Sunday, January 17, 2010

6th c. BCE Palace at Torre di Satriano

Reports in the press on this past season's fieldwork at Torre di Satriano in Basilicata announce the discovery of a "palace" there [ANSA; Il Quotidiano della Basilicata; La Gazzetta del Mezziogiorno]--though it's been known at least since 2008. The megaron structure (picture above) dates to the mid 6th c. BCE; four contemporary tombs were discovered nearby. The environs of Satriano have been investigated off and on over the past 60-odd years, from some 30 tombs in 1943, to Ross Holloway's team in 1966 and 1967, and the 1986-88 excavations by the Soprintendenza. The current work is a joint effort between the University of Basilicata under Massimo Osanna and Queen's University under Fabio Colivicchi. There's a thorough page on Satriano at the Unibas site, with good photos (if sometimes a bit small). The structure sported a continuous terracotta frieze of horsemen, a tiled roof, and a terracotta sphinx on the roof beam. A second phase of the structure dates to the late 6th or early 5th c.

Some of the nicer material from the excavation was on display at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale della Basilicata "Dinu Adamesteanu" in Potenza for the special exhibit Principi ed Eroi della Basilicata Antica: immagini e segni del potere tra VII e V secolo a.C., which I happened to catch back in July of 2009; here's a section of the frieze with the sphinx...

And below, an Ionic cup and two fragments of Athenian Black Figure: