• Necropoli della Porta Mediana
  • Cuma
  • Italy
  • Campania
  • Naples
  • Giugliano in Campania


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 100 BC - 200 AD
  • 800 BC - 700 BC


    • Exploration of the north-eastern side of the town, outside the walls, in the area of the Liculi lagoon was carried out as part of the investigations undertaken by the Centro Jean Berard. A campaign of geo-archaeological core sampling and geo-electrical survey confirmed the lagoon’s extension towards the south for a distance of fifty metres from the walls and the gate. A vast excavation area between dry land and the lagoon uncovered a stretch of the via Domitiana and part of a monumental necropolis. The earliest remains were constituted by a series of structures, perhaps artisan areas (courtyard built of large squared tufa blocks, a well and small kiln), destroyed in the last quarter of the 1st century B.C., when a large circular _mausoleum_ was built in the area. At the same time a road, probably serving the necropolis, was built on an east-west alignment and parallel to the town walls. During the last quarter of the same century an _opus incertum_ wall was constructed on a north-west/south-east alignment, on top of the extension of a sewer. Subsequently, to the west of the wall, a channel was dug linking the sewer, which silted up fairly quickly during the first half of the 1st century A.D., to the lagoon. It was only partially emptied between 50-60 A.D. and later filled, in the Flavian period, with a substantial quantity of debris. In 95 A.D. the road passing north of the _mausoleum_, connecting to the _via Domitiana_, was paved with basoli and a series of enclosures containing tombs with inhumation burials and funerary _aediculae_ were built up against the circular _mausoleum_. The inhumations continued until the 4th-5th century A.D. After the 6th century A.D. maintenance of the road was no longer guaranteed and it slowly became covered with colluvial deposits. It was later obliterated by new beaten earth surfaces.
    • Excavations were completed on the north-eastern side of _Cumae_, along the edge of the ancient lagoon of Liculi. The geo-environmental investigations ascertained that the latter had fluctuated over the centuries due to alluvial deposits from the river Volturno and the movement of the dunes along its edge, added to which were the effects of the Flegrean volcanic activity. The new excavations looked at three sectors of the _via Domitiana_: the first at 50 m outside the town gate, the second at circa 200 m and the third at circa 250 m. These investigations defined the transformation of the environment before and after the construction of the road. A notable discovery in the first sector was that of two Iron Age earth graves below a thick layer of marshy clay. The first belonged to a female individual, the tomb group comprising a necklace with an amber bead, a simple bronze bow fibula, a spindle whorl and four impasto vases. The second grave was below a tumulus of tufa blocks covered with stones. It belonged to an infant, the tomb group comprising six impasto vases and a simple bronze bow fibula (second half of the 8th century B.C.). It is very likely that the burials were part of a larger necropolis that was partially explored between 1893 and 1903 in the area between the lower town and the zone outside the walls. The level corresponding to the pre-Hellenistic tombs was covered by a layer of mud (circa 1 m deep), which may correspond to the marsh existing around the lagoon of Liculi between the Iron Age and the late Republican period. Situated at a short distance from the port, it confirms the account by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (VII, 4, 1-2) of the battle of Cumae (524 a.C.), in which the Hellenes, in order to block the barbarians, face them in a narrow gorge, closed between mountains and marshes.
    • Work continued in the area north-east of the central gate in the north wall to remove vegetation and survey the necropolis, discovered by De Iorio in 1882. Most of the structures were covered by thick vegetation or a deep layer of terrain and appeared dilapidated and difficult to interpret. The part of the necropolis that was uncovered was characterised by the presence of at least 5 mausoleums, 5 funerary _aediculae_, two inscribed cippi and a monumental passageway attested by two piers _in situ_, datable to between the 1st century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D. The nucleus next to the south gate comprised four _columbarium_ type buildings, mainly in _opus reticulatum_. The remains of plaster and stucco facings were partially preserved in the collapse. The second nucleus, further north, was the site of the more monumental remains, a mausoleum with quadrangular base and drum and a barrel vaulted burial chamber. At a later date an _opus reticulatum_ enclosure was built around them. A little further south of these structures were two inscribed cippi and five funerary _aediculae_, four of which bearing inscriptions referring to freedmen of the Augustan period, although the cippi seemed earlier in date. The last structure was a monumental passageway, probably arched, with an _opus signinum_ ramp. This was perhaps the entrance to a rustic settlement situated behind the necropolis. Of interest was the confirmation of the existence of a second road which, leaving the central gate, followed the eastern edge of the lagoon of Liculi and then continue north.
