The edges of the hole were then tidied up which made it possible to recover some of the stratigraphic data disturbed by the illegal excavators. Among the finds recovered and partially catalogued on the site were mainly building materials, probably from the roof collapse, and large containers (dolia and jars of various sizes) suggesting this was a storeroom (room 3). Also worthy of note an abundance of fine ware pottery and the presence of a small iron agricultural implement and a fraction of a bronze _aes signatum_. The presence of numerous fragments of baked clay and pottery altered by exposure to heat, together with the traces of a fire found in the few undisturbed patches of stratigraphy, indicate that the settlement came to a violent end in the first decades of the 3rd century B.C., in relation to the Roman conquest. Although it was not possible to recover the ancient paving, clearly destroyed by the clandestine excavators, the remains of the walls were identified on three sides, built both with roughly hewn blocks of local trachyte of various sizes, bonded with clay and in tufa using the more evolved _opus africanum_ technique. The importance of the recovery operation and its obvious priority left little time for continuing the excavation proper. This was limited to the extension of the area investigated in 2001: the small trench confirmed the previously identified stratigraphic sequence, apparently intact, mainly constituted by the remains of collapsed walls, largely built of clay and tufa chunks, and of the roof comprising moderately well-preserved tiles and imbrices. The most important discovery was that of a wall made of an usual mixture of irregular-shaped, materials, not visible on the surface, aligned with that forming the northern perimeter of the paved room excavated in 1997. Other emerging masses were present in the intermediate unexcavated space, which can thus also be attributed to the frontage of the large building in Area 2000 facing onto the road.
    • In Area 0 the large quadrangular room (3), already interpreted as a textile workshop, was again investigated. Below the floor level was a thick layer of levelling filling the natural unevenness of the terrain. The discovery within this layer of a number of ceramic fragments, including a terracotta ex-voto, attests the existence of at least one occupation phase prior to the building of the structure. The room preserved the lower part of the walls, dry-stone built of irregular trachyte blocks, whilst the standing parts were probably built in _opus craticium_ or unbaked clay. The building had a tile roof. The imposing terrace walls uncovered in Area 1000 had suggested the existence of a secondary entrance to the settlement. In order to check this hypothesis an open-area excavation was undertaken across the entire terrace, by the ridge delimiting this part of the site towards the south-east. Several terrace walls came to light which must also have served as defences for a secondary via glareato that was identified (sector 3). Situated on the terrace were two quadrangular rooms (rooms 1 and 2), which produced an interesting stratigraphy rich in materials for domestic use. Below the wall dividing the rooms there was a large dolium apparently obliterated by the construction of the wall itself, and therefore relating to an earlier phase. Furthermore, in room 2 there was a cistern, dry-stone built and plastered. This had been partially excavated by clandestine diggers. In Area 3000 the excavation revealed the north-western perimeter of the warehouse building (Area 2000) and defined the existence of a road crossing the area on a north-east/south-west alignment, separating the warehouses from the other building situated to the north of the excavated area. The road, over 5 m wide, was paved with a thick beaten surface of local stones. Work also continued on documenting the line of the curtain walls and the remains of the settlement, with the aim of creating an up to date and detailed plan of the visible structures. This operation was made particularly difficult by the presence of thick vegetation and traces of old agricultural activity which have disturbed the site from the 16th-mid 20th century. Added to this was the difficulty in reading the terrain itself, characterised by an abundance of lava stone on which it is difficult to distinguish traces of anthropological activity.
    • Excavations continued in areas investigated in previous years. In Area 0 an extensive investigation was made of the large area situated south-west of the previously excavated rooms. The aim was to define the internal layout of the rooms in what had begun to appear as a sort of large _insula_ on the same alignment as previously identified structures and the structure in nearby Area 1000. The complete layout of the walls, visible on the surface and built of fragments of local trachyte, was documented. Four rooms were identified with substantial collapses, from the walls and tile roofing, in a good state of preservation despite the action of hill-wash on the slope. In the room situated in the western corner of the complex (room 6) a sort of courtyard was identified. It was paved with gravel and roofed along one side, below which one or more large dolia were preserved. The rooms stood on two levels of terracing which were adapted to the natural slope. In Area 1000 excavation of room 1 continued and began on adjacent room 2, housing the cistern. The exploration of the first room confirmed the presence of two construction phases. Below a substantial levelling layer was an occupation layer to be associated with the first phase of the area’s use, directly overlying the bedrock. In the adjacent room the beaten floor surface of the second phase was identified and the circular cistern completely excavated. Outside of the area, north-west of the two rooms, the existence of an open space, paved with a beaten surface of volcanic stones, was ascertained. This may have been a square for public use linked with the settlement’s internal road system. Cleaning was undertaken in order to better define the emerging structures in a zone east of Area 0, where a number of alignments had previously been documented. Several walls were identified on the same alignment as those already known and forming part of a building which must have occupied the space (Area 5000) between Areas 0 and 2000.
