Cetamura del Chianti Research Results
Prior to 2000
Excavations by Florida State University at the hilltop of Cetamura del Chianti (695m above sea level) near Siena have unearthed a habitation with a long and diverse history, encompassing an Etruscan settlement, a Roman villa, and a medieval fort. Each period has multiple chronological phases. The excavations are conducted under the supervision and with permission of the Soprintendenza Archeologica per la Toscana. The site was originally discovered in 1964 by Alvaro Tracchi, of San Giovanni Valdarno. A detailed description of results obtained up until the year 2000 is provided by the catalogue of an exhibition on Cetamura held in that year, Cetamura Antica, Tradizioni del Chianti, at the Centro di Informazione Turistica, Gaiole in Chianti. The catalogue, edited by Nancy T. de Grummond, is available in English and in Italian (tr. by Alba Frascarelli) and provides a listing of essential bibliography up to 2000 (pp. 43-44). A Summary of the major developments up to 2000 is presented below.
Excavations have been conducted in two major areas (Fig. 1), Zone I, the arx or acropolis, and Zone II, a lower slope where remains of an Etruscan artisans' quarter were discovered. Zone I (Fig. 2) has produced evidence of all known periods at Cetamura, but because each successive wave of inhabitants cleared the high zone for its own usage, the stratigraphy is very uneven. The section designated as Area G has been the main focus of investigation. The earliest period, the Etruscan Archaic (7th-6th centuries BCE), is known from finds of bucchero pottery (Fig. 3), though very little was found in its original context. So far only a single post pit in this zone provides evidence of Archaic habitation, suggesting a building held up by timber posts. Nearby is a well, cut out of the sandstone bedrock (Fig. 4) that may also have been existing in the Archaic period.
Up to the date of 2000 the materials extracted were almost exclusively the result of dumping episodes from Roman and medieval habitation. Enormous amounts of Etruscan and Roman brick and tile were removed, along with Roman coins, glass and pottery (Italian sigillata and occasional sherds of African sigillata). The well was originally vaulted with large slabs of sandstone in a gable construction (Fig. 5), and featured a stone well-head with an opening of ca. 50cm (Fig. 6).
No firm evidence of activity in the 5th century or the first half of the 4th century BCE has been found so far at Cetamura, on either Zone I or Zone II. Excavations on the scarp between Zone I and Zone II have revealed what is probably a gate to the acropolis dating ca. 325-300 BCE. Cetamura’s most vigorous period seems to be the Late Etruscan, with two phases, ca. 300-150 BCE and ca. 150 to the 1st century BCE. These are well represented by actual structures on Zone II, but on Zone I so far the finds have been largely in a redeposited context. Included are Etrusco-Campanian black gloss wares as well as Volterran presigillata and local wares for storage, cooking and the table. With the Roman period we now find walls in situ (Fig. 2), all belonging to a modest bathing complex that was probably part of a Roman villa or possibly a mansio, located at a crossing of roads hypothesized as running from Volterra to Arezzo and from Siena to Fiesole. Two rooms (2 and 4) contained remnants of their hypocaust heating system (Fig. 7 shows rooms 2 and 3), with a furnace and drainage system placed in between them (Fig. 8 shows the entire complex). Numerous fragments of box flue tiles and window glass belong to a phase in the mid-1st century CE, but it is clear that the baths had more than one phase. Terra sigillata of the period of Augustus (31 BCE-14 CE) has been found in the terracing for one wall, and lamps and coins of the later 1st and 2nd century CE imply the continued usage of the baths. Artifacts connected with the baths, beyond the sherds of pottery and glass vessels, include items associated with the modest social status of the frequenters of the baths: a bronze mirror handle, a pendant from a soldier’s apron, a bone hair pin, a bronze fibula, a bronze ring (Fig. 9). Numerous gaming pieces (knucklebones, pottery discs, polished stones) reflect an aspect of leisure, as perhaps also does a stone slab incised with a grid, tentatively identified as a gaming board (Fig. 10). The medieval period at Cetamura (see Fig. 1 and Fig. 2) is attested in documents, especially of the 11th and 12th centuries CE, from the archives of the Badia a Coltibuono, to which the lands belonged intermittently during that period. The site is referred to as Civitamura, "Wall City," perhaps in reference to walls from antiquity still remaining on the site, or perhaps because medieval fortifications had been erected on the hill. One document alludes to Civitamura as a castrum, i.e., a fortified settlement. The fortifications included sandstone walls (Fig. 7 and Fig. 11) and an extensive earthwork (agger), running along the north side of Zone I. The construction of the castrum entailed demolition of parts of the baths, probably so that stone and brick could be reused for building here and elsewhere, but also happened to preserve a significant amount of the baths under the agger. Two rooms of the medieval settlement have been identified (1 and 5), though the overall plan of the complex, roughly rectangular, is far from clear. Among the medieval artifacts from Cetamura are numerous sherds of testo, the low, thick ceramic pan used for making hearth bread, and of a combed ware often blackened from contact with the fire.
