• Poggio dei Cavallari
  • Satricum
  • Satricum
  • Italy
  • Lazio
  • Provincia di Latina
  • Latina


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 600 BC - 300 BC


    • In the last decade, the University of Amsterdam has continued the archaeological research in the ancient city of Satricum, concentrating in particular on three areas: Poggio dei Cavallari, the area of the presumed agger at the eastern limit of the city, and the acropolis. Poggio dei Cavallari. 140 meters of wall were discovered in this area, datable to the end of the 6th-beginning of the 5th century BC, and interpreted as foundation for the road which led to the acropolis of the city. At the sides of the street lay pit tombs of the 5th century BC. Area of the presumed agger. Among the most interesting discoveries is one layer which contains materials of the 3rd century BC, which confirm the occupation of Satricum in this period. Up until now the occupation at this time was known only thanks to the materials of a votive deposit. The acropolis. In this place in the city were discovered different tracts of wall dating to 540 BC and oriented as those of the temple of Mater Matuta, and a series of column bases, probably belonging to a monumental structure of still unknown function. On the border of the hill were moreover brought to light a pile of irregular blocks, with the probable function of defense of the acropolis. Among the most important discoveries should be noted a collapse of tiles, at the bottom of which rest almost completely reconstructable vases from the 5th century BC, among them a large skyphos, an Etruscan amphora, the foot of an Attic kylix, a black gloss bowl, a small footed cup, a loom weight, fragments of a bowl with "corda e bugnata" decoration and many fragments of a single dolium. According to the interpretation of scholars, these could be the remains of valuable tomb furnishings conserved within a dolium, at the bottom of the 3rd century BC building; furnishings perhaps relative to the tomb of an important person, a sort of heroon, of which memory was preserved still in the 3rd century BC.
    • The research undertaken at ancient _Satricum_ concentrated on three areas: Poggio dei Cavallari, the area of the presumed agger at the city’s eastern boundary and the acropolis. The 2006 excavation concentrated on the area of Poggio dei Cavallari, where, in recent years 140m of wall have been discovered. Dating to the end of the 6th-beginning of the 5th century B.C. they can be interpreted as the foundations of the road which led to the acropolis. Graves dating to the 5th century B.C. were documented along the sides of the road. The investigation identified a road on a north/west-south/east alignment flanked by two structures which made use of the side walls of the road itself. The tile rubble and other material found overlying its presumed surface suggest that the road and the structures went out of use at a certain point. The fact that the rubble was found in combination with a thick upper layer of clean sand, in various places covering the walls themselves, indicates that the sand at least was a raising or levelling of the surface. The rubble seems to be in secondary deposition and not the result of a fall in situ following a fire. The reason behind the raising of the level is unsure due to the absence of the upper surface and of any structures. Some indication of their original purpose is given by the presence of large cobbles across the entire area, which, where in situ were always on a higher level than the archaic walls, an indication that they belong to a later construction phase. The raising of the zone is datable to the post-archaic period, given the presence of several fragments of late archaic tiles amongst the rubble overlying the surface. The later material, which forms part of the surface itself does not date to beyond the archaic period. The connection between this road and the archaic one is yet to be clarified. There was a group of at least five tombs excavated in the archaic road surface, identified as a family unit. Dated on the basis of the vases they contained to between the 5th-4th century B.C., the period when _Satricum_ was inhabited by the Volsci, the tombs demonstrate that the archaic settlement was not limited to the acropolis, but that there were buildings in the lower part of the city. In the post-archaic period, the restructuring of the archaic road and of the side road show that the settlement was still of an urban nature. This restructuring was not an isolated phenomenon but must have been part of a larger project which included building work within the urban area itself. It may be suggested that architectural structures were also present along the road side but were not uncovered by the excavations as they were probably obliterated by levelling, an indication of this being the dumps of rubble and sand to raise levels and the presence of numerous cobbles throughout the upper layers. (MiBAC)
    • From 1996 until the present day, with an interval between 1998-2003, the University of Amsterdam has carried out yearly excavations in the urban area of ancient Satricum. Work has been undertaken on the zone of Poggio dei Cavallari, north of the provincial road form Nettuno to Cisterna. Here work began again in 1996 following a rescue excavation in 1984. An area of circa two hectares was explored in two campaigns. Circa 140 m of parallel walls were uncovered, interpreted as the foundations for a monumental road of archaic date. This led to the acropolis and then to the temple of Mater Matuta, where its continuation had been identified at the end of the 1800s and, again by the Dutch during their 1980s campaigns. At least two overlying phases of the road were identified, each having lateral containing walls. Along the northern side of the road ten tombs dating to the 5th century B.C. were documented. In 2003 the excavations were extended towards the terrain adjacent to that excavated in 1984, 1996-1997. It was established that the road continued towards the east for at least 550 m in the direction of the town walls, bringing its excavated length to 700 m. Furthermore, two lateral roads leading in a south-easterly direction towards the interior of the town were discovered, together with the remains of two large buildings along the south side of the road. The excavations in area 3 revealed the presence of other tombs, this time not only along the road but also cut into the road’s surface, a clear indication that the road had gone out of use. The new tombs date to the 5th-4th century B.C. During the 2009 campaign work continued in excavation area 3.
