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Journal of archaeology and ancient architecture

Tag Archives: Agrigento

Per un contributo al tema delle trasformazioni post-classiche dei grandi templi di Agrigento: il Tempio A e il suo sacello

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The shrine inside the cella of the temple A of Agrigento, generically assigned to the Roman age, is a structure largely ignored by the modern scientific literature. It belongs with the deep transformations which, since the First Punic War, have concerned some of the great temples of Agrigento, from the so-called Olympieion to the temple A. The article illustrates a history of the investigations on the shrine, outlining the main issues which emerged, such as its dating or the typological problem, settled by the division into three parts of the end of the naos. Other important questions are to be added, such as the reconstruction of the worship practices connected with the small building, their relationship with the surviving structures of temple A. As a contribute to the interpretation of the whole area around the so-called lower agorà on the eve of the Roman siege of the city, the article identifies a reuse of the temple A within the fortification built in a state of emergency in 255-254 b.C. in order to defend the natural passage at the South-West part of the city, and links it to the similar and already known use of the Olympieion. This occasion probably constitutes a terminus post quem for the construction of the shrine and the reorganisation of the worship, while it is possible to identify a terminus ante quem in the statue of Asclepius of Augustan age, found in one of the two rooms flanking the naiskos.

La conservazione dei monumenti antichi in Sicilia. Il caso del de-restauro della fontana arcaica di Agrigento

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santoroNotwithstanding a centuries-long tradition of conservation in Italy, the principal cause of degradation of Greek and Roman buildings is found principally in the lack of a standardised intervention methodology and in the use of inappropriate building materials, incompatible with the tectonics of the original building. In effect, from the 1920s until recently, restoration interventions with steel reinforcement bars and epoxy resins to buildings made originally of stone seem to have been carried out on the principal archaeological monuments throughout the Mediterranean area causing similar structural and formal damage, which is sometimes irreversible. The Italian position, different from the Greek one, even with increasingly frequent architectural emergencies, including building collapses, seems to offer only a glaring lack of preparation in methodology, procedure and technique in the proposing of solutions or long-term intervention programmes. Instead, there are temporary interventions, such as protective coverings or support scaffolding which, remaining in situ beyond their capacity for protection, have worsened the conservation status of the building, as has recently happened for the archaic fountain in Akragas. The partial de-restoration of the fountain reported in this paper is part of a critical close examination of the history of its restorations since its discovery, which has confirmed that inexact analyses and a succession of ineffective interventions have damaged the entire architectural setup, whose typological characteristics of construction require a full and definitive intervention.

La Fontana Arcaica di S. Biagio

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finoThis paper aims to provide the first results of a new autoptical analysis on the structures of the archaic fountain in Agrigento, known as the Santuario rupestre of S. Biagio. The monumental system, located just outside the city-walls, on the north-eastern slopes of the Rupe Atenea, behind a rock face in which is developed an anthropic cave system, is made up mainly of two parts: the building of the western basins and, forehead to the east, a fenced yard. After the first investigations directed by Pirro Marconi in 1926, Giuseppe Cultrera, in 1932, unearthed the whole monumental complex. Since the discovery, the monument was subjected to several restoration works, some of which quite invasive, that determined a difficult reading of the architectural structure in its landscape. A new analysis on the structures has been done, in order to specify the architectural configuration during the life phases of the monument and to retrace the natural and anthropical processes that affected the site since its foundation. Moreover, it has been suggested a datation within the Hellenistic period, providing comparisons with the eastern Mediterranean world.

Archeologia e rischio sismico

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dagostinoSome Italian MIBAC (Italian Minister for cultural heritage) memoranda apply to the archaeological sites the same seismic rules used for buildings. That appears incorrect because the state of ruin is subject to a quite different use, but also has the peculiar needs of conservation. Starting from the idea that the “archaeological built heritage” has an artistic or monumental standing and it may also represent a simple attestation of aspects of human activity in the past, this paper suggests a different cultural attitude aimed to simultaneously respect the safety of visitors and avoid actions disrespectful of the material history of the ancient built.