The finds in Zone II are mostly of the Etruscan Late period (Fig. 12). Of the greatest interest is the artisans’ zone (the Northwest Complex), which has yielded a kiln dating to the first phase, ca. 300-150 BCE (Fig. 13) and other evidence of activity by Etruscan workers. The kiln, Structure K, is one of some 30 Etruscan kilns known, and provides valuable information about the processes of making brick, tile and ceramic weights for the loom. The rectangular structure is built of irregular sandstone masonry, with exterior measurements of ca. 3.85 x 3m. The ground plan features a central partition, the mastio, subpartitions within the east half and the west half of the kiln, and two stoking channels or praefurnia, located on the northern side of the kiln. The mastio and the subpartitions as well as the interior lining of the kiln on the east and west sides were made with a heat-resistant refractory material known to have withstood temperatures as high as 1000° C. Numerous fragments of refractory brick were found in and around the kiln, some of them in a shape that is so far without parallel (Fig. 14). A standard unit of length or module of ca. 33cm seems to have been used in making these bricks; this "Cetamura foot" can be found utilized in other architectural remains at the site preserved well enough to reflect their original measurements. Also within the Northwest Complex was found a pair of cisterns, Structure A (Fig. 15) and Structure B, not necessarily in use for water storage at the same time. Structure B was originally constructed in Phase I and then was re-worked in Phase II, at the time that Structure A was built.
Also at that time was constructed a drain running through B (Fig. 16), which evidently carried the water into Structure A. The walls of Phase II are very thick, of varying widths exceeding 1m, and imply that these two structures created a basement for a large building of the last period of Etruscan Cetamura. To the north of the cisterns is Structure C (Fig. 17), a large paved room built at the same time as the first phase of Structure B. The rectangular interior measures 4.95 x 6.95m, which, converted with the Cetamura foot of 33cm, yields a plan of 15 x 21.06. The original construction of Structure B was planned as a pendant to Structure C and seems to have had identical measurements.
The purpose of Structure C is not certain, but it may well have been a room used for spinning and weaving. A surprising number of tools associated with making textiles has been found in the Northwest Complex, including loom weights, spindle whorls and spools (Fig. 18), as well as small stone grinders, possibly used for grinding dyes. Several of these artifacts were found in debris within Structure C and thus seem to have been in use there at the time the building was destroyed. Also in the area were found traces of yet another craft, the working of iron, as indicated by fist-sized metallic scoriae.
Finds within the Northwest Complex have been abundant. Typically, under a thin stratum containing sporadic sherds of medieval date and a sometimes thicker layer of Roman date lie dense strata of the Late Etruscan period. The cisterns Structure A and Structure B were filled with artifacts, including Etrusco-Campanian black gloss pottery (Fig. 19), Volterran presigillata (Fig. 20; inscribed with the name of the owner, LAUSINI), thousands of sherds of local wares, and small objects such as an Etruscan conical bead of blue and yellow glass (Fig. 21) and an Etruscan coin of the 3rd century BCE. Of particular interest from the kiln area was an Etruscan cornelian scarab of the 4th century BCE.