    • In 2010 Amsterdam University continued its research in the urban area, in the zone of Poggio dei Cavallari situated north of the Nettuno-Cisterna provincial road and object of systematical archaeological research since 2004. The investigation concentrated on the tombs along and above the Archaic remains of the main road and adjacent structures, bringing to light a total of 39 tombs. The western, southern and perhaps the northern limits of the necropolis, which covers an area of about 200 m2, were established. The tombs were arranged with little space between them and sometimes overlying, in parallel rows and almost all were orientated east-west. As regards the funerary ritual and tomb architecture they appeared very similar to the burials in the south-western necropolis excavated in the 1980s. However, there were differences which can probably be linked to the fact that the necropolis dates to a later period (4th century B.C.) and that the burials are those of a group of individuals of a certain social standing, attested by the slightly larger graves and the tomb groups which were generally richer both in the quantity of vases and of personal artefacts. All of the burials were in carefully-dug rectangular graves of various sizes. The grave floors were horizontal and in some cases had more or less rectangular holes in the corners for the feet of the wooden coffins. The deceased was usually in a supine position, the head to the east, the arms extended by the sides with the hands resting on the pelvis and legs parallel with the feet side by side. All were in a wooden coffin which was visible as a blackish-grey rectangle in the tomb fill. The deposition level in the tomb varied between 1.10 m and at least 2.40 m below ground level, often cutting the two overlying surfaces of the main road. The real depth of the tombs could not be established due to ploughing which had destroyed the upper part. The fact that the tombs were dug into stretches of the Archaic walls indicates that the latter were not visible anymore at the time the necropolis was laid out. In almost all the tombs the bones were found in a very bad state of preservation, it was only possible to establish the sex of one individual. The teeth appear, for now, the most represented element of the anthropological sample examined with 25 individuals so far, 11 adults, two sub-adults and 12 infants. Out of a total of 39 tombs identified to date there are at least 14 infant burials, a rather high number. They were buried both in individual graves or in graves with an adult. Clearly the infants, even the youngest, were considered a “persona sociale” in their community with the right to the same burial ritual as the adults. Some were accompanied by rich tombs comprising ornamental bronze and glass-paste artefacts and, in some cases, miniature weapons made of lead. Greek type pottery was present in at least 10 tomb groups including _kylikes_, cups-skyphoi and several small black glaze jugs and even a red slipped _deinos_. A large number of wine transport amphorae from all over the Mediterranean and local imitations of Greek forms were found. Their large number, as well as their extensive presence in the adult burials, always two examples and sometimes an association of two different provenances, is unusual. In recent years the necropolis at Poggio dei Cavallari has produced a significant quantity of new data which opens a new chapter in the history of Satricum. Beside the south-west necropolis and the smaller cemetery on the acropolis we now have a third necropolis attributable to the population occupying Satricum from the 5th century B.C. onwards. Considering the fact that the tombs were inserted into the Archaic structures that were no longer visible, it may be suggested that the Archaic city no longer existed, at least as far as regards the lower urban area. Further research on the necropolis, which continues to the east, is programmed for next year.
