logo
  • Nervia, Area mura settentrionali
  • Ventimiglia
  • _Albintimilium_
  • Italy
  • Liguria
  • Provincia di Imperia
  • Ventimiglia

Credits

  • failed to get markup 'credits_'
  • AIAC_logo logo

Periods

  • No period data has been added yet

Chronology

  • 100 BC - 800 AD

Season

    • Research undertaken in the area of the Roman _municipium_ of _Albintimilium_ (Ventimiglia) concentrated on a zone of great importance for the understanding of the city’s topography, the area by the northern walls. This is situated a few metres east of the theatre (discovered at the end of the 19th century by Girolamo Rossi and later investigated by Piero Barocelli) and north of _insulae_ VI and VII where Lamboglia perfected his techniques of stratigraphic excavation. In 2004 investigations took place a few tens of metres east of the theatre, at a point where the Roman structure overlies the remains of the _oppidum_ of the ancient _Liguri Intemeli_ . In 2005 investigations concentrated on the eastern and western sectors of the excavation area, work which led to a reconstruction of the topography of the Roman city, in particular of the northern quarters of which little was known, and the layout of the ancient cemetery (already studied in preceding years). From the 5th century A.D. it was situated north of the walls following their abandonment, partial demolition and burial below a landslide which came down from nearby Collasgarba. Three new burials emerged, of the stone “a cassa” and “a cappuccino” types, which present a phase of re-use as attested by the “a cappuccino” tomb containing five individuals. As regards the topography, a new stretch of the walls was uncovered, west of the city gate (identified during the 2003 campaign), which seems to diverge from the eastern line of the same, that had already emerged in earlier excavation campaigns. (MiBAC)
    • Excavations in the area of the north wall of the town of Albintimilium began at the end of the 1980s and were resumed in 2002. A substantial part of the curtain wall delimiting the ancient centre to the north, close to the slopes of the Collasgarba, has been uncovered. Adjacent to the north side of the wall, in the western sector of the excavation, a small late Roman (5th-6th century A.D.) necropolis came to light. The tombs were of various types (in amphora, “a cappuccina”, masonry built), roughly orientated east-west and each presenting at least two distinct phases of deposition. To the south of the curtain wall, in the eastern part of the excavation, the terminal part of a Roman _cardo_ was uncovered, in a sector characterised by the presence of a series of rubbish pits filled with diverse materials (pottery, glass, bronze etc.) of late antique date. During the 2003 campaign a small town gate was identified, which can be put into relation with the nearby _castellum aquae_ and a probable link to the Val Nerva lying behind, site of agricultural estates and suburban agglomerates. The 2009 research concentrated on the eastern part of the excavation area, where the levels relating to the construction of the walls are being investigated. The walls were built in the 1st century B.C. directly on the hill slopes, close to the remains of the pre-Roman settlement occupied by the Liguri Intemeli mentioned by the ancient literary sources.
    • During this campaign research concentrated on Areas 1000A and 5000, respectively the east and west sectors of the site. In the first sector, opened in 2009, the data collected last year was confirmed and further information gathered regarding the stratigraphic and chronological relationships in this delicate zone, relative to the line of, abandonment and robbing of the walls. In particular the excavation revealed two stratigraphic units: the first constituted by a more or less semicircular arrangement of stones associated with a beaten-clay surface. This feature probably related to an agricultural reuse of the area following its abandonment. The second unit can be identified as a robber trench for the removal of stones from the wall, whose fill was characterised by the presence of mortar lumps, some large, stones and chips from stone working, the result of the removal of the stones from the wall itself. This episode links to the robbing already identified in Area 1000 during earlier campaigns, dated, for the moment, to the 7th century A.D. by the presence of an ARS D rim, Hayes form 109 and the handle of an Keay 52 type amphora of Calabrian production. The combined analysis of the stratigraphic sequence and the finds from this sector defined the deposition of the layers. This occurred through both anthropological activity and natural phenomena caused by the area’s geomorphology, which periodically suffered flooding from the Nervia torrent (which in the Roman period ran closest to the east walls of _Albintimilium_ ) and erosion of an aeolic-pluvial nature linked to the Collasgarba rising behind. As regards area 5000, research continued with the aim of acquiring further information on the necropolis which came to be created in this sector of the walls following their abandonment. At least two distinct phases of use were identified: the first dating to the first half of the 5th century, the second to between the 5th and the mid 6th century A.D. This season a new burial, T. 9/308, was discovered abutting the walls immediately west of burial T. 8/307 (investigated in 