    • In Area 0 exploration continued of previously identified structures which had suggested the preservation of features of considerable interest. The north-east and south-east perimeter walls of the large room 8 were better defined. A very substantial collapse of stones, only partially caused by hill-wash, was uncovered and seemed to seal underlying destruction and occupation layers. In the lower room 7 a trench uncovered the floor of compact lava-stone, on which a large _dolium_ rested _in situ_. A sort of low step or bench built of stones bonded with clay was documented in correspondence with the door leading from the room into an open-air courtyard discovered the previous year (room 6). Inside room 5, situated on the upper terrace of the structure, the partial removal of a substantial collapses of stones, also visible on the surface, revealed the existence of another elongated structure, perhaps interpretable as a portico or roof. Open to the exterior along the north-western side of the insula it faced onto what was probably the settlement’s central road. In Area 1000 the excavation of rooms 1 and 2 was completed. In the first a series of deposits was removed which formed the terracing on which the room itself was built. The lower layers are probably to be interpreted as dumps of material from the dismantling of earlier structures. The excavation reached an apparently sterile, reddish layer considered to be natural, seen to be in direct contact with the volcanic bedrock. In room 2, where the masonry and opus signinum cistern was situated, a pit covered by stone slabs was discovered, filled with a thick layer of organic sediment that was rich in animal bones. This was probably a midden or dung-pit. At the end of the excavation a sterile reddish layer was visible everywhere, similar to that brought to light in room 1. However, in this second room it was at a much higher level with respect to the latter. These two rooms may be interpreted as a covered room (room 2) used for storage, with in diverse periods a cistern and dung-pit, and an open-air enclosure (room 1) perhaps used for animals. Both spaces clearly served the nearby residential block in Area 0. Brief excavations were undertaken in the paved courtyard (room 1) of Area 2000, aimed at clarifying the stratigraphic sequence and details of the opus africanum construction technique, and in the area of the settlement’s eastern gate (Area 4000) and nearby bastion of the walls, in order to complete the general plan.
    • The excavation in Area 0 continued with the investigation of several surface layers, situated directly below the humus and of the extensive collapse of stones which characterise all of the south-western part of the vast insula. In room 7 the removal of the collapse of well-preserved tiles from the roof continued. This layer covered the beaten floor surface, on top of which numerous fragmented vases, often joining, were found. Finds of bones, teeth and other organic material suggested that this room may be identified as a kitchen or some sort of space where food was prepared or processed. These finds also provided dietary information. The condition of the finds provided further confirmation of the site’s sudden destruction. A new excavation area (Area 4000) was opened at the eastern end of the site, a short distance from the steep slope overlooking the Olpeta Valley. The aim was to examine the main fortified entrance to the settlement. The identification of a gate at this point, ascertained during the previous year, as well as being supported by the presence of the tower and passage of the existing pathway, was suggested by the presence of a certain number of tufa blocks (some seemingly in situ and others displaced) and an imposing collapse of lava-stones. The excavation, still in its initial stages, revealed a long wall of tufa blocks, which lined and evened the rock face on which the bastion stands and was linked to another, shorter, segment of wall at a right angle. This structure, only very partially uncovered, seemed to constitute the northern side of the gate tower with an internal chamber, of which the two northern jambs were visible. In a trench positioned to the west of the tufa block structure, towards the interior of the settlement, a sequence of collapses was seen, constituted by three overlying levels of lava-stones, tufa blocks and tiles. Below the tile collapse a substantial paving of large lava-stone chippings was visible in some places. The finds recovered during this first intervention can all be given a preliminary dating of between the mid 4th and beginning of the 3rd century B.C.
    • Inside the residential block (Area 0), research continued in two main areas: in the various rooms and in small trenches opened in order to define the limits and extension of the block itself. In room 7, identified as a kitchen, most of the collapsed layers overlying the floor surface were removed. An occupation level was exposed containing a substantial amount of material. In the above room 8 a trench put in along its south-western wall revealed a well-preserved stratigraphy below the layers of collapse. An occupation level contained a large amount of pottery, including dolia of various sizes, some of which bearing traces of inscriptions. A second trench within the room itself produced numerous fragments of a _glirarium_. On the upper level of the _insula_ a trench was opened in order to investigate room 1, particularly damaged by erosion: the excavation revealed the presence of a layer rich in small, compacted lava-stone cobbles, identified as a floor surface. This small space, in which there were no remains of a roof, may be interpreted as an internal courtyard. In Area 4000, where the remains of the main entrance to the settlement stand, the passageway’s paving of large polygonal blocks of lava-stone was exposed. Immediately outside the gate’s opening, the removal of a substantial mass of boulders which had fallen down from the hill-slope above, provided a clearer vision of the structure, with its lava-stone paving and structure of large tufa blocks, south of the gate, connected to the continuation of the curtain wall on the downhill side of the settlement. Among the materials recovered during the excavation in this sector were about ten terracotta sling-shot bullets, already well-attested on the site, and a number of vases crushed by the collapse of the walls (including at least two medium sized dolia). Study of the finds will clarify the chronology of the fortifications and destruction of the site.