Within Structure K itself were found several dozen fragments, scattered throughout the kiln, of an Etruscan black-gloss sacrificial patera (Fig. 22), providing a unique instance of the consecration of an Etruscan kiln to the gods. The presence of this type of ritual was confirmed by the discovery within one of the praefurnia of a tiny votive black-gloss cup (Fig. 23), only partially chipped at the rim and on the base—a second example of a vessel of fine ware offered to the gods in hopes that they would spare the large batch of brick, tile and loom weights to be fired in the kiln. At the bottom in the back right-hand corner of the kiln was found a small votive cup, evidently a votive offering at the time of the founding of the kiln.
A major project during the years 2000-2006 was the excavation to bedrock of two large and deep units located on an escarpment between Zone I and Zone II (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2); these were 3x6 meter rectangles which in places were sunk to depths of two or more meters. These units on the edge of Zone I (Area G) provided an excellent cross section of stratigraphy of the site; at the bottom were traces of two parallel Etruscan sandstone walls, 4.5 m. distant, dating ca. 325-300 BCE, interpreted as the sides of an entrance gate to the citadel (Fig. 3 and Fig. 4). Within the same level were found two large pits in the bedrock (Refuse Pit 1, 2002; Refuse Pit 2, 2005) filled with discarded debris from the Etruscan kitchen and table: animal bones, local wares for cooking and storing, and fragments of fine table wares. It is hypothesized that the pits join and are part of the same phenomenon, but it was not possible to excavate them entirely, since they run underneath a wall of the baths of the Roman villa.
Among the special finds were two tools made from the worked antlers of a deer, possibly a pestle and an awl (Refuse Pit 1; Fig. 5). Near Refuse Pit 2 were found 30 joining fragments of a ceramic mortarium, including the spout on its rim (Fig. 6); the vessel was sufficiently preserved to show the diameter at ca. 52cm. Just above the level of the refuse pits were found a number of examples of large Etruscan bricks, fired at a low temperature and orange in color, of the same date or a little later. These are similar to examples found earlier at Cetamura, still lying in the kiln where they were made, Structure K on Zone II. Resting on an irregular clump of such bricks (Fig. 7) were the fragmentary remains of a sandstone wall from the Roman baths, dated to the Augustan period by numerous fragments of Roman red gloss pottery found in the terracing for the wall. At a slightly higher level was a fairly well preserved segment of fortification, again sandstone, belonging to the medieval period, but not precisely datable. It may belong to the period in the twelfth century when Cetamura was referred to in medieval documents as a castrum. In a smaller unit to the west of these, the goal was to find material that would help to give a precise date for one of the walls of Room 4 of the Roman baths. Only medieval and Roman stratigraphy was identified. In the Roman level were found fragments of cocciopesto and painted plaster, suggesting that the wall, and Room 4, belonged to a secondary phase of the baths, probably the first century CE. Above this was a section of a medieval rampart or earthwork (agger) within which have been found objects of a much earlier date. Of particular interest were fragments of Etruscan bucchero probably dating to the sixth century BCE, testifying to activity on the site during this period even though so far relatively little bucchero has been found in its original context. In the most recent probe of the agger was discovered an amphora stamp with the name EVTACHEI, dating to the late third century BCE, almost certainly part of the same amphora with the stamp M.LVRI found in 1993 in an adjacent unit (Fig. 8). The two stamps, among the earliest Roman amphora stamps known, are from the amphora type known as "Greco- Italic."
Another major project of these years involved excavations in the well cut into the sandstone bedrock near the center of Zone I, hypothesized to be Etruscan. Excavations in this area began at 19 m. below ground level, under the supervision of Claudio Bizzarri, and were suspended at a depth of ca. 25 m. below ground level. The excavations reached the water table and a special apparatus will be needed to continue the work and pump the water out. Almost all finds were from episodes of dumping in the well, and included mostly Roman material, such as coins, glass, red-gloss pottery and box flue tiles. At the level of the water table, several vessels have been found having multiple pieces, such as a pitcher with some 39 sherds (Fig. 9). The amount of material preserved suggests that these were vessels that fell in when the well was actually in use.