2009). As seen in previous research, two phases of use were also confirmed in tomb 9. In fact, on its northern edge an articulated skeleton was found dating to the second and later phase of use. On the southern edge, up against the wall, was an earlier burial “reduced” following the reopening of the tomb for the deposition of the second body. Both were covered by terracotta slabs which had been disturbed to allow the second burial. Worthy of note among the finds were two tile stamps, both probably from production centres situated at _Forum Iulii_, modern Fréjus in Provence. The first is a stamp in a rectangular cartouche, MAR[- - -], already attested at Ventimiglia in the necropolis by the western walls. The second, on a tile from burial T. 9/308, can be traced back to the workshop of _L. Herennius Optatus_ (perhaps active from the end of the 1st to the 3rd century A.D.), also already attested at Ventimiglia. The excavations, which confirmed the great interest of the archaeological research in this part of the Roman town, were flanked by a permanent laboratory for the cataloguing and study of the finds co-ordinated by Viviana Pettirossi and by another project, the Master and Back – the Autonomous Region of Sardinia “La ceramica a vernice nera nell’area 2000 dello scavo delle mura settentrionali di Albintimilium” directed by Roberta Sulis.
    • This campaign concentrated on areas 1000 and 1000A, in the eastern part of the excavation. In sector 1000, excavation continued in the area of the cardo, delimited by structures US 1009/1015 and US 1010, where several layers datable to the 3rd century A.D. were excavated. They were cut by a series of later holes, whose fill containing 5th-6th century pottery, confirmed the abandonment of this area and its use as a dump in late antiquity. The removal of layer US 1092 revealed structure US 1036, on an east-west alignment, which predates the walls delimiting the cardo, partially abutting and partially overlying them. It is suggested that these are the remains of the northern perimeter walls of a pre-existing insula, situated between the cardo and the town gate, which opened in this part of the walls. In the corner between structures US 1010 and US 1036, a thick slab of de La Turbie limestone was uncovered. This is interpreted as the remains of a threshold relating to US 1036, obliterated by later interventions on the cardo itself. On the southern edge of the same area the remains of a probable road-bed, US 1110, were identified, partially cut by a hole datable to the 5th century A.D. In some stretches this overlay the walls of the cardo US 1009 and US1010. This suggests that the road-bed was widened with respect to the original limits represented by the structures along its sides. In the central part of the area, a more or less circular hole was exposed. It contained two fills, the second of which constituted only by ash. The hole was surrounded by a slightly dipping layer of pseudo-annular form, containing fragments of Gaulish sigillata and the remains of burnt brick/tile. This was possibly a small kiln however it was more probably the housing for a large timber post, which had burnt. The excavation also continued in area 1000A, in direct contact with the town walls, with the aim of gaining further information about the phases during which they fell into disuse, and their relationship with structure US 1068, discovered in 2010. This structure lay almost parallel to the walls, slightly converging towards them from east to west. Only a stretch of the foundations was preserved, constructed in pudding-stone and sandstone, with large amphora fragments used as wedges. Layer US 1071, possibly a floor level or beaten floor surface, was associated with the structure. A preliminary analysis of the finds dated it to the second half of the 5th century A.D. onwards. This chronology thus dates the abandonment and fall into disuse of the walls in this sector of the Roman town, confirming what was documented in the western part of the excavation, where from the same date onwards, a cemetery overlay the abandonment levels of the walls.
    • In 2012, the International Institute of Ligurian Studies investigated zones 1000A and 4000 in the area of the northern walls of the ancient Roman town of _Albintimilium_. In zone 1000A, the excavations were extended to the north of the walls, for a total of 18 m2, with the aim of clarifying the stratigraphic situation that had emerged in previous years, and of exposing another sector of the walls. The removal of a series of modern agricultural layers revealed the edges of a large robber trench (US 1167), which reached the crest of the walls and cut the layers which in antiquity abutted the north face of the walls themselves. The excavation of these layers and, in particular the layer of levelling (US 1165) and midden US 1171, produced a large quantity of material datable to the end of the 1st-2nd century B.C. These included high quality artefacts such as a gemstone incised with the episode of Ulysses and the Sirens, the silver lid of what was probably a _pyxis_ showing Mercury with moneybag and _caduceous_, and a large number of finely worked glass fragments. Excavation of the large robber trench, whose fill was mainly constituted by stone rubble from the demolition of the walls and a large quantity of powdered bonding material, led to the exposure of another stretch of wall three metres