    • Once the limits and general structure of the housing block (Area 0) were clarified, work concentrated on the excavation of three rooms, one of which not examined thus far. In room 7 the cleaning of the floor, which was not completely uniform, led to the recovery of more pottery from the occupation level excavated in previous years. A low bench, dry-stone built, abutting the base of the room’s eastern wall was uncovered. The occupation layer presented two bands with a higher content of joining pottery fragments in front of this bench. An analysis of their positions suggests that the structure supported, as attested in other settlements of similar date, a sort of wooden cupboard or unit with at least two shelves. In the room’s south-eastern corner a small tank was excavated, sunken into the floor and lined with tile and dolium fragments. A small trench examined the level below the floor and confirmed the absence of earlier building phases in this sector of the _insula_, which resulted as being built directly on layers put down to level the bed-rock. The main trench, put into room 8, brought to light occupation layer. This was characterised by burnt patches and numerous pottery fragments, both fine and coarse wares, large containers such as gliraria and dolia, domestic implements in terracotta and metal and ex-voto of uncertain interpretation. In this case also, the discovery of a stone structure in the north-eastern corner is to be associated with the presence of a bench. A door was discovered in the north-west wall, flanked by two tufa blocks, with traces of plaster, which functioned as the jambs. In the highest part of the insula a trench was opened in room 4, revealing a deep, well-preserved layer of collapsed stones from the perimeter walls. Below was a collapse of tiles and imbrices, from the roof, partially disarticulated and fragmented, but with numerous elements still joining. In several places below this collapse large rough-hewn lava boulders were visible, perhaps part of the bed-rock. In the area of the east gate (Area 4000) the passageway between the two tufa jambs was investigated. This revealed the rectangular housing for a threshold, probably made of wood, with very evident traces of burning. The paved space in front of the defensive structures was also uncovered. The area was affected by land slippage and illegal excavations. Inside the settlement, immediately below the bastion, two more or less parallel rows of stone blocks came to light, probably relating to structures linked to the gate and fortifications.
    • Within the residential quarter (Area 0) excavation of the vast central room (8) was completed. As in the part excavated in the previous year, below very substantial layers of collapse from the walls and the roof, was an occupation layer characterised by the presence of numerous vases, in particular mid-to large containers such as dolia and gliraria, crushed by the collapse of the structures but with the fragments often still joining. Lastly, the beaten-earth and cobble floor was exposed, cut by a small pit of uncertain interpretation in the eastern corner, containing pottery fragments. At the centre of the room was a large tufa block still fixed into the floor, indicating the presence of a central pillar supporting the roof beams. The remains of blocks from the pillar were found within the collapse of the walls. In the area of the east gate (Area 4000) the work necessary for a complete reading of the structures was completed. The large ditch crossing the paved road outside the gate was excavated. This had cut both the clay make up layer on which the structures rested and underlying preparation of gravel levelling the bed-rock. The ditch was the result of various illegal interventions, partially investigated in the early 1970s by F. Rittatore Vonwiller (unpublished). Further to the exterior, the damage caused by progressive land-slippage made it impossible to interpret the few structural remains still identifiable. On the interior of the settlement two long walls on a north-south alignment seemed to delimit the inner side of the bastion, forming a series of large steps. These walls were connected to a third wall, on an east-west alignment, seeming to form the bastion’s northern perimeter. More or less at the centre of the site, between the warehouse zones and the residential quarter, excavation of an interesting structure (Area 5000) began. Partially seen in previous years it was heavily disturbed by illegal digging which had brought to the surface numerous pottery fragments. The structure was revealed to comprise a vast rectangular room facing onto the precipice from an elevated position, using a rock outcrop as its foundations. The walls here were also dry-stone built of large irregular lava-stone blocks and small stones. A deeper part of the trench in the south-west part of the room revealed a collapse containing abundant tile and imbrices fragments below which were a few patches of the ancient floor. It is possible that, in antiquity, the room was divided into two rooms by a wall, of which a few traces remained, situated at about the mid point of its length. Lastly, the remains of a large threshold were identified in the north-east wall, a short distance from the building’s eastern corner.
    • In Area 4000 (east gate) excavation of the baulks left inside the paved area of the gate was completed. This exposed a sort of housing in the paving running along the length of the north side of this space, probably relating to a stone or wooden fitting, such as a bench or porch. It contained various interesting fragments from one or more krater-like vessels in black glaze ware of Volterran production, similar to others found on the site. In the area inside the walls, continuation of a trench opened the previous year showed that the parallel walls delimited a large step, probably only partially covered by a porch or other wooden structures. The enlargement of the trench in the central Area 5000 further defined the stratigraphy, revealing diverse layers of collapse damaged by illegal excavation, and patches of preserved floor cut by a small tank, lined with tiles similar to that seen in the nearby Area 0. The materials found included numerous dolia and impasto fragments, two loom-weights and an iron blade. Exploration began of a new group of structures, visible above ground. The sector (Area 6000) occupied the levelled summit of a rock outcrop situated immediately north-east of the warehouse complex (Area 2000). Although very limited, the intervention identified a much better-preserved stratigraphy, with walls made up of large lumps of lava-stone which seemed to delimit a rectangular building orientated east-west. The lack of pottery and tile fragments on the surface suggests that this structure has not been disturbed by illegal digging. Lastly, excavation in Area 7000 was renewed. The area is situated more or less in the centre of the settlement, north of the warehouse complex and the road, but at a considerably lower level. Work concentrated on a large illegal excavation, in the vicinity of which it was decided to open an exploratory trench. The removal of a massive fill revealed several large wedge-shaped blocks of yellow tufa belonging to the internal facing of a circular cistern, lined with water-proof opus signinum. The large structure has a compact fill of stones and collapsed blocks, and appears to relate to a public structure or space. Its excavation will continue during the next season.