    • A crossroads where three roads met came to light outside the central gate in the north wall. The first went to Capua, the second went towards _Sinuessa_ and the Appia – _via Domitiana_ – and the third headed towards the north-east. The monumental Roman necropolis, datable to between the 1st century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D., was set out along side the three roads. Along the western side of the south-north road were four mausoleums. The 2nd century A.D. monument situated at the crossroad between the south-north road and the _via Domitiana_ was of great interest. Built in opus vittatum with a brick facing, its interior was characterised by six arcosolia destined to house inhumation burials. There were numerous late antique and early medieval inhumation burials, found between the monuments in this area, and in phase with a succession of beaten road surfaces that had covered the basalt paving of the _via Domitiana_. The excavations were extended to the north-east, revealing another series of funerary monuments, comprising four mausolea flanked to the east by a road going south towards the central gate. The deep excavation made it possible to investigate a necropolis datable to between the 3rd century B.C. and the 1st century A.D., in which diverse types of burials coexisted. Walls came to light in the corner formed by the road to Capua and the _via Domitiana_, below the foundations of a number of mausoleums. Datable to between the 4th and 1st century B.C. the structures had two construction phases. The earliest was represented by a large rectangular building, divided into three rooms. In the centre was a small altar-hearth next to which was an amphora set into the ground, suggesting cult use. Subsequently, new structures in _opus africanum_ were built above this building, on top of layers of levelling and a number of middens containing votive material.
    • The investigation of the two late Republican mausoleums was completed. One housed a large alabaster cinerary urn with a lid containing the cremated bones of the deceased, probably a female individual. Both inside and outside of the urn were numerous carved ivory fragments, parts of the decorative elements from a funerary bed. The second funerary structure was constituted by a monument faced with limestone blocks that was completely robbed in late antiquity, and by an _opus reticulatum_ enclosure, its grey tufa facing decorated with two _scholae_, with low reliefs – one depicting a sphinx – and by a fountain. On the east and west sides it was adorned with two _exedra_ in _opus reticulatum_. The burial chamber, quadrangular in plan with a barrel vaulted covering, housed two funerary beds only one of which occupied by a body. Facing the entrance was a counter, in which there were two cavities containing marble cinerary urns for the cremated remains of two individuals and their ivory funerary beds. A number of objects were recovered from inside the chamber that were probably part of the tomb group of the buried individual: two silver plated copper strigils, a small bronze amphora, a thin walled ware jug and three glass _balsamarii_.
