The 1961-1962 Fieldwork (Mercando 1966)

Ivan Cangemi

This phase of work at S. Omobono was aimed at clarifying the chronology of a pavement of thin tufo slabs attested intermittently in several parts of the platform. Three soundings were conducted between the altars of the twin temples (sounding a, just east of the western altar; b, just west of the eastern altar; and c, approximately halfway between the altars). Three layers were excavated, one overlying the thin tufo slabs (layer I, only attested in sounding c) and two below preserved parts of the pavement (layers II and III, attested in all three soundings).

In all soundings, layer III appeared as a compact deposition of greyish sandy sediment. The layer yielded only a limited range of artefacts in soundings a and b (a few fragments of black-gloss pottery, coarse wares, and terracotta roof tiles), but a more varied and much larger assemblage in sounding c (hundreds of black-gloss sherds, painted and slipped fine wares, amphorae and other larger vessels, and coarse wares, in addition to fragments of lamps, roof tiles, opus signinum, terracotta paving cubes, other miscellaneous artifacts, and a limited faunal assemblage). Within sounding c, moreover, layer III was found to cover the dismantled remains of at least two monuments (one, square, with anchors for small statues or votives and an inscription around the base; the other, circular, with similar anchors as well as elaborate moldings around the circumference; for a detailed description of these monuments, see Ioppolo 1966; it should be noted that Torelli (1968) argues convincingly that the first set of architectural elements in fact pertains to two identical structures).

Layer II, which contained a substantial amount of tufo inclusions, appeared to be thicker than layer III in all three soundings, at some points reaching directly to the underlying pavement of tufo blocks. This layer also contained a more uniform assemblage throughout the three soundings (though the materials were attested in larger quantities in sounding c), including black-gloss and other ceramic sherds, roof tiles, and terracotta paving cubes. Finally, layer I, composed of black sediment with a large quantity of travertine inclusions, was attested only in the north-western section of sounding c. Because the surface of this layer was exposed, the associated material was not deemed chronologically relevant and was therefore not published. Thus, based primarily on the large assemblage of black-gloss sherds recovered in layers I and II, a terminus post quem of the beginning of the 2nd century BCE was suggested for the pavement of tufo slabs.


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