    • In the area of the eastern gate (Area 4000) it was decided to shift attention to the zone downhill, where stretches of wall were visible between the gate and the site’s southern fortifications. A part of the structures can be interpreted as substructures created to terrace the slope, forming steps at different heights in order to support both the gate and the town wall. A substantial length of the latter was excavated, the external face being the best preserved while the inner face was compromised by the collapse of the structures above and by the vegetation. Among the large amount of finds, objects relating to weaving (loom weights, bobbins) were also present in this case together with at least one fragment from a choroplastic terracotta of a human face. At the end of the season, a wall was found towards the inner part of the site, attesting the presence of another building, which for the moment does not seem to be linked to the fortifications. This structure will be excavated in coming campaigns. The excavation of the levels of collapse and occupation in the large room in Area 5000 was completed and the few surviving patches of the ancient floor surface were exposed. The floor was made up of a compact yellowish beaten clay, which filled and levelled the uneven natural basalt lava bedrock which was outcropping in several places. The large room was divided into two distinct parts, a tile roof covered the larger one occupying the northern portion, and the smaller section was open-air and facing south onto the valley. The disturbance created by old illegal excavations cut into some parts of the stratigraphy down to the bedrock and had destroyed any evidence of a dividing wall, which may have been a structure in perishable materials. The two sectors had independent entrances; open on the long western and eastern sides. Among the finds, there was black gloss pottery and a number of loom weights. Continuation of the clearing back of the undergrowth and surface clearing of the area with the emerging structures (Area 6000) identified in the previous campaign to the north-west of the warehouses/storerooms revealed the presence of a large rectangular building (circa 7 x 13 m), on a north-east/south-west alignment. The structure was built using the same large lava stone blocks that seems typical of the earliest structures on the site and fits into the regular urban plan characterising the entire central-eastern part of the settlement. In the central zone of the settlement (Area 7000), work continued on the large circular cistern. The enlargement of the excavation area, opened in the previous season, documented the structure’s size (circa 4 m in diameter) and the presence of an imposing wall of tufa blocks, only partially visible within the trench. It was decided to excavate only a part of the cistern down to the floor. For most of the approximately 4 m of depth preserved, the courses of large tufa ashlar blocks were faced with a thick layer of waterproof opus signinum, on which a number of ancient repairs were visible. The floor was also covered with opus signinum and a raised kerb reinforced the join between the floor and the wall. The fill, containing few pottery fragments, mainly comprised stones and tufa fragments, probably from the collapse of surrounding structures. At the end of the excavation, a first intervention to consolidate the structure was undertaken.
    • It was decided to enlarge the excavation all around the previously dug cistern situated in the central area (Area 7000). In fact, the results from the previous year’s trench had revealed a deep layer formed by collapsed materials suggesting the existence of other structures of a certain substance around the cistern. In effect, the excavations exposed such a situation, although damaged by erosion. The cistern was contained inside a rectangular room or courtyard delimited by a robust wall built of large blocks of yellow tufa and with at least one access preserved on the south side. The presence of several patches of a floor made up of large lava cobblestones and the scarce presence of tiles suggests this was an open air space. Beyond the perimeter wall, it seemed possible to identify a number of covered structures indicated by the continuation of several walls and the presence of layers of collapse and occupation levels. The size and wealth of the complex, the only one entirely built of tufa blocks, together with the Porta Est, found on the site to date suggest the structure had a public function. North-west of the large _insula_ of warehouses, several trenches were opened inside a rectangular building (Area 6000) on the same alignment as the rest of the central part of the town. A first trench in the western part of the building revealed an ancient floor of small cobbles of local stone, from which large lava rocks emerged in several places. The naturally flattened upper surfaces of the rocks showed traces of working. A second trench put in at the opposite end of the building revealed a completely different stratigraphic sequence. In fact, in the eastern part, there was a very interesting situation relating to the collapse of a building with a tiled roof: below a partially disturbed surface layer, two overlying collapses of stones from the sidewalls and roof tiles were exposed. A wall in _opus africanum_ was visible within the collapse. A masonry-built counter and several _dolia_ of the same size resting on the floor were present inside the room. In the area of the Porta Est (Area 4000), the investigation continued of the sector downhill from the gate itself, immediately inside the line of the wall. The cutting back of the vegetation revealed a quadrangular room on the same alignment as the central and eastern sector of the site. The find of a fragment from an ex-voto of a veiled male head may indicate the presence of a small cult site or votive deposit in the area. Lastly, continuation of the survey in the sector between areas 4000, 6000 and 7000 identified various alignments and traces relating to other rooms, which it is hoped to investigate in future campaigns.
