• Castello di Cucagna
  • Faedis
  • Castello Di Cucagna
  • Italy
  • Friuli Venezia Giulia
  • Udine
  • Faedis


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  • 1000 AD - 1600 AD


    • Excavations at Cucagna castle, undertaken in 2001-2002 by Paola Lopreato of the Soprintendenza, are at present being continued by the Humboldt-Universität. The castle was built in the 11th century and was closely linked to the castle of Zucco, built by the same family in 1248 on the slopes of the same hill, with the aim of protecting the earlier castle to which it was connected by a wall. Cucagna castle comprises a tower flanked by the remains of a first residential building to which were added a second residence, a church, a cistern, a containing wall for the upper courtyard and a third, so-called “lower” residence. Inside the castle, two trenches placed at the foot of the entrance to the tower brought to light the remains of a wall on a SE-NW alignment which sprang from the tower’s foundations together with three square pilasters. These elements probably supported wooden structures used as a portico and as a support for a stairway up to the tower. The lowest occupation level contained many finds including pottery (archaic majolica, graffito ware, coarse ware etc.) dating to the 14th an 15th centuries. Two other trenches dug in the east room of the phase two residence revealed a collapse, an earlier destruction layer characterised by bricks and opus signinum from the remains of a pavement and an occupation level which the pottery (archaic majolica, invetriata lionata, slipped ware etc.) dates to between the 14th and 15th centuries. The removal of vegetation and surface cleaning in the wood led to the identification of the remains of a square building (sides 6.40m). Numerous surface finds dating to the 14th and 15th centuries were recovered. Also within the wood the connecting wall between the two castles was cleaned for a length of c.27m. It had an average width of 1.10m and only one course, without mortar, survives. (Isabel Ahumada Silva)
    • In 2006 the sixth excavation campaign was undertaken at the Castle of Cuccagna. The excavations were, for the fourth year running, run by the Humboldt Universität, Philosophische Fakultät I-Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften Ur-und Frühgeschichte of Berlin. The 2006 investigation looked at an internal area of lower palace IIIa with an open area excavation. The exterior was investigated through a trench placed in correspondence with the NW corner of the same palace. The lower palace, called III, is formed by the original building (IIIa) which was later enlarged to the south-east (IIIb). The first nucleus is dated to the end of the 13th century and the extension can be placed within the first quarter of the 14th century. The interior was divided into six adjoining quadrants in order to alternate excavation work with recording. In all quadrants a level of collapse and showing evidence of fire destruction covered the occupation levels and pavements which had suffered fire damage. The floors were made up of clay and mortar, resting on natural clay and bedrock. The constant and abundant presence of archaic majolica in the occupation levels gives a 14th century date, thus confirming the suggested date for the construction of palace III. Moreover, the military character of the complex is attested by the presence of arms (heads for crossbow arrows) and elements of armour (laminae from breastplates and an armoured glove). In the external trench a series of layers, both of collapse and occupation were documented which contained an abundance of pottery and metal finds. An important find was that of the remains of part of the castle’s perimeter wall which links to the palace wall (nucleus IIIb). (Isabel Ahumada Silva)
    • The ninth season of excavations undertaken by Albert-Ludwigs, the University of Freiburg at the castle of Cuccagna. _Palazzo IV_ This imposing structure built on the south-western slope below Palazzo III, was identified during the 2008 excavations. This year’s season brought to light the entire structure which, like Palazzo III, was constituted by the main body (6.80 x 9.25 m) uphill and an extension circa 5.00 m wide in a downhill direction. On the south and north sides joins to the curtain walls and gate defences were documented, whilst downhill (west) the building was freestanding. The floor surface was sealed by a layer of clay overlying the bedrock. In the main part of the structure several floor surfaces and occupation levels were excavated following the removal of the upper layers of collapse and abandonment, in particular a thick sandy-line deposit, attesting later reuse for lime production, a hard beaten lime surface, replaced or repaired in several places, of late medieval date, and lastly the original 14th century floor paved with vertically-set ashlar blocks. The surface of half of the extension towards the west had been excavated during the 2008 season. In 2009 the remaining surface area was excavated in order to define the structure’s exact perimeter. As was seen in 2008, the archaeological deposit in Palazzo IV had not been disturbed by modern interventions. Important metal artefacts were recovered such as