• Campo Santa Maria
  • Amiternum
  • Santa Maria di Amiternum
  • Italy
  • Abruzzo
  • Province of L'Aquila
  • L'Aquila


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 100 AD - 1299 AD


    • The archaeological investigations have provided the evidence for a reconstruction of the settlement dynamics from the full imperial period until the late 13th century A.D. A building datable to the full imperial period was identified at the northern edge of the excavation area. The structure was on a north-west/south-east alignment. Only one of its perimeter walls (USM 11) was found, built in _opus mixtum-reticulatum_, with brick courses alternating with limestone blocks, and an offset of circa 10 cm. The wall was faced with painted plaster: black bands on red and yellow backgrounds. Soon after its construction the building was extended to the south with the addition of another wall about 70 cm wide (USM 12), built in _opus mixtum incertum_. Inside the first abandonment layer in this room (US 104), constituted by very dark material, rich in charcoal and animal bones, was a context overlying the floor containing finds datable to the full 4th century A.D. This supports the hypothesis that the 246/347 A.D. earthquake caused the room to be abandoned. Moreover, a homogeneous context dating to the end of the 4th century A.D. was found within a layer made up almost exclusively of a collapse of painted wall plaster fragments lying directly on the mortar surface. The context also contained a lamp. The layers covering the stratigraphy described above (US 70 and 40) produced pottery and coins that have been ascribed a preliminary date of between the 5th and 6th century. Thereafter, this area was gradually buried, without being definitively abandoned. During the 8th-9th century, wall USM 11 was replaced to the north-west by a wall (USM 19) with a foundation offset and standing structure of rough stones, while during the 10th-11th century a semicircular structure (USM 13) was built at about 2 m to the south-west. During the course of the 12th century, the building to which this room belonged was abandoned and destroyed by the creation of a series of rectangular ditches about 180x60 cm. Running parallel to each other and the same distance apart, they were filled by abundant accumulations of stones, brick and tile fragments and lumps of mortar. The removal of these accumulations revealed a number of empty pits, dug for burials but never used by the community occupying the area during the 12th-13th century. There was no evidence of coeval structures. However, the quantity and quality of the ceramic table and cooking wares found, the quality of the glass fragments, the number of contemporary coins and butchered animal bones, as well as clear indicators of the presence of a bell-casting pit (still to be found), attest the existence in the 12th-13th century of a large and wealthy community here. The discovery of numerous human bones in layers that were heavily disturbed by ploughing, and the presence of two badly disturbed inhumation burials, attests the existence of a larger cemetery in the area. The total absence of any pottery later than plain ware with combed _a stuoia_ decoration or sparse glaze ware (ascribable to the 11th-13th century) confirms the site’s abandonment after this period.
    • A reconstruction of the settlement dynamics from the full imperial period until the late 13th century has been made on the basis of the excavation results: two buildings of imperial date were identified during the previous campaign, separated by a perimeter wall running east-west. (USM 11), The earliest building lay to the north, while a second, slightly later, lay between the wall USM 11 and a parallel wall situated at 3.80 m to the south (USM 12). The extension of the excavation area towards the east exposed an exedra 3.5 m wide that joined wall USM 12. Following the removal of a substantial build up of modern material caused by the intense agricultural work in the area during the second part of the last century, a thick layer of soil mixed with gravel, rubble, stones, chips, _cubilia_, architectural fragments, brick and tile fragments (US 232) that contained a large quantity of combed plain ware pottery datable to the second half of the 13th century. When this layer was removed a series of rectangular pits emerge (US -270, -271, -272, -273) filled with rubble and stones (US 235, 236, 237, 238, 239), probably to be associated with those identified during the previous campaign on the northern excavation edge, as well as several limestone blocks from architectural elements belonging to the classical and medieval buildings in the area, and deep holes (US -354, -355, -352, -351, -360, -340, -266), interpreted as robber trenches for the removal of materials used for the construction of the town of L’Aquila or other nearby structures. One of these (US 354) intercepted and destroyed a circular wall (USM 306) faced on the inside with waterproof _opus_ _signinum_ (USR 307), which has not yet been excavated and it is therefore difficult to say whether it was a tank belonging to the imperial _domus_ or one of the medieval religious complexes. The removal of the stratigraphy relating to the 13th century robbing brought to light the crests of walls belonging to buildings of various date and function, all heavily affected by the robbing and agricultural activity mentioned above. The classical and Hellenistic structures were covered by medieval structures such as USM 252 that covered the remains of wall USM 514, probably in phase with the semicircular apse identified a few metres away from wall USM 400-293, but to which it does not directly link due to the presence of a wall of imperial date (USM 250) that both abut; and wall USM 299 covered in turn by wall USM 249, which abuts the exedra of imperial date (USM 251). A series of structures uncovered at the eastern edge of the excavation: a semicircular exedra (USM 400-293, 256), structures blocking its basin (USM 254, 334) and three walls (USM 416, 417 and 375), the first aligned north-south and the other two extending at right angles from its ends, running east and continuing beyond the excavation edge, which form a quadrangular structure or enclosure. In addition, the excavations uncovered 24 inhumations of infants and adults of both sexes.