    • In 2010 the Centre Jean Bérard recommenced research on the monumental Roman necropolis situated immediately outside the _Porta Meridiana_ in the north wall of _Cumae_. During the last few years the excavations have uncovered an important cross-roads where three roads met: the first on a south-north alignment heading to _Capua_, the second - the via Domitiana - heading north-west towards _Sinuessa_ and the _via Appia_ and the third heading north-east, probably towards the road which from the town’s north-eastern gate headed north. The excavations have investigated various sections of the necropolis situated along the three roads, datable to between 1st century B.C. and the 3rd century A.D. This years excavations concentrated on the northern and western sectors of the necropolis. In the first area investigated, situated along the northern edge of the _via Domitiana_, the excavation uncovered two funerary buildings of Julio-Claudian date. The first mausoleum, A49-51, of which only the rectangular _podium_ with its facing of limestone blocks was preserved, had two burial chambers. Due to the presence of the water-table it was only possible to undertake a partial exploration of one of the chambers. The rectangular, vaulted chamber was built in _opus reticulatum_. Entry was through a door in the north-eastern side. All that survived of the second monument, mausoleum A68, situated east of the first, was the cement nucleus of the standing structure and part of the podium with its facing of limestone blocks. The building was quadrangular in plan and had a square underground chamber with a barrel-vaulted ceiling which was entered through a door in the northern side. Inside the chamber was a sarcophagus of smooth white marble. The second nucleus of monuments was situated along the eastern edge of the south-north road. In the investigated area two funerary monuments came to light (D29 and D33) together with a series of minor burials of secondary cremations. The earliest phase of this sector was attested by a cremation burial (SP29050) of the “parallelepiped” type with stele. The tomb comprised three tufa blocks, the two lower ones presenting a hollow in which the cinerary urn was housed. This type of tomb architecture was particularly widespread during the 2nd century BC. Mausoleum D29 dated to the same period or just afterwards. It was a dry-stone construction of large tufa blocks, with a semi-interred rectangular vaulted chamber. The interior was occupied by two funerary beds and an “a cassa” tomb built of tufa slabs. A nucleus of four tombs (SP29006, SP29007, SP29008 and SP29009) dated to a subsequent period. The burials presented four quadrangular cippi below which was a pit housing the cinerary urns containing the cremated bones. Inscriptions were present on some blocks. Mausoleum D33 was slightly later, a tomb with a simple cell datable to the 1st century B.C., built with roughly squared small blocks and tufa chippings bonded with mortar. Inside the square, semi-interred and vaulted chamber were three masonry-built funerary beds. The entrance was in the west wall.
    • During the summer of 2011, research continued in the necropolis of the Porta Mediana, north of the town, along the road leading north from the gate. In zone 29, east of the road, an interesting funerary context came to light, comprising a small mausoleum and a series of cremation burials of the “a cippo” and “a dado” type, datable to the second half of the 1st century B.C. – beginning of the 1st century A.D. The mausoleum, robbed in the modern period, was semi-hypogean with a monumental facade and pitched roof. The exterior walls were in _opus quasi reticulatum_. The interior comprised a small chamber occupied by a large funerary bed and a corridor entered from the western side. Three funerary cippi were reused in the facade. A set of implements made of bone, bronze and iron, a small worked bronze plaque, circa 350 semi-spherical glass paste beads and three pottery _unguentaria_ were found inside. Tomb D40 was constituted by a simple rectangular chamber, built in _opus vittatum_ and originally paved in _opus signinum_ with marble inserts. The entrance was to the east on the south-north road. The internal organisation of the chamber was simple with three _formae_ side by side on the long sides and one forma along the back wall. The mausoleum was reused numerous times. In fact, in a second phase, eleven inhumation burials were inserted below the floor, arranged in two rows. In the third phase, new brick “a cassa” burials were constructed above the earlier burials. Based on the data derived from the stratigraphy, the monument was originally built in the 2nd century A.D. The funerary space seemed to continue in use until the late antique period.
    • The 2012 investigations undertaken by the Centre Jean Bérard concentrated on the sector immediately outside the Porta Mediana, along the eastern edges of the basalt-paved area. The excavation, which aimed to define the development and topography of the necropolis, revealed the existence of four phases of use in the area, datable from the second half of the 2nd century B.C. to the early medieval period. The earliest phase was attested by mausoleum D46, situated south-east of the Masseria del Procidiano. A dry-stone build of large, squared tufa blocks, it had one underground chamber. The monument was marked by the presence of three _cippi_ inscribed in Oscan and Latin, which rested on the summit block of the façade. The interior had a rectangular plan with a barrel vault. The chamber was occupied by two funerary couches and an _a cassa_ tomb. The upper part of the walls was faced with white plaster and the lower part with red. The excavation identified at least three construction phases corresponding with the three burials. The monument’s typology recalls a similar structure investigated in 2010, mausoleum D29. The latter had already been excavated in 1918 by canon de Jorio. Both tombs seemed to date to between the second half of the 2nd century and the first decades of the 1st century B.C. The second phase was attested by a small mausoleum with underground chamber MSL46150, exposed in a trench east of mausoleum D46, within a large open cemetery area. The partially preserved tomb was quadrangular in plan and the interior walls were dry-stone built in _opus quasi reticulatum_. The funerary chamber had plastered walls and was arranged to house at least two funerary couches. Entry was via a door in the west wall. During the third phase, corresponding with the construction of the via Domitiana in 95 A.D. and the reorganisation of the area in front of the Porta Mediana, a radical transformation of this part of the cemetery occurred. The earliest funerary monuments were obliterated and new structures built. The first evidence for these interventions was the construction of monument D58, a structure of which only the large semi-interred funerary chamber was preserved intact. The exterior was built in _opus reticulatum_ with toothing in tufa bricks, while the interior was in _opus vittatum_. The quadrangular chamber had a cross-vaulted ceiling. The excavation identified at least four construction phases. Originally, access to the chamber was from the south side. In a second phase, the construction of the _columbarium_ D59, to the south-west, determined the obliteration of this entrance and the construction of a new one with steps on the north side. Typologically, the mausoleum finds parallels in the 2nd century A.D. _a tempietto_ tombs documented in the Via Latina necropolis in Rome. Excavation of the _columbarium_ D59, situated between the Porta and mausoleum D58, brought to light important late antique and early medieval evidence.
