Settore VI

Paolo Brocato

The excavation of this trench was conducted between 13 July and 12 September 1964, and additional work was carried out in 1979 and 1981. The trench is located in the area in front of the eastern temple, between what has been interpreted as the left anta of the temple and the foundation of the left foremost column (Figure 34). The excavation area initially measured 5.00 x 3.60m, though it was subsequently reduced in size (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.50, 52-54, 65-69).

Following the removal of around 10cm of modern stratigraphy and 20cm of what was probably medieval stratigraphy, the fill of a medieval pit, later interpreted as a well, was uncovered in the north-eastern area of the trench. Among the material from the fill, the following elements are listed: a bronze coin, medieval ceramics, bones, fragments of bricks and marble, and 'frammenti enei ossidati' (oxidised bronze fragments). Additionally, a layer light in colour, layer 1, was uncovered. The corner of a partially preserved wall, the so-called medieval well, was also found in the same area. The wall was composed of heterogeneous material, including fragments of peperino, travertine, bricks, various types of tufo, flint, and also grinding stones and pieces of paving stones, all bound with mortar (Figure 52). The north-south tract of the wall was demolished in order to continue the excavation. From the plan sketched in the excavation notes, it can be surmised that a shallower pit, also attributed to the medieval phase, was found next to the so-called well, though its relationship with the well is unclear (this is one of the few plans included in the excavation diary; AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.53; a sketch without measurements connected to the narrowing of the trench can be found in AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.67).

Figure 52

Figure 52: Composite plan of settore VI with various stratigraphic units (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.53).

While the excavation of the 'medieval' fills was still incomplete, it was decided to begin excavating layers 1 and 2. In these layers was identified a trench for the construction of a drainage duct composed of a U-shaped block of 'tufo rossastro' (reddish tufo) laid on top of a cappellaccio slab. The excavation of layer 3 was then begun, but, as noted in the diary, 'il proseguimento dello scavo ha messo in evidenza le due fosse contenenti materiali antichi e medioevali, una nel lato nord e un'altra nell'angolo NE' (the excavation brought to light two pits containing ancient and medieval materials, one on the northern side and one in the north-eastern corner). The notes also record that the fifth course of cappellaccio blocks of the 'del pilone Ovest del cavo' (western pier of the foundation trench). The layer contained several fragmentary blocks of tufo rosso, yellowish clay inclusions, cappellaccio, and large charcoal fragments. A zoomorphic figurine in 'in argilla cruda parzialmente indurita' (partially hardened, unfired clay) was also recovered. At 2.35m from the upper part of the pillar east of settore VI, layer 4, lighter in colour and less compacted than layer 3, was distinguished (a subsequent note records the removal of layer 4 beginning 2.60m from the cappellaccio surface, suggesting that the surface of the layer was sloping or irregular; AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.65).

The well ended at 3.38m in depth, below 'piano di lastrine di cappellaccio' (the surface of thin cappellaccio slabs). Layer 5 was characterised by yellowish sand mixed with clay and large pebbles. Together with impasto sherds, a fragment of architectural terracotta was recovered. The following layer, 6, began at a depth of 3.50m and continued down to at least 3.95/4.00m from the surface of cappellaccio slabs. Various fragments of impasto ceramic and what were defined as sherds of imitation pottery ('d'imitazione') were recovered (it was also noted that at this point the excavation became more difficult because of the presence of groundwater; AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.66).

The size of the trench was then reduced to the western portion, corresponding to around one-third of the total surface. The soil excavated here is referred to in the notes as an 'approfondimento dello strato 6' (continuation of layer 6) and it is noted that it did not differ from the layer above it and that it contained fragments of impasto ceramic. The excavation then reached a clayey layer, but observation was rendered increasingly difficult owing to the presence of water. After reaching the eleventh course of the western foundation, it became evident that there were other blocks below, thus making up twelve courses for a total depth of 4.55m from the cappellaccio slabs (the reading of the measurement in the notes is unclear; a subsequent note gives the total depth as 4.92m).