    • Based on the excavation results, a reconstruction has been made of the settlement dynamics from the full imperial period until the late 13th century, when following its abandonment the site was systematically robbed. Previous campaigns brought to light the walls of a _domus_ of imperial date and the apse of a cult building datable to the 7th century A.D. The _domus_ comprised at least two buildings, the earlier situated north-east of the south-west perimeter wall of the building (USM 11), while the second, slightly later, lay between the wall USM 11 and its parallel situated at 3.80 m to the south-west (USM 12), linked by an exedra 3.5 m wide (USM 351), that joined wall USM 12=250 to the south-east. The cult building had an apse (USM 400-293) 5 m in diameter, aligned north-west. It was connected to the building’s back wall, to two small pillars forming the imposts of the side arches dividing the nave from the side aisles, and to the structures of a presbyterial enclosure or a “_schola_ _cantorum_” situated on the same axis as the apse. This season’s excavations uncovered the apse of another cult building that pre-dates the first by at least a century. It has the same dimensions and alignment but is situated c. 8 m further north-west. A large circular tank/vat with a diameter of 2.20 m (US 306) was found in correspondence with the cord of the apse. It was lined with _opus_ _signinum_ (USR 307) and had at least two steps. A drainage channel (USM 638) was connected to the tank which, sloping slightly, led down towards the structures of the imperial _domus_ situated to the north-east (USM 12). A coin of Atalaric, minted between 526 and 534 A.D., was recovered from the fill of the channel (US 641). A second tank (USM 314) was probably connected to the same drainage channel. This tank was situated in the small apse that partially blocked the long room belonging to the _domus_ (Area 2, USM 11, 2, 250, 251). The structures in question were damaged in the 12th century when the entire settlement underwent a substantial reorganisation with the addition of another storey that was identified and excavated during the previous campaigns. The chronology for the abandonment and robbing phases for the whole complex falls between the late 13th century and the mid 14th century.
    • The 2015 campaign concentrated on the area occupied by buildings B and C, datable to the 5th-7th centuries. The first, and earliest, contained a rectangular vat inside the apse (USM 314). It had a waterproof lining _opus_ _signinum_ and a lead pipe for draining the water it contained (US 639), positioned slightly off-centre to the north-west. The second, certainly pre-dating the 7th century, contained a large circular vat (USM 306), also waterproofed with _opus_ _signinum, abutting the north-west side wall of building B, reused as the foundation for the semicircular apse (USM 304-541) of building C. Both vats drained, via two separate stone and mortar channels positioned at a right angle (USM 636, 638), towards a sump (USM 315). A coin of Leone I (a.a. 457-474), found in the drain of the circular vat in building C, dates the baptismal structure to at least the last quarter of the 5th century, and therefore also the church housing it. As no certain attributes have been found, it is not yet possible to assert that building C was a cathedral, although it seems to coincide chronologically with the presence of bishop Quodvultdeus at Amiternum, at least as the builder of the mausoleum of the martyr Vittorino in the catacombs of the same name. However, the baptismal function of the scared space is clear. The anomalous position of the circular vat (USM 306) on the central axis of the church at the entrance to the apse (USM 304-541), raises questions about parallels with examples in Dalmatia and, in particular, North Africa. This could be taken as evidence of a specific baptismal liturgy centred on the church presbytery, which it is known was a parish church prior to the first attestation in 850, following the suppression of the bishopric, probably the consequence of the murder of bishop Ceteo by the Lombards in about 604. In fact, there was settlement and ecclesiastical continuity at least from the 5th century until the mid 10th century and again from the mid 11th until the end of the 14th century. There was possibly a brief interruption from the years preceding the inspection by Dietrich, bishop of Metz, in about 970, until the reconstruction of building A in the 11th century. The structures in question were damaged during the 12th century, when the entire settlement was substantially reorganised, while the abandonment and robbing phases of the entire complex can be dated to between the late 13th and the mid 14th centuries.
