A campaign of excavation and geomorphological documentation took place on the maritime villa of Capo Sorrento at Sorrento (Na).
Excavation took place in the pars rustica and the pars maritima of the entire complex. Within the pars rustica, situated in an olive grove owned by the council, a 2015 trench was reopened in correspondence with the terracing wall of the so-called domus of the villa. A white limestone block was exposed, interpretable as the foundation of a floor from one of the villa’s occupation phases.
In the pars maritima , once the vegetation was cleared, the structures in the area of the so-called “ramp” emerged, that is the sector in the system of ramps situated south-east of the villa parallel to the natural grotto. Here, it was possible to identify a complex system of connecting ramps that from the upper peristyle led to the pars rustica and the calcareous platform to the south-east. The open-air ramps, attached to opus reticulatum walls made of yellow Neapolitan tufa, were connected as far as the calcareous platform in the direction of the sea and were over 10 m long. This system places a new accent on the ways in which the pars rustica and the pars maritima were linked.
The monumental character of the ramp recalls similar systems, for example the one at Villa_Jovis_ on Capri, where the changes in level in the terrain were exploited using ramp systems built on several levels. Excavations also took place in rooms W4 and W5 of the pars maritima (numbering taken from the plan made by P. Mingazzini- F. Pfister Surrentum, Florence 1946) facing the villa’s north facade. In room W5, the investigation began in the sector between the opus vittatum mixtum pillars where a layer of collapse was excavated that contained pottery finds relating to the villa phase, in addition to tufa blocks and tile that were the same as the materials used in the pillars. Traces of a kiln were found in this layer. The excavation inside room W5 revealed important evidence both in phase with the masonry-built pillar foundations at the centre of the room, and relating to the abandonment phase of the complex. In front of room W5, a corridor was excavated with two specific sondages in the north-western corner of the villa and along the north corridor. These trenches produced further evidence regarding the moment of the villa’s construction thanks to the discovery in the southern part of the corridor of two foundation walls in opus caementicium with materials in phase with the villa present within the layers associated with the building of the walls.
These excavations, which in part sought to document structures previously excavated, but unpublished, by the German Archaeological Institute, Rome, provided important evidence for dating the villa’s construction and destruction. Following the excavations a short campaign of geomorphological investigation was carried out by Humboldt University’s Geography Institute. Core samples were taken in the pars rustica from which important data emerged regarding the rock formation and the Roman floor remains below the modern gardens covering the ancient terraces of the villa’s fundus. Even more significant was the data obtained from geophysical surveys that provided precise information about the large area of the pars rustica, which will be of great use for the 2017 excavations.
- Wolfgang Filser- Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
- Maria Rosaria Perrella- Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
- Stephan Schmid- Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
- Angelika Walther - Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
- Christoph Klose - Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
- Jan Lentshke
- Mohsen Makki
- Bernhard Fritsch - Topoi Berlin
- Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
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