Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Some notes on the votive deposit at Campoverde

There seems to be some confusion. There's been a lot of coverage (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, IGN/Adnkronos, GMA News/AP, Winston-Salem Journal/AP, Discovery Channel, etc.; blogs: ArchaeoBlog, ArchaeoBlog (again), Archaeology in Europe, Looting Matters, Rogue Classicism, Tria Corda, Tria Corda (again), etc.) of the votive deposit apparently dug up by a farmer in Campoverde near Aprilia in Lazio. The site, at a certain 'Laghetto del Monsignore', dates to the 7th-6th centuries BCE, and was unknown to the scientific world ("sconosciuto al mondo scientifico": thus MiBAC; some sources add a gratuitous "assolutamente"). And yet...

A votive deposit was discovered at the spring of Laghetto del Monsignore, on the Via Mediana in Campoverde, in 1968 (Fulminante 2003: 226, note 409, with references). And, in 1977-1978...
"...the Archaeological Soprintendenza per il Lazio rescued a fair quantity of miniature and normal sized ancient artefacts from a small lake with a spring at its heart, today called the 'Laghetto del Monsignore'. These artefacts, mostly ceramic vessels but also a few bronze sheet figurines, fibulae, glass and amber pearls, constitutes probably only a very small portion of a much larger quantity of ancient votive objects dedicated at the spring. The spring at Campoverde must be considered an open votive deposit, the gifts were directly thrown into the water and they remained there for a long time as can be concluded from the streaks of scale (limonite) on the little pots. The spring may be called a 'deposito volontari' or favissa. At the moment of the rescue-excavation the area already had been illegally plundered, but still a few hundred small votive vessels could be stored. Today, only the here published miniatures are available for further study because robbers struck again in the storerooms of the Soprintendenza per il Lazio at Tivoli." (Kleibrink 1997: 441)
This must be the same spring-fed lake with the same name and the same types and dates of finds -- and apparently the same problems with looting. None of the sources I've seen on the latest, 2008, operation mention the earlier discovery or its circumstances, at least directly. The Discovery article's lede hints at it
—"Italian police have found the long-sought 'treasure of Satricum' in a farmer's bookshelf"—but goes no further. I don't know what, if anything, came of the earlier robbery, or whether the objects retrieved in the farmer's cabinet are to be understood as the material robbed in 1978 and thus "long-sought".


Crescenzi, L. 1978. "Campoverde." Archeologia Laziale 1:51-55 [non vidi]

Fulminante, F. 2003. Le sepolture principesche nel Latium Vetus.

Guidi, A., 1980 "Luoghi di Culto dell'Et
à del Bronzo Finale e della Prima Età del Ferro nel Lazio Meridionale." Archeologia Laziale 3:148-155. [non vidi]

Kleibrink, M. 1997. "
The miniature votive pottery dedicated at the 'Laghetto del Monsignore', Campoverde." Palaeohistoria 1997-1998, vol. 39-40, pp. 441-512 (abstract).

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