    • Le indagini della cattedrale di _Amiternum_ hanno restituito almeno 10 periodi di attività succedutisi dal primo insediamento di epoca classica (una domus di I secolo a.C.) fino alla realizzazione degli edifici religiosi e al loro definitivo abbandono (XIV secolo). _Periodo I_: La fase più antica della _domus_ è costituita da due ambienti paralleli tra loro, separati da un corridoio esterno e suddivisi in vani pavimentati in modo differente, con mosaici a tessere bianche, lastre di marmo rosa e _opus sectile_. All’interno del corridoio esistente viene realizzata una conduttura idrica, probabilmente collegata alla cloaca individuata lungo il paramento di uno dei muri (USM 321). _Periodo II_: Le strutture dei due ambienti della prima fase vengono successivamente abbandonate e sostituite da due muri paralleli tra loro (USM 11 e 12), leggermente declinati a NE. Il nuovo edificio, che condizionerà l’andamento delle successive fabbriche realizzate nell’area, decreta l’abbandono del precedente impianto, riutilizzato parzialmente come fondazione e obliterato dalla nuova pavimentazione. _Periodo III:_ Poco dopo l’abbandono della _domus_ (seconda metà del IV secolo), si assiste a un recupero sistematico dell’area, asportando le stratigrafie fino a riportare alla luce parte della canalizzazione (US 1108), che viene riutilizzata. È in questa fase (tardo IV secolo d.C.) che viene realizzata l’esedra USM 314 relativa al primo edificio di culto cristiano (Edificio B), riutilizzando la canaletta per lo scarico delle acque reflue. L’edificio riutilizza alcune strutture della domus (USM 795, 12, 305, e anche la pavimentazione a mosaico US 777), usando come facciata l’USM 768. _Periodo IV_: Nel corso del V-VI secolo si assiste a una trasformazione di questo spazio (Edificio C) con l’impianto del grande fonte battesimale (USM 306–307), che oblitera l’originaria facciata (USM 768), e con la realizzazione dell’esedra in appoggio al paramento N dell’USM 305 e speculare al fonte ora detto (USM 304-541). _Periodo V_: Il muro laterale E dell’Edificio B (USM 300) viene riutilizzato nel corso del VII secolo per la realizzazione dell’abside dell’Edificio A (USM 400-293): una basilica a tre navate che si estende verso SE. _Periodo VI-VIII_: Nel corso dei secoli successivi (fine VIII – inizi IX) l’Area 6 (Edificio B ed Edificio C) perde la sua funzione di battistero, diventando un ambiente esterno nel quale si imposta un’area cimiteriale. L’Edificio A, a tre navate scandite da pilastri e colonne, continua a vivere invariato fino al IX secolo, quando si assiste al restringimento dello spazio liturgico limitatamente alla sola navata centrale, e all’impianto di una _schola cantorum_ decorata con lastre in intreccio vimineo bisolcato. _Periodo IX_: Durante le fasi medievali (XI-XII secolo) i muri laterali dell’edificio vengono inglobati nelle fondazioni di un ulteriore edificio liturgico (USM 255, 253). A questa fase di frequentazione appartengono la fossa fusoria per campane individuata a W nell’Area 5 (US -966) e l’area cimiteriale mai utilizzata (Area 5 e 7). _Periodo X_: L’ultima fase di frequentazione (XIV secolo) consiste nelle sistematiche operazioni di spoglio che hanno rimosso gran parte del bacino stratigrafico esistente.
