Settore IV

Carlo Regoli

Settore IV encompasses an area of 3.70 by 2.50m within the rear of the northernmost taberna. This area was initially subdivided into three parts (later four; the western half, designated B, and, within the eastern half, the northern area, A, and the southern area, E). The excavation was carried out in several phases between 1962 and 1963, concurrently with the investigation of settore II; the excavation of both areas was carried out by Ioppolo under the scientific direction of Colini. In settore IV, the work began in August 1962 with a sounding (A) in the north-east corner of the area, covering a surface of approximately 1.50 by 1.30m. As with settore II, little information is available for the 1962 excavations in settore IV, as they were not recorded in the excavation diary. The only available datum is that two steps of the access stairs to the front of the Archaic temple, probably from the first phase of the structure, were uncovered approximately 6m below the Republican pavement (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.1; most recently, Pisani Sartorio et al. 1989 and Colonna 1991, 52).

Subsequently, in mid-August, work began on sounding B, which covered a surface of 2.30 by 1.40m in the eastern part of the area. The excavation in this sounding, however, was halted only 2m below the foundations of the taberna owing to the safety threat posed by the frequent collapse of the trench walls.

Work was halted until the following year. On 18 October 1963, excavations began at sounding E, located in the south-eastern corner of the area between the brick wall of the taberna and soundings A and B. This sounding, approximately 2.20 by 1.40m, is also sparsely documented. The available notes record only the days in which individual layers were excavated, without any further information on their composition, characteristics, or the material they contained. Thus, for instance, layers E3, E4, and E5 were excavated on 22 October; the following day, after the removal of layer E6, which extended down to the same level at which the excavation of sounding B had been halted the previous year because of technical difficulties, the excavators decided to unify the two soundings and excavate them simultaneously (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 27, 1, c. 2676e; AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.24). The notes of 28 October record the excavation of layer E9, though no information is given concerning the overlying layers E7 and E8; the following day saw the excavation of E10, a compact clayey layer, interpreted as the last level before the abandonment of the Archaic temple (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.24-25, 28). On 31 October, the area of the stairs of the temple (settore IV A) was further excavated, though no pertinent information is given.

On 5 November, the excavators began 'il programma di chiusura dello scavo' (a program to close the excavation) by cleaning layer E11, which yielded a large quantity of sherds (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.27-28). On the same day, a small sounding was conducted above the structural feature in front of the Archaic temple, which brought to light a second step (thus adding weight to the proposed reconstruction of access stairs in front of the temple). E12, the underlying layer, excavated on 7 November and interpreted as 'il primo livello' (the first level) of the Archaic temple, covered E13, which was deposited before the construction of the temple and which, together with E14 below it, was cut by the foundation trench of the Archaic temple. Layers E14 and 15, which were drawn in the excavation diary but not included in the published section (Figure 46), are not otherwise described or documented (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.2. Cf. Ioppolo 1972, tab. I).

On 11 November 1963, while excavating another sounding, the left corner of the access stairs was discovered, confirming the 'la stratigrafia [...] consistente in 2 livelli del piano antistante il tempio' (stratigraphy composed of two levels of the surface in front of the temple) (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.31). On 16 November, the trench was secured with a small mortar wall along the northern face; this allowed the excavation of another small sounding, which revealed the right limit of the access stairs to the temple, 'che effettivamente [...] terminava dove previsto' (which in fact [...] ended where it was thought it would) (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.32, 34). The 1963 campaign was halted a few days later.

Finally, in 1964 the excavators continued sieving and washing the spoil from settori II and IV excavated during the previous year. Owing to the partial collapse of the walls of the trench, the lower part of which had not been secured, the area was backfilled with pozzolana on 12 June (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.46).


Summing up, the stratigraphic sequence of settori II and IV, which appears analogous, has thus been reconstructed by the excavators (Figure 46; Ioppolo 1972, tab. I; see above for the designations of layers and soundings used in the publication): phase of use of the Imperial tabernae (layers D1-D2-D3 and E1-E2-E3); fill for the construction of the middle Republican temples (D4-D5-D6 and E4-E5-E6); destruction and levelling of the Archaic temple (D7-D8-D9-D10-D11 and E7-E8-E9-E10); phase pertaining to the last level of use before the destruction of the temple and the raising of the level of the area (E11; AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 27, 1, c. 2676m); 'pre-temple' phase (E12, E12-13, D13, D14, D15). The reanalysis of the work carried out in the area has helped clarify several important issues. As a result, it is possible to reconstruct the development of the stratification over time in the following way.

In settore IV, layers E13, E14, and E15 are documented, though only the first appears in the published section (Figure 46; Ioppolo 1972, tab. I). According to the excavators, these three layers were cut during the construction of the access stairs of the Archaic temple and would thus seem to precede the construction of the temple. It is interesting to note that the fill of the foundation trench of the access stairs is made up of two layers, which were not distinguished during excavation, being designated simply IV E12. Of these, the first, characterised by many small fragments of tufo, perhaps resulting from shaping the blocks of the foundation and of the first step, constitutes the actual fill of the trench, while the other, which includes larger tufo fragments, is characterised by a thickness and outline that seem to identify it as the walking surface connected to the first phase of the temple.