    • Nell’area centrale dell’insediamento (Area 7000) si è continuato nel progressivo allargamento dell’area di scavo: i saggi degli anni precedenti avevano rivelato infatti l’esistenza di strutture di una certa consistenza, articolate su più livelli, intorno alla grande cisterna. La rimozione completa dei crolli e dei materiali dilavati ha permesso finalmente di riportare alla luce per intero la circonferenza dell’invaso; inoltre, ha chiarito che la cisterna si trovava all’interno di un cortile acciottolato circondato da edifici di particolare impegno. Tuttavia, il notevole salto di quota che separa il livello del serbatoio dal piano di calpestio del cortile crea al momento diversi problemi nella ricostruzione dei resti, che le indagini non hanno allo stato attuale permesso di chiarire. È stato aperto un saggio oltre il muro est del cortile: presso l’angolo settentrionale è stato portato alla luce un muro di terrazzamento in pietre a secco che sembra isolare un ambiente, all’interno del quale è stato rinvenuto il crollo delle tegole di copertura, al di sotto del quale erano diversi vasi riferibili all’ultima fase di vita dell’edificio. A nord-ovest del grande isolato dei magazzini, in posizione rilevata al di sopra di un affioramento del banco lavico, negli anni passati era stato individuato un grande edificio rettangolare di circa 7 x 13 m (Area 6000) che si inseriva nell’orientamento comune a tutta la porzione centrale dell’abitato. All’interno dell’edificio, gli scavi dell’anno passato avevano permesso di riconoscere la presenza di una terrazza, mentre un saggio aveva evidenziato una sequenza di livelli di crollo che assicurava la presenza di un ambiente coperto da tetto, secondo uno schema già più volte riscontrato sul sito. L’intervento di quest’anno ha permesso di riportare alla luce buona parte dell’ambiente, di cui è stata individuata la porta sul lato orientale e di cui sono stati scavati i crolli. Nel sottostante livello di vita sono stati trovati solo i resti di due o tre doli e poca altra ceramica, mentre si deve segnalare il rinvenimento di una punta di lancia in ferro, del tutto simile ad un’altra ritrovata in passato ed esposta nel Museo Civico di Farnese. All’estremità orientale del sito (Area 4000), una volta concluso lo scavo della porta fortificata e delle strutture difensive connesse, l’indagine si è concentrata su alcuni resti affioranti e riferibili a terrazzamenti che digradavano a sud verso il costone dell’Olpeta. Qui, in una situazione purtroppo intaccata dal dilavamento, sono stati evidenziati i resti di un ambiente rettangolare con muri in blocchi di pietra lavica e livelli di crollo con pietre e tegole. Il livello corrispondente al piano di calpestio originario è risultato sorprendentemente ben conservato e ha restituito un repertorio di forme vascolari piuttosto ricco, comprendente anche ceramiche fini in vernice nera e utensili, apparentemente tipico di un ambiente domestico. Il ritrovamento di un kyathos miniaturistico, che si aggiunge ad un ex-voto fittile a testa maschile velata rinvenuto nell’anno passato, sembra confermare l’esistenza di culti o pratiche di devozione di tipo domestico.
    • Nell'area dei magazzini, al centro dell'insediamento (Area 2000) è stato ripreso lo scavo dell'ambiente pavimentato con l'obiettivo di medio termine di portare alla luce tutta il lastricato di tufo. Buona parte della campagna è stata dedicata alla ripulitura e analisi della situazione conservata, assieme all’attenta documentazione delle porzioni residue degli strati di crollo. Lo scavo vero e proprio si è limitato alla rimozione di un tratto di crollo delle murature e alla pulizia del sottostante crollo di tegole e coppi. In particolare si segnala il buono stato di conservazione del crollo delle murature a scacchiera, il cui studio sarà utile per determinare le dinamiche di distruzione e l'alzato originario delle pareti. Nell’area centrale dell’insediamento (Area 7000) si è continuato nel progressivo allargamento dell’area di scavo. I saggi degli anni precedenti avevano rivelato infatti l’esistenza di altre strutture di una certa consistenza intorno alla cisterna monumentale, articolate su più livelli; lo scavo di quest'anno ha permesso di individuare potenti strati di crollo che suggeriscono un buono stato di conservazione delle stratigrafie. Presso l’angolo orientale l'ampliamento dello scavo ha permesso di individuare l'angolo di un edificio – apparentemente distinto dal vano della cisterna – che rispetta l'orientamento degli edifici della contigua Area 3000. A nord-ovest del grande isolato dei magazzini, all’interno dell’edificio individuato (Area 6000), gli scavi degli anni passati avevano permesso di riconoscere una terrazza o cortile pavimentato in ciottoli nella metà occidentale della struttura, mentre la parte orientale è caratterizzata dalla presenza di un ambiente parzialmente incassato e coperto da tetto, secondo uno schema che ricorda gli edifici dell'Area 