keys, buckles, crossbow bolts and two locks either from doors or chests. The end of the occupation period had already been documented by the find of two coins, a dinaro of Ludwig I of Hungary (1342-1383) and an extremely rare example of a piccolo, minted by his direct adversary in Friuli, the pro-Roman patriarch Philippe of Alencon (1381-1387, at one time Patriarch of Jerusalem, died 1397, investiture at Aquileia in 1382). _The area between I and II ditches_ The widening of the section dug at the centre of the raised area between the first and second ditch in the previous year to a surface of 5.00 x 4.60 m revealed the presence of three post holes. A fourth post hole had been obliterated by the presence of a large root. The three holes indicated that the timber structure would have been circa 4.20 x 3.90 m in size. The initial hypothesis suggesting that the island could have been occupied by a wooden fortress prior to the construction of the castle could not be confirmed as none of the few archaeological finds from the silt layer covering the bedrock could be dated to before the 14th century. At the foot of the “island” towards the east a more or less flat terrace almost free of trees had been identified during the 2008 season. After the removal of the surface layer over an area of 8.00 x 4.00 m two sections 60 cm wide were excavated. The bedrock was covered by a layer of clay 30-40 cm thick, containing fragments of pottery, glass, animal bone, shells, brick, terracotta, mortar and a few metal finds.
    • _Area inside Palazzo I_: A small square (13 m2) was opened in order to see whether there was any evidence for foundation plinths on which the timber pillars supporting the first floor would have rested, and to look for evidence of the floors of palazzo I in the entrance area. A stepped ramp built of stone slabs was uncovered. This had been patched with opus signinum in two places, probably to replace missing or worn slabs. The ramp covered the change in height of 80-90 cm between the entrance and adjacent rooms to the east. A stretch of masonry foundation was also uncovered. Possibly a transverse dividing wall, it abutted the south-eastern perimeter wall without being toothed into it. It could simply have been a surface on which a timber partition rested, or a stone dividing wall, which reached up to the timber ceiling, given that it was situated in correspondence with the ancient doorway leading to the first floor. A raised paved surface was uncovered between the ramp and the south-eastern perimeter wall. The roughly placed stone blocks formed a quadrangular uneven surface. At approximately the centre was a hole for a timber post, as attested by remains of carbonised wood. For the moment, the function of this structure remains uncertain. A double layer of compact clay overlying a rocky surface constituted the floor surface in the entrance area. The collapsed material removed from on top of the floor contained bricks between 4-5 cm thick, indicating that the first floor was constituted by solid bricks resting on timber planks. _The area between the 1st and 2nd ditches_: Trench II, opened in 2008, was enlarged to the south and east during the 2011 campaign. This was done in order to facilitate the conservation and restoration of the walls of the second curtain wall and of the south-eastern corner of the kitchen, which were partially collapsed or leaning badly. The elevation and section of the unstable part of the kitchen’s south wall (US 2031) were documented, the individual blocks were numbered, and the wall then dismantled to await reconstruction. The space between the kitchen wall and the facade of the curtain wall was excavated down to the rock foundations. The fill of small stones and clay contained numerous artefacts, in particular glass dating to the 14th and 15th century, which had been transported there by centuries of erosion from the castle area above. The structure of the curtain wall was also examined in section: the foundation and anchoring of the large stone blocks to the uneven rocky outcrop and the layer of fill behind complete with overlying destruction layers. The curtain wall was a dry-stone construction of large blocks; in order to reinforce the foundation the wall widened in steps towards the exterior. The space between the blocks and the flysch surface behind was filled with small stones and clay. An interesting method was used to anchor the wall to the rocky outcrops, it was “toothed” into the hill’s _substratum_. The stretches between one outcrop and another had been levelled and lined with a layer of compact clay material. The discovery of a catapult ball, in situ, up against the heavily damaged south wall of the gate’s east tower suggests the structure was destroyed by a military intervention. In order to provide a more reliable date for this event it will be necessary to excavate the interior of the structure, which at present is submerged by collapsed material. Among the most interesting finds were a silver denaro of the patriarch of Aquilea Ottobono dei Razzi (1302-1315), a bronze annular brooch, an iron bolt head for a crossbow, a small iron knife, a fragment of armour, a fragment of a ribbed glass bottle and numerous other glass fragments with relief and coloured decoration.


