• Palazzo della Regina
  • I Giardini
  • Betifulum
  • Italy
  • Abruzzo
  • Province of L'Aquila
  • Scanno


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 201 AD - 399 AD


    • The complex of the “Palazzo della Regina” is situated north of the area denominated “i Giardini” on the road linking Sulmona to Samnium. An inspection in the locality of “Lama Soriano” had already revealed the remains of walls and an _opus spicatum_ floor damaged by illegal excavations. At about 300 m further west, in the locality of “Giardino a caldo”, a complex of dry-stone structures had also be the object of clandestine digging. In 2013, trenches were opened in two areas that had been previously cleaned (2010-2011). _Trench 1, locality of Giardino a Caldo_ The excavations documented three phases of occupation and reuse of the site, datable to the 4th century A.D. and a later occupation phase. 1. The building and occupation of a dwelling, partially paved in terracotta slabs and roofed with tegulae and imbrices, that was destroyed by fire. A bronze coin of Constantine II was found in the burnt layer, which together with the preliminary study of the pottery suggests that phase 1 dates to no later than the 4th century A.D. 2. Reoccupation and construction of a new residential structure, paved in beaten earth, on top of the earlier one,. A fire also caused this structure to be abandoned. 3. Sporadic occupation on the site, perhaps as a temporary shelter. One of the interior walls of the earlier house was razed and a cooking plate was built on top of it with reused slabs. Following the definitive abandonment of the area a substantial landslide sealed the deposit. The preliminary pottery study for phases 2 and 3 suggest a date between the mid-end of the 4th century A.D. 4. A brief late occupation of the complex. A cut for the construction of a roughly built dry-stone wall cut the second phase abandonment and touched natural. No ancient materials were recovered. _Trench 2, locality of Lame Soriano_ The area is situated on a manmade terrace contained by a wall of irregular limestone blocks. The extension of the excavation area in 2011 revealed the edges of the partially preserved paving, and identified two adjacent rooms. Room I. This rectangular room was paved in _opus spicatum_. Modern robbing has reached the floor and walls, completely removing the abandonment and occupation layers inside the room. However, the type of paving and presumed original dimensions of the room suggests it was either a service structure or an outside area. The finds from the layers of dumped material, typologically very heterogeneous, were datable to the late imperial period (3rd-4th century A.D.). Room II was less disturbed by modern activities. It was adjacent to and later than room I in terms of relative chronology, as shown by an analysis of the walls. The final occupation layers in the room were excavated; a rubbish dump from the abandonment phase produced materials dating to the second half of the 4th century A.D.
    • Trench 1, locality of Giardino a Caldo The continuation of excavation below the later levels of abandonment and partial reoccupation of the site (phases 3 and 4) provided a better definition of the stratigraphic sequence relating to the first two occupation phases: 1a. The area was cleared and a house built on the natural terrain of which the south east corner was preserved, formed by two connecting dry-stone walls. A first floor surface made of terracotta slabs, excavated this season, was in phase with these walls. The make-up for the floor lay directly on natural. 1b. The floor and its make-up were cut and a new floor surface laid, corresponding with the terracotta slabs identified last season. Further west a beaten earth surface was created, perhaps an indication of an area with a different function. 2. In this phase, two structures were built on the destruction levels of the earlier house. The first, to the west, was attested by a wall of stones bonded with mortar and the reuse of the earlier beaten earth floor surface. The second, to the east, was delimited by a similar wall and at least partially paved, attested by a patch of mortar make-up and ceramic fragments. The space between the two structures was occupied by the roof collapse from the earlier structure. The pottery finds dates phases 1 – 3 top between the 4th and 6th centuries A.D. Località Lame Soriano Cleaning was undertaken along the south slope of the Colle di Caccialepre, which made it possible to document the digging undertaken in 1990 to channel local spring water. Pottery fragments and skeletal remains – an adult male and two young individuals, no more than 16 years of age – spread in several points on the floor surface at the base of the modern cut and with clear signs of recent fractures, attested a disturbed burial site. A burial in an earth grave, situated immediately to the west and partially cut by the modern digging was also identified. The preliminary analyses on the teeth and skeletal remains confirmed that the two sub-adults were aged between 14 and 16 years, and one was probably a female. No pathological alterations were present in the cortical and subcortical skeletal tissue such as indicators of stress, episodes of malnutrition or trauma suffered _intra_ _vitam_. The teeth presented peridontal pathology and medium ware of the enamel. The unauthorised digging had cut the grave, removing its southern edge. Only a few pottery fragments and part of what was probably a silver earring were recovered from the burial.