    • During the 2013 campaign, the research undertaken by the Centre Jean Bérard concentrated in the area in front of the Porta Mediana, along the east side of the basalt-paved area and in the sector north of the latter, along the first stretch of the north-south road. In the area immediately north-east of the gate, the excavations revealed at least four large scale building phases. In the second half of the 2nd century B.C., underground or semi-interred funerary monuments were built along the north-south road (e.g. the chamber tomb D46 with barrel vaulted roof, investigated in 2012). Later, several small tombs with underground chambers were built, identified in two trenches dug to the west of tomb D46. A third phase, relating to the construction of the _via_ _Domitiana_ in 95 A.D. and the monumentalisation of the area in front of the gate through the creation of the basalt-paved area, saw a radical transformation of this zone. Monument D85 was built with its exterior in _opus_ _reticulatum_ and tufa brick quoining and the interior in _opus_ _vittatum_ and a cross vault ceiling. The columbarium D59 abutting the fortifications and the small mausoleum MSL46312 also date to this phase. The latter was originally destined to house one or more _a bauletto_ burials but was then gradually taken over by a series of burials in tufa brick coffins. Over the last few years excavations have examined the monuments situated at the crossroads between the road leading west and the north-south road, in particular along the latter’s western edge. The excavations exposed a series of funerary monuments mainly of the “house-tomb” type (A41, A40 and A55) destined to house burials in _formae_. The tombs now visible all date to the final construction phase of the necropolis, which occurred just after the construction of the _via_ _Domitiana_ and the monumentalisation of the area in front of the gate. The excavations also documented the presence of a series of buildings below the funerary structures. A third intervention concentrated on an area situated along the eastern edge of the north-south road, at about one hundred metres north of the Porta Meridiana. This year’s intervention completed the excavation of the small dice-shaped monuments exploring the funerary cells and further documenting the stratigraphic sequence through the excavation of a monument dating to the second half of the 2nd century B.C. The mausoleum, a semi-interred chamber with a barrel vault, was built with large blocks of yellow tufa without mortar. The funerary chamber had three _cassone_ shaped beds. The interior was faced with white plaster while the _cassoni_ were painted to represent marble. A stele representing a female individual rested on the summit blocks of the facade.