1000 e dell'Area 5000. L’ambiente presenta una porta di accesso al centro del lato nord-orientale e ha in passato restituito una punta di lancia in ferro. L’intervento di quest’anno ha permesso di ampliare l'area di scavo all'interno dell'ambiente (sfortunatamente la presenza di alberi protetti non consentirà di ampliare ulteriormente lo scavo), con l'esposizione dell'intero crollo del tetto. Tegole e coppi sono quindi stati rimossi mettendo in luce la dispersione di vasi frantumati (tra cui alcuni orli di dolio capovolti con funzione di focolare) e notevoli chiazze di bruciato pertinente alla travatura dei tetti e/o agli arredi lignei del vano. Un ulteriore piccolo ampliamento verso nord ha permesso di riconoscere la prosecuzione di un muro e quindi di ampliare la conoscenza della planimetria dell'edificio, che appare più complessa di quanto finora immaginato. All’estremità orientale del sito (Area 4000), una volta concluso lo scavo della porta fortificata e delle strutture difensive connesse, l’indagine si è concentrata già dal 2012 sui resti di un piccolo edificio collocato nei terrazzamenti a sud della strada principale del sito. Qui si è proceduto all’allargamento dell'area indagata e alla rimozione di parte del crollo delle murature; ciò ha anche permesso di individuare due blocchi di tufo forse con funzione di stipiti di porta o alloggiamento per pilastri lignei. Nella parte dell'ambiente in cui si è già raggiunta la pavimentazione originaria si è praticato un piccolo saggio esplorativo per raccogliere informazioni sulle fasi di costruzione della struttura.
    • Nell’area dei magazzini (Area 2000), al centro dell’insediamento, l’intervento iniziato l’anno passato è proseguito con il completamento della rimozione del crollo delle murature. È stato così possibile esporre un livello di crollo di tegole piuttosto ben conservato che offre importanti dati per la ricostruzione dell’edificio. La scoperta degli angoli NO e NE dell’ambiente permette già comunque di precisare meglio la planimetria dell’importante struttura, nonché di ipotizzare una prosecuzione dell’isolato sia in direzione ovest che in direzione sud. Nell’area centrale dell’insediamento (Area 7000), dove negli anni passati è stata individuata una monumentale cisterna, si è continuato nel progressivo allargamento dell’area di indagine. Il risultato più importante di questa campagna è stato il riconoscimento di un ambiente – già individuato nell’anno passato – pertinente ad un altro edificio collocato ad una quota superiore e caratterizzato da un orientamento differente e coerente invece con quello degli edifici delle Aree 2000 e 3000. Dell’ambiente, già interessato in passato da un esteso scavo clandestino che ne ha compromesso la struttura, sono stati riportati alla luce tre lati, composti da muri in opera a scacchiera e in pezzame a secco. È stata riconosciuta l’esistenza di livelli di preparazione e colmata relativi alla realizzazione delle opere di terrazzamento preliminari alla costruzione della grande cisterna e chiarita meglio la sequenza delle operazioni costruttive. Più ad est, in posizione rilevata al di sopra di un affioramento del banco lavico, negli anni passati era stato individuato un edificio rettangolare (Area 6000), all’interno del quale gli interventi degli anni passati avevano permesso di riconoscere una terrazza o cortile pavimentato in ciottoli nella metà occidentale della struttura, mentre la parte orientale è caratterizzata dalla presenza di un ambiente parzialmente incassato e coperto da tetto. Nel corso di questa campagna è stata completata l'indagine all’interno dell’ambiente coperto, riconoscendo un livello pavimentale e interessanti tracce probabilmente riferibili ad un tavolato ligneo bruciato, su cui erano poggiati diversi dolia. Inoltre, l’ampliamento dell’area d’indagine in direzione est, limitato al momento ai livelli più superficiali, ha già permesso di riconoscere alcuni allineamenti di muri che assicurano una prosecuzione dell’edificio – il cui sviluppo planimetrico appare dunque più complesso di quanto ritenuto all’inizio – in questa direzione. All’estremità orientale del sito (Area 4000) l’indagine si è concentrata già dal 2012 sui resti di un piccolo edificio collocato nei terrazzamenti a sud della strada principale del sito. In questa campagna è stato definitivamente chiarito che l’edificio è articolato in due vani di dimensioni disuguali, separati da un tramezzo in pezzame di pietra lavica in cui si apriva una porta inquadrata da stipiti in blocchi di tufo, di cui si conserva il filare di base. I due ambienti presentano apparentemente piani di calpestio a quote differenti, secondo uno schema più volte riscontrato sul sito. Infine, l’indagine è stata ampliata all’area situata ad est dell’edificio, in direzione delle mura, dove sono state evidenziate, per un’estensione di circa 4 m, tracce di regolarizzazione artificiale del banco lavico e di una pavimentazione in piccole lastre di arenaria.