Excavations in Zone II at Cetamura del Chianti up to 2006 have now made clear much of Area L (=Building L), a monumental Etruscan building evidently dating to the final century of Etruscan civilization (2nd half of the second century/1st half of the first century BCE; Fig. 10). The building has a highly irregular plan, with stone foundations often one meter or more in thickness. the interior of the building features walls running at right angles and trending north/south or east/west (Fig. 11). Other walls run at a diagonal to this plan, including one wall or wing of the building on the southwest about 21 meters long. There are paved areas alternating with beaten earth floors of yellow clay and what is probably a large courtyard in the middle. Some of the foundations are so heavy and thick that they could easily have supported multistoried elements. Within the building's courtyard is a sandstone platform that likely served as an altar. It has a tetragonal shape, measuring 2.46 x 1.32 x 1.94 x 1.85 m. (Fig. 12). Nearby was found a sacrificial pit, sunk into the beaten earth floor, measuring ca. 1.00 m x 0.90 m, with a depth of ca. 0.25m. Of the many items found in the pit, some were clearly ritually burned and others probably intentionally broken.
Most of the finds from the pit were consigned to Studio Art Centers International (SACI), Florence, for conservation and restoration under the direction of Nora Màrosi and Renzo Giachetti. It is evident that the pit contained approximately 10 vessels, including 4 miniatures. Several of the vases were quite large, including one storage vessel, and a large pitcher, probably for wine (Fig. 13). There also were little cups for drinking and a bowl for eating, as well as a small beaker of the type that holds oil or spices. All of these vessels are ceramic, most of them broken, but with most or all of the fragments buried together in the pit. Further, most of the pots seem to be locally made rather than imported. No painted wares were included. Also of considerable interest was the discovery of some 10 iron nails deposited in the pit, probably indicative of ritual practice, in a relatively good state of preservation. Among the metal objects was a coin of bronze clad with silver, now legible as a result of Giachetti's cleaning (Fig. 14), as a type of coin struck in a silver denarius series at the Roman colony of Narbo ca. 118 BCE, providing a terminus post quem for the sacrificial pit, as well as an index for dating the altar and Building L.
In the same Zone of Cetamura (Zone II; Fig. 15), investigations continued in the area of the kiln, Structure K, which had itself been fully excavated by 1996. This structure was begun in the third century BCE, contemporary with a nearby paved room, Structure C, and the first phase of the nearby cistern Structure B. A 3x3 m. unit on the north of the kiln was designed to investigate the area in front of the kiln that served for stoking it. The two praefurnia of the kiln were completely uncovered and dense layers of carbon were found immediately outside the channels, containing pottery dating to the Late Etruscan Phase I (ca. 300- 150 BCE). In 2006 in the deep stratigraphy adjacent to the kiln were found several fragments of pottery with graffiti. One of these has the name of the Etruscan god Lur incised upon it (Fig. 16). While this belongs to an earlier phase than Building L and was found about 20 m. north of the altar within L, it certainly shows religious activity on the site, along with a number of other graffiti and miniature vessels found through the years in the area of the kiln and cisterns Structure A and Structure B. Building L may represent an ambitious attempt to monumentalize an already existing sacred area in the final years of Etruscan habitation at Cetamura.