Layer 7, corresponding to the twelfth course of blocks, included 'un frammento di ceramica a figure nere, piuttosto spesso, con parte inferiore di toro (?), una figurina umana sdraiata, acefala, fittile, un frammento di orlo di lip cup' (a relatively thick fragment of black-figure pottery, with the lower part of a ?bull, a clay figurine of a person lying down with the head missing, and a rim fragment of a lip cup). The excavation continued down to 5.20m through the removal of a clayey layer that contained a small tile fragment of yellowish impasto with augitic sand (next to the description of which is the annotation 'T. A.', probably an abbreviation of 'terracotta architettonica'). The presence of a large fragment of tufo rosso is also noted.

The clayey layer continued down to 5.60m without changes, although two fragments of architectural sculpture in yellowish impasto with augitic sand were recovered. The excavation was suspended at this level, though the trench was left open in the hope of resuming work at a later time.

After 1 September, examination began of the spoil from the trench to recover overlooked material. This was found to abound and to consist largely of impasto, although a few very small fragments of Campanian black gloss constituted the latest material. It was noted that layer 3 contained intrusions of bucchero and Campanian black gloss. In the spoil from layer 4, beside impasto, sherds of medieval and later pottery were also recovered. It was therefore noted that:

'poiché lo strato 4 è uno strato non manomesso e nel quale non si sono avute intrusioni di altri terreni, bisogna considerare tali frammenti più tardi come caduti accidentalmente nella terra dello strato 4, in un momento successivo allo scavo. Bisogna ricordare infatti che, per la grande quantità della terra, si sono utilizzati dei cassoni di fortuna, e che la terra scavata, prima di essere lavata, è stata passata al setaccio. La terra quindi dello strato 4, dopo essere stata scavata, è stata più volte rimossa e spostata, e non è impossibile che nel far questo si siano introdotti frammenti estranei che giacevano a terra. La possibilità che frammenti estranei possano essersi casualmente introdotti nella massa originaria della terra scavata sussiste anche per gli altri strati del settore VI' because layer 4 was not disturbed and did not contain intrusions from other soils, it must be concluded that such late sherds were accidentally incorporated in the spoil of the layer after the excavation. It should in fact be remembered that because of the large quantity of soil, it was stored in various available containers and was sifted before being washed. After excavation, therefore, the soil of layer 4 was repeatedly moved, and it is not impossible that extraneous fragments lying on the surface were introduced into it in the process. The possibility also exists that extraneous fragments were accidentally incorporated in the excavated soil of the other layers of settore VI

With regard to layer 6, it was noted that the material consisted largely of impasto sherds, only a small proportion of which was decorated. In layer 7, besides the materials described above, the presence of impasto and bucchero sherds was noted.

The sifting of the spoil continued until 3 November 1964, though soil from deeper layers remained unexamined.

In the report of the work conducted in the summer of 1964, the unearthing of a deposit of medieval ceramics was highlighted, together with the importance of the discovery of the front left corner of the eastern temple (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 30, 14, c. 3712).

In September of 1979, new work was carried out in the trench (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.209-215). After the excavation area was cleaned and the faces of the trench secured, layer 7, composed of black organic soil with inclusions of yellow clay, sand, and pebbles, was excavated. The layer yielded impasto fragments (including two fragments of foculi, or cooking stands), pebbles, tufo fragments, and bones. Then, for the excavation of layer 7a, the trench was reduced to half its original dimension. The excavation proceeded on three levels, the last of which was probably used to support a water pump. Layer 8, which contained few materials but was rather substantial due to the presence of numerous fragments of tufo, was then partially excavated. Because of the collapse of one of the faces of the trench, the excavation was temporarily halted. Work resumed with the excavation of layer 9, composed of very compacted greyish clay. 'Si torna a scavare nel secondo riquadro, prelevando lo strato 8a che è di argilla compatta priva di ceramica (ad eccezione di un frammento di bucchero argentato)' (The excavation resumes in the other part of the trench, starting with layer 8a, which was characterised by compacted clay and a dearth of materials (with the exception of a sherd of bucchero)).

The excavation diary at this point includes a sketch without measurements presenting a preliminary interpretation of the trench; the layers down to about half of the second course of blocks of the foundation of the left wall of the temple were understood as fills to raise the construction level; below the second course was yellowish clay with pebbles and pottery from the late 6th century, and the deepest layers were of sterile grey clay.