    • The excavation results made it possible to reconstruct the site’s settlement dynamics from the full imperial period until the 14th century, when the abandoned site was systematically robbed. Previous campaigns revealed the walls of an imperial _domus_ with several phases, and the aspe areas of two cult buildings, one dating to the 6th and the other to the 7th century A.D. The 2017 campaign concentrat6ed on the area originally occupied by the main body of the 7th century church (Building A), whose apse was investigated during the 2013-2016 seasons. Work continued on the three stratigraphic deposits clearly divided and delimited by the surviving walls: Area 4: constituted by the central nave of Building A and delimited by the blocking that closed the apse to the north (USM 254) and the arches of the side aisles (USM 253 to the east and 255 to the west); Areas 3, 3b and 8: constitute the original NE side aisle of Building A, bordered to the NW by the exedra belonging to the second phase of the _domus_ (USM 251) and a structure belonging to the same building (USM 280), to the SW by the blocking of the lateral arches datable to the 9th-10th century phases (USM 252) and the late medieval narrowing of the 11th-12th century (USM 253), and to the NE by the structures attributable to another building of the classical period (USM 918), which remains to be completely investigated. The original NE side aisle of Building A was subdivided into three areas as walls USM 245 and 923, identified during previous campaigns, delimited three distinct stratigraphic deposits. The apse (USM 400-293), the rear wall (USM 256), the impost pilasters of the side aisles (USM 514 to the E and USM 508 to the W), two column base with torus moulding identified as a dividing element between the central nave and the W side aisle (USM 517 and 1088), and the two columns still _in_ _situ_, which sparated the central nave from the NE aisle (USM 1123 and 1124) can be attributed to the first phase of building A (7th century). The pilaster (USM 1125), c. 2 m wide, identified at the south-eastern end of the excavation area, on the continuation of wall USM 253, can also be attributed to Building A. The blocking of the arches separating the central nave from the NE aisle (USM 515 and 1087, 1393) can be attributed to the 9th-10th century phases. In the 12th-13th century phases, the church building in Area 4 was narrowed, causing the side aisles to become external when the new lateral walls (USM 253 and 255), c. 2 m wide, together with the new transverse wall (USM 932) that may be considered a moving back of the facade or a division between the _quadratum_ _populi_ and _quadratum_ _cleri_ were built.
    • During this campaign, excavations were limited to areas 8, 4, and 5, the nave and left aisle of the church (Building A) and the south-western part of Building F. The results provided a more accurate picture of the 14 occupation periods identified for the site. Pending the continuation of excavations, a comparison between the most complete contexts made it possible to interpret the clear traces of working present in the central part of Building F (Area 5) and the aisle of Building A (Room 3), as activities associated with the dismantling of public or private imperial structures in order to recover metals to be reused in the construction of new Christian buildings or melted down for trade, practices well-attested in other Italian contexts. The work area investigated in Room 3 may be interpreted as the zone where the recovered objects and furnishings were melted down and used in the working of copper alloys. The furnace floor (1290, 1374, 1376, 1382, 1392) could be identified as the furnace used for melting down metal, while several reddened and carbonised circular patches may constitute the remains of forges (1289, 1305, 1351). The absence of earlier walls, contrary to what was documented in Area 5, and post holes for supporting a roof, suggest that this was an outdoor work space, which is for that matter an indispensable condition when re-melting metals. The part of Building F where the same activities took place (Area 5), may have been used for forging or reforging iron. In fact, analysis of the traces preserved in the soil, the size of the work area, and the finds coincide with what has been documented in Tuscan contexts associated with metalworking. The large amount of slag found in the adjacent room, whose only entrance was blocked prior to this activity, shows that the walls of Building F were already demolished or partially razed during the 5th century, but not so far as to prevent adequate protection, integrated with temporary structures, for the work areas. Only one posthole (1434) was found for the roof, therefore, the walls must have been at least partially standing, as the roofing would have been partially present in order to provide the shade necessary for recognising the temperature reached by the metal in the forge, but allowing space for the fumes to escape. Therefore, following its change in function, the room to the south-west was used exclusively for dumping slag and waste products from the production. This particular differentiation in the use of rooms in the same building may also explain the different state of preservation of the mosaic floors, with the one to the south-west being very well-preserved.


    • Alfonso Forgione - Roberto Campanella - Enrico Siena. 2021. Gli impianti metallurgici di Campo Santa Maria ad Amiternum: indicatori della destrutturazione della città antica e dei suoi spazi tra V e VI secolo d.C. . FOLD&R Italy: 502.


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