long. During the 2012 campaign, work also continued in area 4000 with the intention of continuing research in the necropolis that occupied this zone from the mid 5th century A.D. onwards. Four new tombs (TT. 309-311, 313), were discovered, situated along the north face of the wall. Their excavation confirmed the two phases of use known so far (phase 1: mid-second half of the 5th century A.D.: phase 2: end of the 5th-6th century A.D.), as it was seen that in order to position burials 309-310 in graves with terracotta/tile covering, the earlier burial 313 was reduced in size. The excavations confirmed the importance of this sector, in particular in connection with the late antique history of _Albintimilium_ when, following the Gothic invasions at the beginning of the 5th century A.D., the quarters north of the _decumanus maximus_ were gradually abandoned. The residential areas seemed only to occupy the southern _insulae_, where there was substantial evidence of the Byzantine and Lombard phases, and burials came to occupy the abandoned urban spaces: the theatre, baths, _decumanus maximus_, the _pomerium_. It was also in this period that the section of wall being excavated was gradually abandoned, the structures partially robbed and covered by a landslide, and the area around the North Gate came to be occupied by a cemetery with masonry-built and “a cappuccina”, earth grave, and amphora burials.
    • In 2013, the research undertaken by the International Institute of Ligurian Studies concentrated on the western sector of the area of the north walls, occupied by the Porta Nord gate and a late antique cemetery. At the Porta Nord, the investigations revealed an ashy layer (US 3097) below the ground surface relating to the necropolis (US 3070) and a series of layers with a clay matrix (US 3090, 3095). The ashy layers were evidence of hearths or production areas, similar to those identified in the adjacent Cardo A during the 2011 excavations. The continuation of excavations in the late antique cemetery in area 4000 revealed a series of tombs of various types: T 12/311 (in amphora), T 17/316 (“a cappuccina” with a single-sloped covering abutting a wall), T18/317 (tile coffin), situated up against the north face of the town wall. The excavation confirmed the chronology of the two phases of use known to date (phase 1: mid-second half of the 5th century A.D.); phase 2: end of the 5th-6th century A.D.). There was an interesting change in the position of the body in T17, a young, perfectly preserved individual, orientated west-east, with the head to the west, the only example identified among the 40 burials excavated to date. Lastly, a stretch of a small road was uncovered to the south of room ‘O’. Carefully paved with gravel and bordered by two rows of cobbles, it ran on a diagonal with respect to the other structures of the villa. It was obliterated during the villa’s final occupation phase.
    • The 2014 excavations investigated the area occupied by the late antique cemetery by the Porta Nord, in the area of the north wall of the Roman city of _Albintimilium_. During this season, the chronology and phases of use for the cemetery area identified in sectors 4000 and 5000 excavated during previous seasons was checked. In addition, tomb 9/308 was excavated, a burial in a grave protected by low sidewalls, and adhering to the inner face of the city walls, containing an adult individual US 5062. A 15 m2 extension was opened continuing west of the excavation area. In the new area, four sarcophagi came to light below a series of levels relating to agricultural use documented from the end of the 13th century until the modern era, and abandonment levels. Made of Finale stone, only one still had its pitched lid with acroteri at the corners. The discovery of the sarcophagi made from Finale stone, documented for the first time in the late antique necropolis of _Albintimilium_, dated on the basis of local parallels and the stratigraphy to between the late 5th and the 6th century A.D., certainly constitutes important new evidence for the late antique cemetery at the Porta Nord. However, it is also of primary importance for the reconstruction of the first Christian occupation of the area, as well as being the westernmost evidence for such types of burial structures in Liguria.
    • The 2015 excavations involved the sector that was occupied, from the second half of the 5th century A.D. onwards, by the late antique cemetery situated north of the northern walls of the Roman city of _Albintimilium_, following the area’s abandonment and subsequent burial by a landslide from Collesgarba above and flooding from the Nervia torrent. The excavations were extended towards the west of the area under investigation, for an overall area of 40 m2, with the aim of completely exposing the four sarcophagi made of Finale stone that were partially excavated in 2014. The intention was also to further define and clarify the numerous anomalies in this zone shown by the geo-radar survey undertaken at the end of last season. Within the extended area, below a series of layers relating to the prolonged agricultural use of the area (US 5079, 5081, 5131, 5133 = phase II, 14th – 18th century), other layers post-dating the abandonment of the cemetery area (US 5097, 5101, 5102, 5112) were exposed, in which a series of trenches and pits were identified. These were the result of the violation of the