    • I. Ahumada Silva, 2003, Faedis,Castello di Cucagna, in Aquileia Nostra LXXIV: 770-772.
    • I. Ahumada Silva, 2004, Faedis, castello di Cuccagna. Scavi 2004, in Aquileia Nostra LXXV: 661-664.
    • I. Ahumada Silva, 2005, Faedis, Castello di Cucagna. Scavi 2005, in Aquileia Nostra LXXVI: 402-408.
    • I. Ahumada Silva, 2006, Faedis, Castello di Cucagna. Scavi 2006, in Aquileia Nostra 77: 357-359.
    • I. Ahumada Silva, 2006, Faedis, Castello di Cucagna. Scavi 2006, in Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del F.V.G. 1/2006: 242-245.
    • H. Grönwald, 2009, Maria im Pantheon. Ein Pilgerzeichen von der Burg Cucagna (Friaul), in Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters 37, Bonn: 179-200.
    • R. Raccanello, 1989, Il restauro della torre di Cucagna, in A. Marcolin, M. Strassoldo (a cura di), Consorzio castelli 1968-1988. Vent´ anni di impegno per il patrimonio architettonico del Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Cassacco: 66-77.
    • H. Grönwald, 2010, Die unterlegene eiserne Faust. Statusrelevante Metallfunde von der mittelalterlichen Burg Cucagna. In: Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters 38: 161-206.
    • H. Grönwald, 2010, Cuc(c)agna. `Schlaraffenland´ der Burgenarchäologie im Osten des Friaul (Norditalien). In: Burgen und Schlösser, Zeitschrift für Burgenforschung und Denkmalpflege 2/2010: 65-82.
    • T. Friedrich, 2010, Rispondono gli esperti: Archeologia e conservazione sono legati in modo simbiotico. Di quale importanza può essere l’archeometria in questo rapporto? In: Castelli. Notiziario del consorzio per la salvaguardia dei castelli del Friuli Venzia Giulia, anno XXVI, aprile-giugno 2010, n. 124: 4.
    • H. Grönwald, 2009, Maria im Pantheon. Ein Pilgerzeichen von der Burg Cucagna (Friaul). In: Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters 37: 179-200.
    • H. Grönwald, c.d.s., Südlich der Alpen - Ein Blick auf den mittelalterlichen Landesausbau im Friaul/Nordostitalien. In: Jan Klápštĕ/Eike Gringmuth-Dallmer (Hg.), Tradition-Umgestaltung-Innovation. Transformationsprozesse im hohen Mittelalter, Ruralia, Prag 2012
    • H. Grönwald, c.d.s., Old iron – iron fists and other finds from the medieval Castle of Cucagna. In: In: Acta Militaria Mediaevalia VIII, Kraków – Rzeszów – Sanok 2012.
    • H. Grönwald, c.d.s., Ausgrabungen auf Cucagna. Mittelalterarchäologie auf der Burg und in ihrem Umfeld, Ergebnisse und Zukunft einer Lehrgrabung. In: Erik Beck, Eva-Maria Butz, Martin Strotz, Alfons Zettler, Thomas Zotz (Hg.) Burgen im Breisgau - Aspekte von Burg und Herrschaft im interdisziplinären und überregionalen Vergleich, Freiburger Forschungen zum ersten Jahrtausend in Südwestdeutschland 18, Freiburg i. Br. 2012.
    • H. Grönwald, c.d.s., Am Einzelfund ins Detail: Das mittelalterliche Bild des Pantheon und seiner Ikone im Spiegel von Pilgerzeichen. In: Europäische Wallfahrtsstudien, Prag/Berlin 2012.
    • M. Brückner, in preparation, Mittelalterliche Armbrustbolzen von Cucagna (Friaul/Italien). In: Acta Militaria Mediaevalia IX, Kraków – Rzeszów – Sanok 2013.
    • Katharina Dorothea Ostrowski, Beschläge und Applikationen von der Burg Cucagna; tesi di laurea (Bachelor of Arts), A.L.-Universität Freiburg (D.