    • Following the 2010 excavations in the urban area of Satricum, the University of Amsterdam continued its investigations in the zone of Poggio dei Cavallari. The excavations concentrated on the necropolis discovered and examined in 2004, when the first tomb was found along the archaic road crossing the ancient city from east to west. Over the last few years about forty burials in earth graves have been exposed, part of a necropolis created above the remains of the road and at least two buildings situated on its south side, all dating to the late archaic period. The 2011 campaign aimed to complete the excavation of the tombs begun in 2010 and to continue research in the eastern part of the cemetery where it was expected to find more burials. Eleven new tombs were uncovered and it was seen that the necropolis extended towards the east below the vineyard. As regards the funerary ritual, the 2011 excavations confirmed the image of the necropolis of Poggio dei Cavallari provided by previous research. The spatial organization of the tombs showed a concentration of burials in the western part of the necropolis, including the partial overlying of graves and multiple burials in a single grave. Many of the graves in this area were particularly deep, with the floor on a level with the sterile natural terrain, even in the case of single burials. In some cases, the deep graves contained more than one deposition; often an infant was laid above an adult and in one case an infant above two adults. As noted in the 2010 campaign, there was a substantial quantity of pottery vessels associated with wine consumption. These included a large number of wine amphorae from all over the Mediterranean, locally produced amphora and imitations of imported examples. In 2011, five new amphorae were identified, including two Etruscan examples, one of western Greek production and two local types, bringing the total found to 16. The association with wine was also seen in the other vessel forms such as kylikes and skyphoi. Already in 2010, their presence was considered notable with 11 examples. In 2011, this number almost doubled with the find of seven new kylikes and two skyphoi. Clearly, the presence of these types of vessels constitutes an important element in the funerary ritual. In almost half (20 in all) of the 48 excavated tombs there was an element from a wine service. The intention for 2012 is to organise the study and conservation of the finds from the excavations in all areas of the “Casale del Giglio” property (Poggio dei Cavallari II) with their publication in mind. It is also intended to put in a few test trenches in order to check the observations made so far.
    • The University of Amsterdam continued its excavations in the urban area of ancient Satricum, concentrating on research within the Casale del Giglio estate, in the area of the Poggio dei Cavallari. The main objective was to examine the ancient structures of the so-called “via sacra” and associated buildings, and to check for the presence of other ancient remains in the excavation area. The investigations concentrated on area 3 – the westernmost part of Poggio dei Cavallari (Fig. 1). Here, several partially excavated trenches were reopened. Excavation continued in building B, trenches 344-347 in the south-western zone, and in trenches 314-314A in the north-eastern zone. The south-western excavation was extended along the west side to a width of 5 m (trenches 341-354); the north-eastern area was extended along the east side to a width of 2.50 m (trenches 307-307A). The intermediate trenches that were excavated in previous years were not reopened (316-321A, 323-328A, 330-335A, 337-342, 348-349). The excavations showed the walls of structure B continued to the west forming a rectangular room 4.20 x 5.60 m within building B. In depth excavation showed the walls were constructed to adapt to the substantial change in height of the sterile terrain to the north. For example, the room’s south wall was formed by a single course of large tufa blocks, while the north wall of the room, which also formed the north side of building B, presented three courses to a total height of 1.9 m. This difference in the level of the sterile terrain occurred at the beginning of a large natural depression in which Satricum’s main road was built. The road crosses excavation area 3 on a diagonal line. The lowest part of the depression was exposed at various points during previous seasons. A thick layer of sterile clay (c. 0.35 m) emerged in the trenches south of the new room, overlying natural. The clay was partially covered by a thick layer of large cobblestones mixed with large fragments of coarse ware pottery and tiles, interpreted as a floor surface, although badly disturbed by modern ploughing. The surface is dated to the mid Republican period, when the first colony was established at Satricum. The dating is based on the presence of pottery and tile with