On 30 June 1981, work again resumed by cleaning the trench and digging a pit to house the pump (AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.229-238). During the latter activity some materials were recovered, among them tufo fragments with black surfaces. The upper layers of the baulk abutting the foundation of the column, designated VIA and VIB, were then excavated (a sketch without measurements shows the courses of the foundation, the baulk, and the pit for the pump; AFSRCM, S. Omobono, b. 31, 5, c. 4051.230). The baulk was divided into two halves, VI A1 and VI A2. The excavated layer, which contained a variety of materials, was designated A1 layer II; among other materials the presence of a fragment of architectural terracotta with part of the right half of a face is recorded. Layer VI A2, on the other hand, yielded bucchero and impasto fragments. According to the notes, the first layer to raise the level of the podium corresponded to VI A1 and VI A2. On 7 June 1981, the designation of layers VI A1 and VI A2 was changed to 'settore VI, layer 7'; 7a was used to indicate a lens of cappellaccio fragments. The presence of the impression of a block around 50cm from the twelfth course of the foundations was also noted. Work then proceeded with the excavation of layer 7, which yielded a bucchero kantharos, almost whole, and other fragments of bucchero and impasto.

Layer 8, which was very thick, was made up of very compacted grey clay and included a significant amount of material, including sherds of bucchero and impasto, some fragments of Attic pottery and architectural terracottas, and bones. Deeper down, the layer became darker and contained less and less material; this part, which contained a sherd of Greek pottery and some fragments of architectural terracottas, was therefore designated 8a. On the whole, this layer, which in fact would appear to include two distinct stratigraphical units, was approximately 0.9m thick. A list of materials notes the presence in layer 8 of a fragment of eye-cup and a sherd from a black-figure krater.

Though the excavation was officially halted on 10 July 1981, a coring below layer VI 9 was carried out on the 21 July, yielding black tufo fragments and revealing the presence of a layer of yellowish-grey clay. The work was then completely stopped and the trench backfilled.


The upper part of the stratigraphy was characterised by the presence of a pit, a well, and a wall from the 'post-antique' phase of activity at the site. The wall delimited the northern and western sides of the well but was not part of its facing. Based on the available documentation, it is therefore impossible to determine whether the wall or the well was constructed first or if they were part of the same construction activity. The pit, on the other hand, was clearly earlier, as it was below the wall and was cut by the well.

Layers 1 and 2 were cut by a foundation trench for a drainage duct composed of slabs of cappellaccio topped by U-shaped blocks (the same type of duct attested in settori V and VIII). This was certainly an important component of the structure, considering the care with which it was constructed and the complex articulation of the system over the entire podium. While it is difficult to establish a precise chronology, the construction of this system seems attributable to the Republican period.

Layer 3 may be interpreted as a fill to raise the level of the podium, which included fragments of blocks of tufo rosso and cappellaccio from the destruction of earlier buildings. In the excavation notes, the presence of Campanian black gloss is noted among the extraneous materials accidentally introduced into the spoil from the layer. Layer 4, lighter and less compact, presented similar characteristics, while layer 5 was composed of sand, clay, and pebbles; layers 6 and 7, both clayey, followed. Since the notes do not point to the presence of the foundation trench of the cappellaccio pillar, it seems likely that these layers abutted it. The few fragments recorded in association with layer 7 give a terminus post quem of the last decades of the 6th century BCE. A similar chronology can be derived from the larger quantity of materials from layer 8.

On the whole, the stratigraphical sequence appears rather clear, though the haphazard excavation methods employed did not allow for careful control of the excavated materials, resulting in the frequent intrusion of more recent artefacts in earlier layers. This is particularly clear with regard to the materials from layer 4. Also problematic is the exact sequence of the excavation phases. While the notes indicate a narrowing of the trench in the western area, the east-west section in fact seems to extend from the foundation of the column to that of the wall of the temple. This same section, which was published, presents a numbering system for the layers that does not correspond to that used in the excavation notes (Pisani Sartorio et al. 1989, table 2).


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