sarcophagi and robbing of the walls in antiquity. The fill inside sarcophagus A was excavated. The lid had been removed in antiquity and it had been reused for several successive burials. In fact, the remains of at least seven individuals in secondary deposition and four in primary deposition (two sub-adults and two adults, one of which identifiable as female) were identified. The female burial US5182 presented the remains of personal ornament and clothing constituted by two “hoop” type earrings, a ring made of folded lamina, and a shield fibula, datable to the 6th-7th century A.D., for which parallels are being sought. This season, excavation also continued in sector 5000/2014 extension, exposing tomb 25/324 with a brick cover, abutting the north side of the wall. This was certainly reused for a later burial sealed by a cover of stone slabs US5140. A large robber pit on the west side of the North Gate was also identified, which had been dug in the same period to recover building materials from the walls.
    • The 2016 excavations explored the sector occupied, from the second half of the 5th century A.D. onwards, by the late antique cemetery situated north of the north wall of the Roman town of _Albintimilium_, west of the postern that opened in it. The excavation area was extended to the north to cover an overall area of about 100 m2, in order to completely expose sarcophagus no. 4, already partially revealed in 2014, and to identify other burials and/or structures belonging to the cemetery. Following the removal of a thick layer of modern humus (c. 1 m deep), a series of abandonment layers were identified, datable to between the late 6th and early 7th century, that had been the object of successive episodes of robbing. The removal of these layers exposed a new sector of the cemetery area in which six new stone sarcophagi were present, datable, like those identified in 2014, to the late 5th-6th century A.D. The six new sarcophagi, five of which certainly made of Finale stone, with their original pitched covers with corner acroteria, were still sealed. They were arranged in two parallel rows with the long side (average length 2.00/2.10 m) following the line of the wall and orientated east-west. Sarcophagus no.6 was of particular interest. It was made in a finer stone, perhaps from Provence, and characterised by a roof with a reduced pitch and corner and median acroteria, a rather rare type in Liguria. Sarcophagus no. 8 was also of interest, here a sort of mortar, sealing the lid to the coffin, was preserved and carefully spread and finished on the exterior. The fill of sarcophagi 1 and 2, discovered during preceding campaigns, was excavated. The tombs had already been disturbed in antiquity and their covers were missing. The original deposit was only preserved in some patches adhering to the bottom. The excavations also showed that the south side of sarcophagus 1 was badly damaged when it was broken into following the abandonment of the area during the 7th century.
    • Nel corso della campagna di scavo 2017 si è proceduto all’ampliamento verso nord-est dell’area oggetto delle indagini archeologiche per una superficie complessiva di circa mq. 120 (area 6000A), al fine di porre in luce completamente i sarcofagi in pietra di Finale nn. 9 e 10, già parzialmente scoperti nel corso del 2016, e di individuare eventuali altre sepolture e/o strutture riferibili al sepolcreto tardoantico in corso di scavo. Dopo aver rimosso uno spesso strato di humus moderno (ca. 1 metro), sono stati individuati una serie di livelli riferibili alla dismissione ed abbandono dell’area, databili tra la fine del VI e il VII secolo; la loro rimozione ha permesso la scoperta di un nuovo vasto settore dell’area cimiteriale che si presentava delimitato da due strutture murarie pressoché parallele (US 4137 e US 3104), aventi orientamento nord-sud, lunghe ca. 10/12 metri e larghe 50/80 cm, di cui non è stato ancora individuato il limite settentrionale. Il nuovo settore cimiteriale presenta al momento 12 tombe di diversa tipologia, in anfora, alla cappuccina, con copetura laterizia, non indagate in questa campagna di scavo. Nel settore situato tra il muro US 4137 e quello occupato dai sarcofagi è stato parzialemente posto in luce un probabile monumento funebre a carattere familiare, costituito da tre sepolture in muratura accostate tra di loro, finemente rivestite in cocciopesto e aventi orientamento nord-sud. Nel corso della campagna di scavo 2017 si è inoltre proceduto nell’area 6000 all’apertura e allo scavo antropologico dei resti umani conservati all’interno dei sarcofagi n. 6 e n. 8 già individuati nel 2016; il sarcofago n. 8, il cui coperchio era stato accuratamente sigillato alla cassa con uno spesso strato di malta lisciata, conservava una sola inumazione riferibile ad un individuo adulto di sesso maschile in mediocre stato di conservazione, mentre il sarcofago n. 6, l’unico dei dieci ritrovati in una tipologia litica differente di probabile provenienza provenzale, era caratterizzato dalla presenza di resti scheletrici riconducibili ad almeno 7 individui, sia adulti sia infantili, “riposizionati” in modo sistematico e accurato sopra un inumato il cui cranio appoggiava su un cuscino cefalico ottenuto ribassando il fondo della cassa litica e riferibile ad un individuo di sesso femminile in buono stato di conservazione. Entrambi i sarcofagi si presentavano privi di corredo.