parallels in other contexts on the site datable to the 4th – 3rd centuries B.C. Moreover, it is clear that this was a later in date as it covered the remains of the archaic walls of building B. The surface continued outside the room to the north, sloping gradually towards the main road. A small _sondage_ opened in the surface on the north side of the room, in trench 253, showed that the cobblestones rested on an artificial layer of sterile sand, which in turn covered a layer of red tiles. This phenomenon was documented in many other points along the exterior walls of the building and may perhaps be interpreted as a tile collapse from the original roof when building B was destroyed. The 5th-4th century B.C. tombs identified in preceding years in the north-eastern part of the excavation area, known as Volsci, date to the most recent phase. So far 51 tombs have been excavated and a new one was partially investigated this season. Like the tombs examined thus far, this was an inhumation burial in an earth grave, the deceased inside a wooden coffin aligned east-west. The tomb group comprised five small vases: a jar with “bugna” decoration, two small jars and two high-footed cups. They were grouped beside the cranium, along the short side of the grave. A bronze object shaped like a stud pierced at the centre was also present; perhaps the head of a decorative nail or part of a “bulla”. Analysis of the skeletal remains suggests this was the grave of a young girl between 12 and 18 years of age. Excavations between the tombs in trench 314 revealed the first remains of the southern retaining wall for the main road. An important find, constituted by the lid of a funerary urn in white tufa, a so-called “pilozzo” dating to the 4th-3rd century B.C., was unfortunately out of context.
    • This season, Amsterdam University continued its archaeological research in the urban area of ancient Satricum. Work took place on the land belonging to the Casale del Giglio, zone of Poggio dei Cavallari II (PdC II) (Cadastral sheeet no. 6, Comune di Latina, lots 83 and 85). The principal aim was to make an in depth examination of the ancient structures belonging to the so-called “via sacra”, and of the already identified buildings there, and to check for the presence of other ancient structures in the excavation area. The investigations concentrated in two areas, zones 2 and 3 (Fig. 1). Here, a number of trenches, only partially excavated previously, were reopened and enlarged (see Fig. 1: 2016 excavation edges indicated in red). In zone 2, research concentrated on three trenches in the southern part that were partially excavated in 2004 and 2005 when a number of walls were identified. These have been attributed to a side branch of the main road that crossed the city from east to west. The excavation area was extended to the west, east, and south. The eastern containing wall of the side road was followed to the south. Several sections of wall were discovered at the far southern end, where the wall seemed to terminate with a large block placed short side on. They were made of rectangular blocks of lithoid tufa, forming slightly curved and parallel rows at different levels and sloping heavily to the west to a depth of c. 1.50 m below the level of the modern trench. The terrain was very uneven in this area. For the moment, it is not clear whether the blocks were in their original position or had slipped to a lower level. A substantial layer of tufa present in almost the entire trench at a depth of c. 1.60 m was uncovered in the south-eastern corner of the excavation and continued towards the south and east in the trench sections. In the western part of the trench, also along the south side, a compact layer of tiles and imbrices was identified. This was probably an _in_ _situ_ roof collapse as suggested by the presence of concentrations of cobblestones below the tiles that seemed to be part of a floor surface. In some places, where tile fragments were removed, large fragments of coarse ware pottery lay on the cobblestones. Among the recognisable forms were a large bowl and a large basin. A small trench opened on the eastern edge of the tile layer revealed two blocks of lithoid tufa belonging to a new wall that seemed to run north-west/south-east. This could be the structure’s exterior wall. Further excavations in this area are necessary in order to investigate in detail the structure with the tile roof and to link the various features. In zone 3, the westernmost area excavated on the Poggio dei Cavallari, previous investigations years had uncovered the continuation of the main road, in addition to the substantial architectural remains of two large buildings (A and B) along the south side of the road, divided by a side road. In depth excavations took place in building B. In one of the trenches on the north side of the building’s north wall, sterile was finally reached at c. 2.90 m below modern ground level. This is