A similar situation is also attested in settore II in a series of alluvial deposits (D13, D14, and D15, excavated for a total thickness of approximately 1.50m) that was characterised by few ceramic sherds and bones (Ioppolo 1972, 11-12). In this area, in contact with the attested blocks of the Archaic altar, between layers D12 and D13, the excavators documented the presence of the 'sacrificial pit' described by Ioppolo (Ioppolo 1972, 12) as:

un battuto di schegge di tufo la cui estensione era circoscritta alla superficie della soprastante ara. Ricopriva questo battuto un deposito alluvionale di sottili lenti alte ognuna mm. 2-3. Su di esso rimangono tracce di carbone e cenere, ceramica e grosse schegge di tufo bruciato' 'a beaten-earth surface of tufo fragments the extent of which was circumscribed within the area of the altar above it. An alluvial deposit of thin lenses, each 2-3mm in thickness, covered this surface. Above it were traces of charcoal and ashes, pottery, and large fragments of burnt tufo'

Through the reanalysis of the pertinent documentation, a different interpretation can be proposed for this portion of the stratigraphic sequence. The published section (Figure 46) does not show a pit but rather a simple level of tufo fragments that in the south seems to continue underneath the altar. A more careful reading of the section shows that this surface, which was not given a separate layer number, is at a higher level than a further block of the base of the altar, which was only documented in the southern wall of settore IV during excavation and is therefore represented in the section with a dotted line. This surface, clearly visible in the drawing, is covered by a layer (D12) that included the impasto cup attributed to the sacrificial pit (this type of cup, which is very widely attested at Rome and within Latium vetus and Etruria more generally, seems to appear after the beginning of the 6th century BCE, with an increase in its distribution in the second half of the century; most recently, Bartoloni 2009, 51-52, fig. 30; di Gennaro et al. 2009, 186-87, fig. 19, nos 1-2; Giontella and Villedieu 2009, 61, n. 27, tab. 5). Layer D12, however, partially covers some blocks of the altar, so that its deposition cannot precede the construction of the altar as has been assumed so far (Colini et al. 1978, 428; Pisani Sartorio 1990, 114; recently, Forsythe 2005, 90 and Martínez-Pinna Nieto 2009, 44).

If correct, this reconstruction would disprove the existence of a 'sacrificial pit' in these levels. Instead, it seems possible that the surface of tufo fragments was a preparation layer for the construction of the altar and layer D12 simply a fill deposited in the void left by the removal of some of the blocks of the altar some time after the destruction and abandonment of the Archaic temple (for the removal of the blocks see Ioppolo 1972, 15, n. 17 and Colonna 1991, 53). Alternatively, as Colonna argues, the blocks could have been removed during the restructuring of the temple structure (second phase) around 540-530 BCE, which likely involved:

'la probabile sopraelevazione del basamento, la rimozione delle assise di spiccato del lato posteriore e la ricostruzione di quelle degli altri [...] mentre il cavo interno, sovrapposto alla c.d. fossa sacrificale, veniva colmato di terra' (Colonna 1991, 52; Colonna further argues that the interior fill of the altar was not differentiated from the fill deposited after the removal of the blocks, which it abutted, due to the limited extent of the sounding; 1991, 54). the raising of the base, removal of the foundation blocks from the rear and the reconstruction of those on the other sides [...] while the internal void, above the so-called sacrificial pit, was filled with soil

To this second structural phase may belong also layers D11 and E11. The former was probably the top layer of the internal fill of the altar, while the latter, described as 'un piano d'argilla compatta (apparentemente battuta) con graniglia di tufo soprastante' (a compact clayey level, probably beaten, covered by tufo fragments) containing numerous ceramic sherds datable to the mid-6th century BCE (Ioppolo 1972, 14; cf. AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 1, c. 4051.28), was interpreted as the last level of use of the Archaic temple (Ioppolo 1972, 14; cf. AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 27, 1, c. 2676m).

The layers above (7, 8, 9, and 10), which were the same in both settore II and settore IV, seem to pertain to the levelling of the area, as suggested both by the general outline of the stratigraphy and by the fact that joining ceramic sherds were found in different layers across different parts of the site.

This levelling phase was followed by the deposition of a substantial fill (layers 4, 5 and 6) for the construction of the podium of the twin temples. These layers, which are the same in both excavation areas, are characterised by their substantial thickness, slight negative slope from north to south, and a substantial range of inclusions, from large tufo and cappellaccio fragments to pottery datable between the 13th and 6th centuries BCE (Ioppolo 1972, 17).

In addition to the brickwork structures attested in several areas throughout the peperino podium, layers 1, 2, and 3 from both settori can be attributed to the Imperial phase. Layers D3 and E3 correspond to a clayey surface deposited to protect the tabernae from the incursion of groundwater. Probably in response to this problem, the level was again raised subsequently (layers D2, E2, and D1, E1).

The last archaeologically attested phase of activity, of uncertain date, is the construction of a semicircular structure with an opening towards the east in settore IV, which can be interpreted as a small industrial area (no documentation is available concerning this feature, which is still partly preserved, as it had already been excavated and filled in 1938-1938; this is attested by a drawing, Archivio SDO, dis. n. 3596).


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