Bosco Littorio

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Bosco Littorio
Bosco Littorio is located in Sicily
Bosco Littorio
Shown within Sicily
Location Gela, Caltanissetta, Sicily, Italy
Region Sicily
Coordinates 37°3′42.43″N 14°15′16.93″E / 37.0617861°N 14.2547028°E / 37.0617861; 14.2547028
Type Emporium
History
Periods 8th - 5th century BC
Cultures Ancient Greece
Site notes
Excavation dates 1983
Management Soprintendenza di Caltanissetta
Public access yes

Bosco Littorio is a sandy area with dense vegetation on the Sicilian coast in the comune of Gela, containing the archaeological remains of the archaic emporium of Gela, which dates to the period between the 8th and 5th centuries BC.

Bosco Littorio[edit]

The area received its current name, which means lictorial wood and refers to the fasces, by the Fascist regime in the 20th century. Following the construction of the Polo petrolchimico di Gela (it) refinery in the 1950s, the local vegetation was affected by the fumes, becoming swollen and contorted. Until the 1970s, the area was used by inhabitants of Gela as a summer resort and swimming spot. It was also frequented by people carrying out illicit excavations.

In 1983, archaeological excavations were carried out, which revealed the emporium and from 1992 the area became part of the state property governed by the Soprintendenza di Caltanissetta, which is based at Gela. The wooded area can be entered freely and is looked after by the Corpo forestale della Regione siciliana (it). The archaeological area was opened to the public on 29 May 2009.

Archaic emporium[edit]

Excavation of the ancient emporium: traces of the holes for roof beams are visible.
Area "A1," from the 6th century BC and its doorway

The Archaic Emporium,[1] as it is identified by archaeologists, contains numerous structures (more than ten) which belong to a broad area extending from the port to the acropolis (the site of the ancient acropolis is the hill now known as Molino a vento) of the ancient Greek city of Gela, in an area bounded by the Gela river on the southeastern side. The buildings consist of regular square rooms. The walls survive to a height of more than 2 metres and in some cases preserve the ancient holes for the roof beams. In many cases, the layers of plaster which covered the interior walls are also preserved. In one of the structures, an entire door is preserved, including jambs and architrave. The walls were built of rough sundried mudbricks, probably mass-produced since almost all of them have the same measurements (60 x 60 x 15 cm).[2]

The first phase of activity in this area is datable to the time of the Greek colony's foundation in the 8th century BC. The site developed in the 6th century, until its destruction after 480 BC, probably from natural causes. The destruction might have been caused by a tsunami: traces of a traumatic event are clear from the collapsed walls of some of the houses. Over the remains of the archaic area is evidence for a final phase of life, characterised by the celebration of feasts which probably had a religious dimension.

The discovery of the site occurred during work on the foundations of a communal kindergarten. As a result of the discovery, this work was interrupted and the building was built elsewhere instead.

In December 1999, during some excavations carried out to the west of Bosco by Lavinia Sole under the direction of Sopraintendente Rosalbe Panvini, three terracotta altars were discovered, dating to the 480s BC and decorated with reliefs of mythological figures, the gorgon Medusa with her children Pegasus and Chrysaor under her arms on one, the goddess Eos kidnaping Thanatos on another, and a triad of female figures whose significance is unclear on the third. The altars are on display in the Regional Archaeological Museum of Gela (it).[3]

A new series of excavations was begun in November 2007 and concluded the next year, in September, and was carried out in tandem with the recovery of the archaic ships (it) on the seabed nearby. The shipwrecks and the emporium have been treated as a single object of research by scholars, since they were probably destroyed by the same event.[4]

During a three-day expedition, Traffici, commerci e vie di distribuzione nel Mediterraneo tra protostoria e V secolo a.C. (27–29 May 2009), the site was opened to the workers and their families and then to the wider public; it remains freely accessible today.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The official name is Gela, Bosco Littorio-Emporio arcaico.
  2. ^ R. Panvini; F. Giudice, Ta Attika: veder greco a Gela: ceramiche attiche figurate dall'antica colonia, Roma 2003, p. 215
  3. ^ R. Pavini, Les autels archaïque de Géla. Une découverte exceptionelle en Sicile. Musèe du Louvre, Salle de Diane (25 septembre-17 décembre 2001), Caltanissetta 2001
  4. ^ Interview with Rosalba Panvini
  5. ^ l'articolo, Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali.

Bibliography[edit]

  • R. Panvini; F. Giudice, Ta Attika: veder greco a Gela: ceramiche attiche figurate dall'antica colonia, Roma 2003
  • R. Pavini, Les autels archaïque de Géla. Une découverte exceptionelle en Sicile. Musèe du Louvre, Salle de Diane (25 septembre-17 décembre 2001), Caltanissetta 2001

External links[edit]