the deepest level in the area and shows the natural difference in height from south to north that was used for the construction of Satricum’s main road, which crossed zone 3 on a diagonal line (see Fig. 1, the dotted red lines indicate its line below the vines). The lowest point of the road trench had already been uncovered in several points previously. However, in contrast with the known stratigraphy underneath the road surface, which consisted of an artificial fill of clay, the lower layer in the trench was made up of numerous pieces of rubble including large pieces of baked clay showing the impressions of construction elements such as timber posts, branches, and canes. This rubble may relate to the occupation pre-dating the construction of the archaic walls, possible in the Iron Age, or to later activities associated with a first house-building phase. An interesting theory is to associate the rubble with the small and large postholes found in the natural, uncovered during the 2015 excavations in the adjacent trench, inside the building, and interpreted as evidence of occupation pre-dating the archaic walls. This year, further cleaning of the level with the postholes made these traces even clearer. In 2015, a layer of cobblestones was identified that extended along all of the western side of the excavation area. The layer also covered the remains of archaic walls including the north wall of building B. North of this wall the layer continued and gradually sloped down to the surface of the main road. Although badly disturbed by modern ploughing, this layer has been interpreted as a floor surface. Based on the later white, orange, and pink tile fragments found among the cobblestones, the surface has been dated to the middle Republican period when a Roman colony was established at Satricum. Several trenches opened in the cobblestone layer on the north side of the wall showed that the cobbles lay on a thick layer of sterile sand that in turn covered a layer of red archaic tiles. In the last trench dug this season, the tiles rested on a layer of large _dolia_ fragments, which like the tiles seemed to have been intentionally placed in this position to act as drainage for the sandy layer above.
    • During the 2017 campaign in the urban area of Satricum, Amsterdam University continued excavations in the area of Poggio dei Cavallari. The investigations concentrated on area 2 in terrain belonging to the Casale del Giglio. Here several trenches were reopened and enlarged (see fig. 1: edges of the 2017 excavation area shown in red) with the aim of examining in depth the ancient structures identified within them. In area 2, the research concentrated on the southern trenches partially excavated in 2004, 2005 and 2016, which revealed the presence of several stretches of wall that have been attributed to a side road branching off from the main road running E-W through the city. The excavation area was extended along the south side (fig. 2). The southern side of the side road’s eastern retaining wall was cleaned. The sections of wall were also cleaned. The latter were made of rectangular blocks of tufo lionato positioned in slightly curved and parallel lines at different levels, sloping heavily to the west, down to c. 1.50 m below the modern level of the trench. At present, it is not clear whether the blocks were in their original position or had slipped to a lower one. The blocks, surrounded by a thick layer of sand, are interpreted as a substantial rise in the preceding road level, which ran below the sand in the same direction. At the same time, the complex of blocks served as a sort of foundation on which there was another surface. During previous excavations, the remains of a compact tufa layer were found in correspondence with the upper level of the blocks, which were identified as the remains of a road make-up. A deep _sondage_ opened in trench 232 on the western side of the complex of walls revealed an earlier surface or a make-up below a thick layer (c. 1 m) of rather clean sand. It lay directly on natural that presented numerous large holes possibly relating to Iron Age activity. The natural layer also sloped down towards the south, which continued beyond the south side of trench 231. In trench 246 and the eastern part of trench 261, the cleaning continued of a compact layer of tegulae and imbrices that was discovered in 2016. Two different layers were identified below the tegulae. The first layer consisted of large and small fragments of coarse ware pottery crushed on top of the second layer composed of cobblestones. The recognisable pottery forms included a large bowl and a large basin (excavated in 2016) and numerous domestic forms including a second smaller and almost complete bowl. Generally, the other forms were not complete. The level of cobblestones surrounded by walls on the eastern and northern sides probably constituted a floor surface relating to a courtyard or workroom.