    • Nell’area dei magazzini (Area 2000), al centro dell’insediamento, l’intervento iniziato negli anni passati è proseguito con il completamento della rimozione del crollo delle coperture e dei livelli di distruzione. Il crollo degli elementi di copertura ha mostrato due livelli sovrapposti, che sembrerebbero indicare due distinti momenti di crollo. È stato possibile esporre integralmente il notevole pavimento in lastroni di tufo (12,20 x 6,10 m), provvisto di cordolo perimetrale rilevato, e le pareti in opera a scacchiera, ben conservata soprattutto sul lato ovest. È stato possibile verificare l’assenza di tracce di una cisterna nell’angolo NO, che era stata ipotizzata sulla base di confronti con Orvieto. Nell’area centrale dell’insediamento (Area 7000), dove negli anni passati è stata individuata una monumentale cisterna a pianta circolare di circa 4 m di diametro collocata all'interno di un cortile acciottolato, si è continuato nel progressivo allargamento dell’area di indagine dedicato in particolare alla comprensione del nuovo ambiente individuato negli anni passati nella zona ad est della cisterna. È stato inoltre completamente rimosso il consistente accumulo di terra dello scavo clandestino che aveva interessato in passato l’ambiente. Dell’ambiente risultano riconoscibili al momento solo tre lati, composti da muri in opera a scacchiera e in pezzame a secco: tutta la porzione est dell’ambiente risulta assai danneggiata dall’intervento clandestino e dal dilavamento. Più ad est, è proseguita l’indagine dell’edificio in posizione rilevata dell’Area 6000 e dei suoi dintorni. In particolare è stata completata l'indagine all’interno dell’ambiente coperto, riconoscendo un livello pavimentale ed una complessa stratificazione probabilmente riferibile ad un soppalco ligneo bruciato, su cui erano poggiati su due livelli diversi dolia. Inoltre, l’ampliamento dell’area d’indagine in direzione est, limitato al momento ai livelli più superficiali, ha permesso di riconoscere una complessa situazione con diversi allineamenti di pietre ed estesi affioramenti del banco geologico, con strutture in parte a cielo aperto relative ad apprestamenti funzionali connessi con l’edificio. All’estremità orientale del sito (Area 4000), una volta conclusa la ripulitura della porta fortificata e delle strutture difensive connesse, l’indagine si è concentrata già dal 2012 sui resti di un piccolo edificio collocato nei terrazzamenti a sud della strada principale del sito. In questa campagna è stata completata l’indagine dei due vani dell’edificio, con l’esclusione dell’angolo occidentale, occupato da una serie di alberi la cui rimozione è stata rinviata alla successiva campagna di scavo. Dall’ambiente provengono interessanti reperti, in genere ben conservati, individuati al di sotto dei consueti crolli degli alzati. È stato possibile portare alla luce il livello pavimentale in terra battuta ed una sorta di bancone nell’angolo NE del vano. Infine, l’indagine è stata rivolta all’area situata ad est dell’edificio, in direzione delle mura, dove sono stati riconosciuti interventi di regolarizzazione artificiale del banco lavico e resti di una pavimentazione in piccole lastre di arenaria. La possibile connessione delle strutture individuate con un’area sacra sembra indiziata dal ritrovamento negli anni passati di un ex-voto fittile e di ceramica miniaturistica.
    • The gradual enlargement of the excavations continued in the central part of the settlement (Area 7000), where in the past a monumental circular cistern, c. 4 m in diameter, situated in a cobblestone paved courtyard had been found. The excavations aimed to gain an understanding of the new room identified in past seasons to the east of the cistern (room 3), situated on a sort of terrace at a higher level than the surrounding structures, and on a slightly different alignment. In the past, the room was the object of illegal excavations that compromised the structure, but three perimeter walls built in _opus_ _Africanum_ and dry-stone construction were uncovered. During this campaign, it was not possible to complete the exploration of this room, which extended further east. However, the removal of the layers of collapse in the exposed part revealed the original floor surface. The latter was made of a very compact layer of reddish clay containing numerous small stones and some pottery fragments. The scarce amount of materials found in the occupation layer offered no clue as to the function of this room. The opening of another trench to the south-east of the already identified structures revealed the corner of a new room (room 4), with walls built with pieces of lava stone, aligned with the south wall of room 3, of which it appeared to be the continuation. Further east, the excavation was completed of Area 6000, situated further towards the gate (Area 4000) and on an east-west alignment perpendicular to that of the buildings in the central part of the settlement. The structure is formed by a basic module – well-known on the site – a covered space and a courtyard, with traces of structures facing onto the latter on its east side. These structures were probably work/production spaces connected with the building. Unfortunately, this entire sector appears rather complex and difficult to read as it has been damaged by hill-wash and illegal excavations. Two perpendicular trial trenches were opened in the flat area that seemed to be free of structures situated between Area 6000 and Area 4000; only the surface organic layer was removed. While further modest traces of structures appeared at the end of the east-west trench, relating to structures already investigated in previous campaigns, in the northern part of the north-south trench a short section of wall was identified, seemingly in _opus_ _Africanum_, on an unusual oblique alignment with respect to the surrounding structures. Survey over the site and limited cleaning identified, documented and positioned other alignments of stones, which it is hoped to investigate during future campaigns.

