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Ionic capital found in a well in Gela

A large Ionic sandstone capital and two rectangular blocks was found inside a large circular well in the urban area of Gela, in Via Sabello, during the excavation work for the laying of electrical cables conducted under the archaeological supervision of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Caltanissetta.

Ionic capital found in a well in Gela
Credit: La Repubblica

"Once again the excavations in the urban area of Gela has yielded fragments of the history of one of the most important Greek settlements in the Mediterranean", says the Councillor for Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity, Alberto SamonĂ .

Ionic capital found in a well in Gela
Credit: La Repubblica

The Ionic style capital is 60 cm long by 51 cm deep and 34 cm high, decorated on the front side by the characteristic pair of opposing volutes, linked together by a curved ligature in relief. Two lines at the base of the capital mark the connection with the column below, probably characterized by vertical grooves that is currently being extracted from the ground. The discovery was made in the presence of an archaeologist, who is required by the Code of Contracts when carrying out works of public interest.

Ionic capital found in a well in Gela
Credit: La Repubblica

From a first attempt at chronological and cultural classification, it seems conceivable that these were intended for the same structure: the rectangular blocks were probably part of the entablature, while the capital must have been a front decoration of a building dating between the end of the sixth and fifth centuries BC. The design and accuracy of the architectural elements used could indicate that it was a public building.

Ionic capital found in a well in Gela
Credit: La Repubblica
Superintendent Daniela Vullo points out that "the discovery is exceptional both for the integrity of the stone artefact and for the presence of the Ionic order on the capital, given the rarity of the examples documented in the area of Gela, the only two found in the 1950s inside a cistern in the area of the Acropolis today kept at the local Regional Archaeological Museum".

Source: ANSA [Trsl. TANN, July 09, 2020]


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