    • This year, Amsterdam University continued excavations in the area of Poggio dei Cavallari. The investigations concentrated on area 2 where a number of trenches, formally only partially excavated, were reopened and extended (see Fig. 1: margins of the 2018 excavation area indicated in purple) with the aim of further investigating the ancient structures present there. In area 2, work concentrated on the south trenches partially excavated in 2004, 2005, and 2016-2017. Several structures had been identified that were attributed to a road branching-off the main road that crossed the city from east to west. A large trench 12.50 x 3.00 x 2.50 m was opened to extend the excavation area on the south side (Fig. 1-2). The aim of this extension was to find the southwards continuation of the exterior east wall of the building investigated in 2017 and its south wall. In fact, the continuation of wall 3 was found at a depth of c. 2.50 m bringing its measurable length to c. 12 m. Towards the south, it continued into the south wall of the trench. Beyond this wall built of tufa ‘lionato’, there was a short section of an east-west wall built of large white tufa blocks at a slightly higher level (wall no. 5). This was the only surviving wall of a probably later phase. In the western part of the area, a north-south wall (wall no. 6) was uncovered in trench 261A constituted by a row of large tufa ‘lionato’ blocks resting directly on natural that sloped upwards to the west. It is not clear whether this was the external west wall of the room with the cobblestone threshold. The continuation towards the north of wall no. 6, which should have been present in trench 261, was not found, only natural was seen in the small trench dug along its presumed line. Excavation also continued inside the room with the floor made of cobblestones and pottery fragments in a sandy make-up. A _sondage_ in the floor along the inside of the west wall revealed traces of Iron Age occupation. A burnt layer c. 0.10 m thick overlay a deep layer full of pottery fragments datable to the first half of the 7th century B.C. Together with fine wares, the layer also contained numerous fragments of large _dolia_, metal fragments and slag, evidence of metalworking activities. The research on the Casale del Giglio property continues to be of importance as it has provided solid evidence of urban occupation in the zone below the necropolis that was thought to have been lost after the intense agricultural activity of the 1970s. The excavations have also provided much new information regarding the adaptation of the archaic architecture to the irregular natural landscape and its exploitation for the construction of a road network during the phase of archaic urbanisation. At the same time, it became clear that the same zone was occupied in the Iron Age as attested by an infant burial found in 2013 in excavation area 3, which dates to the first quarter of the 7th century B.C., by the various layers dating to the 7th century B.C. both in area 2 and area 3, and by the presence of numerous postholes in the underlying natural (2013-2017).


    • Marijke Gnade. 2010. Risultati preliminari degli scavi archeologici a Satricum nel 2009. FOLD&R Italy: 200.


    • M. Gnade, 2003, Satricum: la prosecuzione delle ricerche, in J. Rasmus Brandt, X. Dupré Raventós, G. Ghini (a cura di), Lazio & Sabina, 1, Atti del Convegno (28-30 gennaio 2002, Roma), Roma: 213-220
    • M. Gnade, 2002, Satricum in the Post-Archaic Period. A Case Study of the Interpretation of Archaeological remains as Indicators of Ethno-Cultural Identity, Leuven.
    • M. Gnade, 2004, Resoconto degli scavi olandesi a Satricum nel 2002, in G. Ghini (ed.), Lazio e Sabina 2 (Atti del Convegno. Secondo incontro di studi sul Lazio e la Sabina, Roma 7-8 maggio 2003), Roma: 265-272.
    • M. Gnade, 2006, La ventottesima campagna di ricerca a Satricum dell’Università di Amsterdam nel 2004, in G. Ghini (ed.), Lazio e Sabina 3, (Atti del Convegno. Terzo incontro di studi sul Lazio e la Sabina, Roma 18-20 novembre 2004), Roma: 255-260.
    • M. Gnade, 2007, I risultati della campagna di scavi 2005 e 2006 a Satricum, in G. Ghini (ed.), Lazio e Sabina 4, (Atti del Convegno. Quarto incontro di studi sul Lazio e la Sabina, Roma 29-31 maggio 2006), Roma: 191-200.
    • M. Gnade, 2009, La ricerca a Satricum dell’Università di Amsterdam nel 2007, in G. Ghini (ed.), Lazio e Sabina 5, (Atti del Convegno. Quinto incontro di studi sul Lazio e la Sabina, Roma 3-5 dicembre 2007), Roma: 363-368.