La valle del Basentello e l'insediamento rurale di Vagnari in età tardoantica

Favia, Pasquale and Giuliani, Roberta and Small, Alastair M. and Small, Carola (2005) La valle del Basentello e l'insediamento rurale di Vagnari in età tardoantica. In: Paesaggi e insediamenti rurali in Italia meridionale fra tardoantico e altomedioevo. STAIM 1. Atti del primo Seminario sul tardoantico e l'altomedioevo in Italia meridionale. Insulae Diomedeae. Collana di ricerche storiche e archeologiche (4). Edipuglia, Bari, pp. 193-222. ISBN 88-7228-436-8

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ENGLISH: A systematic project of field survey, carried out from 1996 to 2004 in the Basentello valley on the border between Apulia and Lucania, provides evidence for the fluctuating trends in rural settlement and land use in this area. After the Roman conquest the number of settlements in the survey area was drastically reduced, and in the 1st century AD at least two imperial estates were founded, including the one in which the Roman village near the modern masseria Vagnari was located. In the 4th century AD, however, there was a remarkable increase in settlement. This phenomenon, which bears little relation to what happened in most of the Italian peninsula, was probably a consequence of the conversion of vast territories of South-East Italy to cereal growing to meet the needs of the annona. The archaeological excavation of the site at Vagnari was started in 2000 with the aim of testing, through stratigraphical research in a sample site, the hypotheses advanced on the basis of the field surface concerning the settlement dynamics in the Basentello valley between the Roman period and the Early Middle Ages. A geophysical survey of the site carried out before the excavation began produced evidence for wall alignments which required to be checked by excavation. Most of the trenches were laid out for this purpose. The combined evidence of the excavation and intensive field survey of the site provide important data on the origins and development of the settlement, and on its economic function. The first settlement at Vagnari in the Roman Period has yielded remains of several buildings with productive function (tile kilns and an iron smithy) datable between the end of the 1st century BC and the end of the 1st century AD. In this period the village was the main settlement in a wide saltus consisting of natural forest and rough pastures which was acquired by the emperor and formed part of the imperial patrimonium in the 1st century AD. The industrial component of the settlement was strengthened in the 2nd century AD with the construction of more kilns, some of which remained in use until the 4th century AD. Various other changes were made in the 2nd century AD in the design, function and location of the buildings. The excavation has confirmed the expansion of building activity in the late antique period already noted in the field survey. In the southern part of the settlement – in an area previously occupied by kilns – two large buildings have been excavated. Some of their features show the continuation of local industries, but others attest a residential function and agricultural-pastoral activity, consistent with the hypothesis that the surrounding territory had been converted to cereal production. These two buildings were occupied until the 6th or 7th century, during which period they underwent a series of transformations. The foundation of a hut in one of the ruined buildings suggests that in the latest phase of the site, at the beginning of the Early Middle Ages, the vicus structure of the settlement at Vagnari had declined, and a profound change in land use had taken place in the Basentello valley.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Il Primo Seminario sul Tardoantico e l'Altomedioevo in Italia meridionale si è svolto a Foggia (12-14 febbraio 2004).
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Depositing User: dr Vincenzo De Luise
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2014 09:50
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2015 03:12


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