    • In 2013, research continued along the eastern and western margins of the basalt-paved space in front of the Porta mediana. The area immediately north-east of the gate underwent radical restructuring during the Domitianic phase, accompanied by the obliteration of the secondary road that headed east, by the destruction of several funerary monuments and the laying of the basalt paving. During this significant intervention, new structures were built along the edge of the square and there was a substantial rise in the ground surfaces with the creation of a large terrace to the east of the area. A large quadrangular structure was present in the excavated area, interpreted as a threshing floor, in phase with the 18th century masseria of Matteo Scotto di Aniello il Procidiano, situated about 50 m further east. Below the surface of the threshing floor on its southern side, the excavation revealed a complex stratigraphy made up of levels relating to at least two earlier structures with at least two building phases dating to the 14th-15th centuries. Below the latter lay walls in _opus_ _reticulatum_ that can be attributed to the monumental phase of the Domitianic period. This season's excavations also looked at a sector of the necropolis situated at the crossroads between the road travelling west and the north-south road, extending the excavation area to the funerary enclosure (A42) and the passage (A19) that closed the _insula_ to the west. In its final phase of use, the enclosure, smaller than in the preceding phase, was more or less square. It was built in _opus_ _reticulatum_ and the façade was decorated with semicircular niches. The interior was occupied by “a bauletta” tombs and graves with "a cappuccina" coverings. The monument preserved part of the original coloured wall plaster, datable to between the late 1st and early 2nd century A.D. In 2013, important excavations were undertaken in an area situated along the eastern edge of the south-north road at about 100 m north of the gate. A necropolis dating to between the second half of the 2nd century B.C. and the first half of the 1st century A.D. was investigated. In particular, a mausoleum with semi-hypogean chamber and barrel vault (D34) was uncovered. This season, the Center completed the intervention by digging a trench to the north of the extrados of the tomb's vault, which confirmed its attribution to the last decades of the 2nd century B.C. This year, the stratigraphy below the basalt paving of the via Domitiana, in front of the monumental complex known as the "Sphinx" (A63), was checked and confirmed what had been identified in the past. Below the basalt paving the road make-ups were identified in addition to three levels relating to an earlier road on top of which the via Domitiana was built. The levels produced little material; no elements contrasted with the dating of the road towards the end of the 1st century A.D. The presence of the water-table halted any further excavation.
    • In 2001, the Centre Jean Bérard began a research programme to investigate the Roman necropolis at Cumae, which extended from the northern fortifications, close to the middle gate. In recent campaigns, the excavations have concentrated on the area immediately in front of the middle gate, where between the late Republican and Flavian periods numerous transformations took place that were related to the modifications undertaken on the walls and the gate. The filling of the ditch and creation of a new road leading eastwards from the gate in the direction of Monte Grillo can be dated to the late Republican period. Several hypogean or semi-hypogean funerary monuments were built along this road, in which members of the town’s elite were buried. The area in front of the middle gate underwent a second significant intervention during the reign of Domitian involving the obliteration of the secondary road leading east, the destruction of several funerary monuments and the creation of a large basalt-paved square. During this intervention, new imposing structures were built along the edge of the basalt-paved area, and the ground surfaces were raised by the construction of a large terrace immediately to its east, between the walls and the 19th century masseria of Matteo il Procidiano. These interventions were carried out in order to level a large part of the terrain that was to be used for the construction of a monument with a considerable external space such as a training field destined for the youth of the town’s elite. Today, the entire area, seems to have covered at least 2500 m2 and still preserves the perimeter walls at foundation level, in addition to part of a portico and a series of rooms facing west onto the square. Structures such as this were not unusual in the Roman world, in particular during the Republican period. Vitruvius himself, for example, recalls in _De_ _Architectura_ that sacred buildings, in particular those dedicated to Mars, had to be positioned _extra_ _urbem_ _sed_ _ad_ _campum_. This evidence, and that from other Roman towns, for example Alba Fucens, whose fields are known, seem to support this first interpretation. Furthermore, the excavations also uncovered several rooms at the western edge of the field, including a _caupona_. Test trenches dug in the same sector made it possible to investigate two of the funerary monuments with underground chambers that were obliterated or damaged by the Domitianic restructuring. Both tombs, in which the dead were placed on funerary beds, provided information that dated their construction and final phases of use. Further excavation between the north wall of the Flavian terrace and the front of the town walls intercepted the levels of the mid -2nd/early 1st century B.C. necropolis below the layers of dumped material used to build the terrace. Two hypogean tombs with barrel vaults were uncovered, both disturbed, and a series of cremation burials in pits with _cippus_ referring to Oscan individuals were identified. One of the chamber tombs (E73) preserved painted figures of great interest.


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