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Excavation

  • Villa del Capo di Sorrento
  • Sorrento
  • Surrentum

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    Credits

    • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

      MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

      ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

      AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

    • AIAC_logo logo

    Summary (English)

    • As in the previous years, the 2019 season continued stratigraphical investigations on the pars maritima and the terraces on the slopes above (fig. 1). A large trench was opened on the eastern part of the basis villae (f, fig. 2). Excavation work of the large structure bordering the northern limit of the second terrace was carried out in several places (fig. 1, 4). Geo-archaeological investigations conducted by Mohsen Makki and Jan Lentschke comprised core drillings and palinological research complementary to the archaeological exploration of the Roman terraces.

      For a better understanding of the architectural layout of the upper storey the large area f (fig. 2, 3) on the eastern part of the basis villae was partially unearthed. Remnants of the lower stratum of a severely damaged pavement running along the room’s walls were discovered, thus confirming that f is to be considered rather a roofed hall than an open court. A considerable amount of broken marble plates were found within the strata above the pavement. These were of various colours and clearly belonged to the room’s flooring as testified for room o by the mortar beddings of an opus sectile marble pavement. Thus, important information regarding the relation of the rooms (g, n, i, o, h) between hall f and the quadriporticus a were gained. As indicated by the door opening on the north-western corner of hall f and the complete opening between hall f and room i, the architectural layout of this area closely resembles the plans of the Villa of the Papyri and Villa di San Marco.

      A massive opus caementitium structure with large limestone caementa appeared below the collapsed parts of the floor. This is comparable to the foundation walls of the opus incertum phase which were discovered on the pars maritima during the past seasons. Clearly, the large structure had been set on the limestone rock in order to sustain substantial architecture. Later, during the opus reticulatum phase, it was partially demolished and built over by the basis villae. This confirms the results from the previous campaigns, giving further proof of an older villa possibly dating to the beginnings of the first or even second century B.C.

      At a later date, after the erection of the medieval chapel of Santa Fortunata and probably before the construction of the watch tower, area f was used as a cemetery by cutting tombs into the pavement. One of these contained the skeletal remains of a human of undetermined sex.

      Excavation of the large structure bordering the second terrace (figs. 1 and 4) was continued, unearthing additional parts of the pavements carrying limestone mosaics, walls, and foundations. These new structures largely revised our notion of the entire complex. Firstly, as we assumed in 2018, an access composed of a broad ramp in north western direction leads up to the structure from the eastern cliff of the cape. A portion of a tall reticulatum-faced wall in north-south orientation remains some few meters to the east of this ramp. Here the ramp turned towards the maritime part and at some lower point joined with the ambulatio . At its western end, having reached the level of the second terrace, the ramp merges with the pavement leading along the northern border of the structure.

      In the centre of this construction a part of a massive foundation in opus caementitium_ proceeding towards the south was found (fig. 4). Considering its different orientation and its dimensions, it surely must have sustained more than the scarce remains of pavements and walls. The continuation of the foundation in southern direction is yet unknown. Future excavations will clarify its original form and function. To date, only some hypothetical remarks can be made concerning the overall layout of the second terrace. We obviously must account for a diversified use of the different transitional and non-transitional elements of this monument. The discovery of several ollae perforatae (fig. 5) found in situ along the eastern side of this foundation offers further insights into the general layout of this part of the villa. The small planting pots flanking the ramp and the corridor with its eastern corner delineate the borders of an ornamental garden. Its extension to the south and possible inner partition will be explored in future campaigns. It is already obvious that the representative buildings of the villa complex reached well beyond the maritime parts, probably culminating in the superstructures of the enormous cistern on the third terrace, which we consider to be the domus of the entire estate.

    • Wolfgang Filser - Humboldt Universität zu Berlin 
    • Christoph Klose - Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena 

    Director

    • Stephan G. Schmid - Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

    Team

    • Christoph Klose - Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
    • Michaela Reinfeld – DAI Berlin
    • Wolfgang Filser - Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
    • Jan Lentschke - Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
    • Mohsen Makki - Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

    Research Body

    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

    Funding Body

    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

    Images

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