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Journal of archaeology and ancient architecture

Tag Archives: topography

Archaeology and geomorphology of an area: new interpretations of long-term settlement logics from Prehistory to the Byzantine period across the central-eastern slopes of the Etna volcano

Authors: D. Calderone, G. De Giorgio

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The archaeological analysis of Sicilian territories between the Ionian coast and the Etna central-eastern slopes has historically posed challenges for archaeologists. For a long time, it was believed that the interpretation of archaeological data was completely compromised by the marshy nature of the coastal areas, intense human activity through time, and the impact of numerous lava flows, especially in higher altitude areas like the municipality of Mascali (CT). This town was destroyed in the 1928 eruption. This study addresses these challenges by combining the extant archaeological evidence with the study of the geomorphology and geology of the area, especially the superimposition of the various settlements in the region from prehistory to Late Antiquity to shed light on how different human communities inhabited the area over the centuries. Combining information from known archaeological contexts with the geomorphological study of the landscape makes it possible to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between humans and their local environment. The presence of archaeological sites in correspondence with specific geological formations, such as essential deposits of blue clays, elucidates the relationship between natural resources, settlements, roads, and ports. This, in turn, enables the formulation of new hypotheses regarding the exploitation of the land, with particular reference to the Roman and Byzantine periods, highlighting the strong links between this area of Sicily and those further North, in correspondence with the port of Naxos (modern Giardini-Naxos, ME).

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.