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New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy


The excavations of the Sanctuary of Athena or Athenaion, the agora and the archaic house of Paestum, which began three weeks ago, are nearing completion, while new campaigns are planned for 2019.

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Excavations in the Sanctuary of Athena, Paestum [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]
Of particular importance are the new finds from the sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Athena, where the team led by Fausto Longo of the University of Salerno, almost ninety years after the interventions of Amedeo Maiuri, has opened two excavations south of the temple.

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Excavations in the Sanctuary of Athena, Paestum [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]


There were strong fears of finding all the layers altered or in any case already excavated, but the studies conducted in recent years on the archives and the recent geophysical surveys conducted by Marilena Cozzolino and Vincenzo Amato suggested otherwise.

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Arm of terracotta Athena figurine [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]
In fact, the excavation has allowed to retrace one of the oldest excavation trenches made by Maiuri and to investigate areas never explored before.

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Archaic antefix [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]


Among the discoveries of particular importance are the objects from the archaic period, including fragments of a embossed bronze shield ring, numerous ceramics and terracotta statues from the 6th century BC, including the arm of a terracotta Athena figurine; numerous fragments of tiles and a splendid antefix painted in the form of horns (580-560 BC).

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Excavations in the Agora, Paestum [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]
The antefix is to be added to the other antefixes brought to light by Maiuri in the 1930s and already attributed to a temple of Athena older than the one we see today (500 BC).

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Excavation of the dolium or storage jar [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]


Future excavations will now have to re-establish the contexts of the sanctuary of Athena, until now practically unknown, which will allow a new narration of the sanctuary, especially the oldest one that can be traced back to the first generations of Poseidonites. The excavation has shown that this challenge is now possible.

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Excavation of the Archaic house, Paestum [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]
In the area of the agora the excavation directed by Emanuele Greco of the Paestum Foundation, has investigated part of a porticoed building of the late Republican Age. The excavation focused on a room open to the portico, revealing a partition wall that divided the room into two compartments; in the inner one, a large buried storage jar (dolium) was found. Also in this area, from the beginning of the excavations, it is hoped to identify levels dating back to the archaic and classical agora of the city later covered by the Roman porticus.

New finds at ancient city of Paestum in southern Italy
Excavation of the Archaic house, Paestum [Credit: Parco Archeologico di Paestum]
Finally, the Eastern University of Naples continued the investigation of the archaic house, one of the few known from the cities of Magna Graecia. The excavation has brought to light levels of occupation that can be dated between the end of the sixth and the beginning of the fifth century BC and the large banquet hall over 30 square metres in area, equipped with an internal stone channel for the disposal of water from the house. Laura Ficuciello, who directs the excavation, hopes to reveal the whole building and, if possible, to also find the residences of the founders of Poseidonia.

Source: Parco Archeologico di Paestum [October 08, 2018]

TANN

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