    • Trench 1, locality of Giardino a Caldo Continuation of the research in the eastern part of the trench, below the levels of abandonment and modern re-occupation (phases 3 and 4), provided further clarification of the sequence relating to the second occupation phase, identifiable with the building of a partially-paved stone and mortar structure. This was attested by a patch of floor found in 2014 in the south-eastern corner of the trench, bedded above the east perimeter wall of the phase 1 structure. The layers above this wall contained pottery and metal finds, including a bronze fibula with foliate bow. The stratigraphic evidence suggests the presence of a possible boundary between two different areas or rooms. At present it is not possible to establish whether this zone was outside or inside the structure, of which neither the extension or layout is known. In 2015, it was decided to halt the excavation above the phase 1 levels. The complex dates to between the 4th and 6th centuries A.D. Locality of Lame Soriano Cleaning along the south slope of the Colle di Caccialepre documented the excavations carried out in 1990 in order to tap the local springs. GPS point 1: three inhumation burials were identified in this area that were part of an “a grotticella” tomb (grotticella 1) removed by mechanical digger in the last century. Pottery fragments and bones from the same context were recovered in the area. Along the slope, about five metres west of GPS point 1, a second “a grotticella” tomb (grotticella 2) was discovered, this time intact. The tomb had a trapezoidal plan, on an east-west alignment with a south-facing entrance, and _dromos_ aligned north-south sloping downwards following the line of the hill. Skeletal remains, pottery fragments and two strigils were found in the partially excavated corridor. The tomb entrance was sealed by a dry-stone diaphragm. The cavity contained a burial in primary deposition (deposition 2) and two reductions, situated in the south-western corner of the tomb (deposition 1) and in correspondence with the north-western corner/north wall (deposition 3). Deposition 1: four crania and other skeletal remains were placed around and above a jar. The remains included several femurs, on one of which a bronze wire armlet had been placed. Beside the femur was a bronze strigil with iron handle. Deposition 2: this was the burial in primary deposition of an adult male, placed on an east-west alignment in the centre of the tomb. The tomb group comprised a jar, three balsamarii and an iron ring. Deposition 3: the remains of several adults and a foetus; an iron strigil partially covered one femur. The removal of the archaeological deposit revealed channels cut into the limestone bedrock running east-west, in front of the northern part of the tomb.
    • _Trench 1, Locality of Giardino a Caldo_ This season, excavations in trench 1 did not continue the work that concluded in 2015 above the phase 1 levels. The complex dates to between the 4th and 6th century A.D. Surface survey undertaken on the slopes south of trench 1 revealed the presence of terracing systems (walls of irregular blocks of local limestone), probably connected with agricultural activities. The structures were photographed and geo-referenced. Numerous fragments of proto-historic impasto pottery (_dolia_) were collected during the survey, including a rim datable to the 8th century B.C. _Locality of Lama Soriano_ Excavation continued in the corridor leading into the ‘a grotticella’ tomb (grotticella 2), only partially investigated in 2015. The excavations halted in correspondence with the southern edge of the terrace (southern entrance to the _dromos_), altered by modern interventions. The corridor, 2.90 m long and 0.85 m wide, was aligned north-south and sloped slightly to the south. It was entirely cut into the calcareous breccias, to a maximum depth of 0.90 m. The floor of the burial chamber was higher than that of the _dromos_, and presented a niche in correspondence with the entrance, probably created to aid the drainage of the bodily fluids. Two flat surfaced calcareous stones placed in the _dromos_ next to the niche may have formed the threshold. Both the entrance to the funerary chamber (north entrance), and the corridor’s southern entrance had moulded jambs. The latter was sealed by a rectangular hearth and an accumulation of stones positioned at the end of the last burial. The occupation layers in the corridor contained numerous skeletal remains (adult and infant), faunal remains, pottery fragments, a number of iron objects – including several nails, a fragmentary fibula and a strigil that was ritually broken and bent – and an intact bronze razor. The materials were mainly concentrated in the central part of the corridor and in front of the burial chamber’s entrance, lying among calcareous stones. The complete removal of the deposit inside the _dromos_ revealed the presence of a cut in the bedrock perpendicular to the corridor’s axis (0.85 m long, max. width 0.10 m, depth 0.25 cm), that probably served as the housing for a closing slab, later removed and not reused. During the investigations, the calcareous slope west of grotticella 2 was cleaned exposing an area c. 20 m long and 2 m high. Traces of a substantial landslide were documented, whose impact altered the zone’s morphology (accumulation of sediments and detritus, some of notable size) and obliterated an inhumation burial in a simple rock-cut grave. Partially articulated skeletal remains, that had presumably sipped down from the slope, were recorded and recovered south of the cut, at a depth of c. 1.50 m below present ground level.


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