Bibliography

    • D. Gandolfi, 2016, Ventimiglia (IM), indagini nell’area delle mura settentrionali e del sepolcreto tardo antico della Porta Nord, in “Archeologia classica e post-classica tra Italia e Mediterraneo. Scritti in ricordo di Maria Pia Rossignani”, a cura di S.L. Siena, C. Perassi, F. Sacchi, M. Sananzzaro, Milano: pp. 69-76.
    • GANDOLFI D., ANSALDO L., PETTIROSSI V., FERRARI C., Sarcofagi in pietra dal sepolcreto tardo antico della Porta Nord di Albintimilum (Ventimiglia, Liguria, Italia), in Sepolture di prestigio nel bacino del Mediterraneo. Definizione, immagini, utilizzo, Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Pella (NO), 28-30 giugno 2017, c.s.
    • GANDOLFI D., BONIFAY M., CAPELLI C., Anfore e ceramiche africane dallo scavo delle mura settentrionali di Albintimilium (Ventimiglia, Liguria), in LRCW6. International Conference on Late Roman Coarse Ware, Cooking Ware and Amphorae in the Mediterranean. Archaeology and Archaeometry, Agrigento, 24-28 maggio, 2017, c.s.
    • D. Gandolfi, 2003, Albintimilium (Ventimiglia). Area delle mura settentrionali, in Ligures 1, Bordighera: 251.
    • D. Gandolfi, 2004, Albintimilium (Ventimiglia). Area delle mura settentrionali, in Ligures 2, Bordighera: 331.
    • D. Gandolfi, 2005, Note sulla città tardoantica, in G. Mennella, D. Gandolfi, Un vescovo intemelio ritrovato, in Ligures 3, Bordighera: 9-13.
    • D. Gandolfi, 2006, Albintimilium (Ventimiglia). Area delle mura settentrionali, in Ligures 4, Bordighera: 213-214.
    • D. Gandolfi, 2008, Area delle mura settentrionali (Ventimiglia, Imperia), in Archeologia in Liguria 2004-2005, n.s., vol. 1, Genova: 240-241.
    • D. Gandolfi, 2009, Albintimilium (Ventimiglia). Area delle mura settentrionali, in “Ligures”, 7, Bordighera: 187-191.
    • D. Gandolfi 2010, Albintimilium (Ventimiglia). Area delle mura settentrionali, in Ligures 8, Bordighera: 249-254.
    • Gambaro L., Gandolfi D, Le necropoli di Albintimilium: topografia, pratiche e riti funerari. Status quaestionis e progetti di ricerca, pp. 5-68.
    • D. Gandolfi, c.s.d., Ventimiglia (IM), indagini nell’area delle mura settentrionali e del sepolcreto tardo antico della Porta Nord, in “Archeologia classica tra Italia e Mediterraneo in ricordo di Maria Pia Rossignani”, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano.
    • L. Gambaro, D. Gandolfi, 2012, Le necropoli di Albintimilium: topografia, pratiche e riti funerari. Status quaestionis e progetti di ricerca, in “Rivista di Studi Liguri”, LXXV-LXXVI, Bordighera, pp. 37-42.