Bibliography

    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, 2016, Ager Volcentanus: Rofalco (Farnese), in Rivista di Epigrafia Etrusca, «Studi Etruschi», 79(2011), 259-263 (nn. 22-24).
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, cds., The Etruscan Fortress of Rofalco. Twenty years of excavation and outreach activities, in Papers of the Seventh Conference of Italian Archaeology (Galway 2016).
    • O. Cerasuolo, cds., Fortificazioni di epoca etrusca nel territorio vulcente: Vulci, Rofalco, Ghiaccio Forte, in Le antiche mura “etrusche” di Orbetello, dal mito al presente, Atti del Convegno (Orbetello 2017).
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, cds., Società e innovazione in Etruria meridionale tra IV e III secolo a.C., Atti dell’Incontro di studio (Bolsena 2016).
    • E. Abbondanzieri, c.s., La manifattura tessile nell'insediamento fortificato di Rofalco, in Sc.Ant. 25.1.
    • G. Bartoloni, L’architettura, in G. Bartoloni (a cura di), Introduzione all’Etruscologia, Milano 2012, 292-293.
    • O. Cerasuolo – L. Pulcinelli, Rofalco, un castellum vulcente di età ellenistica, «Scienze dell’Antichità», 19.2-3, 2014, 113-121.
    • L. Pulcinelli, 2016, L’Etruria meridionale e Roma. Insediamenti e territorio tra IV e III secolo a.C., Roma 2016, 84-87.
    • L. Pulcinelli, 2017, Contributi per lo studio dei sistemi ponderali etruschi. Alcuni dati dal territorio vulcente, in «Archeologia Classica», 68, 475-485.
    • O. Cerasuolo, 2014, Rofalco: the Etruscan fortress and the Roman conquest of Vulci, «Etruscan News», 16, 8.
    • O. Cerasuolo, 2009, Quattordici anni di ricerche archeologiche nella fortezza tardo-etrusca di Rofalco, in L. Frazzoni (a cura di), Atti della giornata di studi in memoria di Mauro Incitti: 23-36.
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, 2007, La fortezza di Rofalco, “Forma Urbis”, 12.9, settembre: 4-13.
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, 2009, Contributi per la carta archeologica del territorio vulcente. Selva del Lamone, Valle dell’Olpeta e zone adiacenti, in C. Marangio, G. Laudizi (a cura di), Palaià philìa. Studi di topografia antica in onore di Giovanni Uggeri, Galatina: 397-416.
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, F. Rubat Borel, 2008, Rofalco (Farnese, VT). Una fortezza vulcente tra la metà del IV e i primi decenni del III secolo a.C., in La città murata in Etruria, Atti del XXV Convegno di Studi Etruschi ed Italici, Pisa-Roma: 533-538.
    • M. Incitti, 1999, L’abitato fortificato di Rofalco nell’entroterra vulcente (Viterbo), “Archeologia Uomo Territorio”, 18: 5-21.
    • M. Incitti, O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, 2005, Rofalco. Un emporium fortificato all’alba del III sec. a.C., in Papers in Italian Archaeology VI, Atti del Convegno (Groningen 2003), Oxford: 944-948.
    • L. Pulcinelli, 2009, Etruschi e romani nel Lamone: ricerche di topografia antica in territorio castrense, in L. Frazzoni (a cura di), Atti della giornata di studi in memoria di Mauro Incitti, Farnese: 80-92.
    • M. Rendeli, 1985, L’oppidum di Rofalco nella Selva del Lamone, in A. Carandini (a cura di), La romanizzazione dell’Etruria: il territorio di Vulci, Catalogo della Mostra (Orbetello 1985): 60-61.
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, 2008 (2011), Ager Volcentanus: Rofalco (Farnese), in Rivista di Epigrafia Etrusca, “Studi Etruschi”, 74: 296-306 (nn. 57-64).
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, 2010, (a cura di), La fortezza di Rofalco. Vita quotidiana degli ultimi Etruschi, Acquapendente.
    • O. Cerasuolo, L. Pulcinelli, 2009 (2012), Ager Volcentanus: Rofalco (Farnese), in Rivista di Epigrafia Etrusca, «Studi Etruschi», 75: pp. 242-244, nn. 60-62.
    • L. Frazzoni, 2012, (a cura di), Carta archeologica del Comune di Farnese, Quaderni del Sistema Museale del Lago di Bolsena, 15, Bolsena.
    • M. Sabbatini, 2014, I granai di Vulci: i magazzini della fortezza di Rofalco, «Officina Etruscologia», 9: 111-126.
    • L. Somma, 2015, Le mura e la porta di Rofalco (Farnese, VT): un primo inquadramento, in L. Attenni (a cura di), Studi sulle mura poligonali. Atti del quinto seminario (Alatri, 30-31 ottobre 2010), Napoli: 107-118.