The 2007 season at Cetamura produced many new developments in the sanctuary of the Etruscan artisans (Building L; see the maps at Figs. 17 and 18). Work continued near the large rock altar found in 2005, in the sanctuary courtyard. Below the sacrificial deposit discovered in 2006 (now known as Votive Feature (VF) 1A), were found two more deposits, VF 1B (Fig. 1) and VF 1C. In addition three other repository areas were identified (VFs 2, 3 and 4). Taken together these provide a bonanza of information on Etruscan rituals and sacrificed votive objects, consistent with the findings from 2005-2006, but adding in many new details and providing great insights. All dating indicators confirm activity in the second half of the second century BCE. Nails remain the offering of choice (Fig. 2), and they have now been found in association with all deposits except 1C as well as outside the focal offering areas. They are small, medium or large; single or multiple offerings; and almost all made of iron. More than 30 in total have been found, along with at least one bronze nail cap. These relate to the Etruscan idea that nails reflect destiny and fate. Also intriguing are the various examples of polished stones/gaming pieces found inside the offering areas and on the periphery or elsewhere in the sanctuary (Fig. 3). Examples have been tentatively identified as made of red jasper, milky quartz and green limestone—all stones that do not occur naturally at Cetamura—as well as of ceramic material. Such pieces, often associated with games of chance, are probably also related to fortune and good luck.
The cult of fate and fortune probably belonged to the gods Lur and Leinth (Fig. 4), whose names were found in inscriptions in 2006; they are little known at other sanctuary sites. This year appeared a new example of an inscription type found before at Cetamura, a ceramic fragment inscribed with a monogram with the letters A, L and P all written together (Fig. 5). There are now11 total known from Cetamura). The letter order is uncertain, but one possibility is LAP, which might be the name of the god Lapse, known at only one other Etruscan site. Besides generic vows regarding fate and fortune, it is clear that very specific prayers were made by Etruscan artisans who operated the workshops adjoining the sanctuary. It has long been long known that nearby there was a ceramics workshop, with a large kiln for brick and tile and a smaller one, probably for pottery. There is also evidence of a weaving establishment, and the working of iron. This year the votive deposits and their periphery yielded weaving implements (a loom weight, Fig. 6; a spool, Fig. 7; and a spindle whorl) as well as specially shaped miniature tiles or bricks thrown into the offering pit (Fig. 8). Some objects had been ceremonially broken before deposit. The brick makers and weavers were offering products of their trade, and the ironworkers could have been offering the nails, as well as other objects of iron (for example, two iron rings). Another special offering was a lead weight, completely preserved (Fig. 9), and weighing 346 grams, close to the standard Italian (Campanian) pound. Given all this evidence, it is appropriate to think of this sanctuary as being especially for the local artisans, who were seeking good luck and success in making their products. But there were also visitors from outside who came up the hill to seek favorable fortune from the gods of the place.
The other major type of offering was pottery, and of particular predominance is the miniature cup, of a size that is obviously for the gods only (Fig. 10). Fragments of broken mini-cups have now been found in 4 of the votive contexts. Another popular form is the small, handleless jar or beaker (Fig. 11). In VF 2A, was found a broken beaker along with a black-gloss offering saucer (Fig. 12), as well as a gaming piece, nails, a mini-brick, and other offerings. Some of the pottery is imported, while other pieces very probably were locally made. The evidence indicates that in each ceremony the vase was ritually broken, then portions were burnt, and finally part or all of the vessel was buried or left on the sacred surface. Expert restorations have been made of many of the vessels at Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence.
In some cases, the offerings were placed in a fire burning on the surface of the sanctuary courtyard. Of particular interest was an oval-shaped rock feature set in a low pit (VF; Fig. 13) which can be understood as a hearth or semi-subterranean altar. Upon it were found evidence of fires being set and deposits of varying types (mini-cup, nails, loomweight, spool, gaming piece, mini-brick, and bronze Roman Republican coin; Fig. 14). In effect, the offerings were still in situ on the hearth/altar, where they had been placed by the worshippers. The plan of the sacred area has been considerably clarified, with mapping of details that were missing in the past and with discovery of completely new features (Figs. 17-18). New excavations of foundations allowed the identification of 3 (possibly 4) new rooms or chapels of the sanctuary (Fig. 15). Two of these are elongated rectangular rooms side by side, which recall the cellas of Etruscan temples. Room 3 has a gap in the foundations suggesting the presence of a doorway, and just outside the doorway appeared VF 3, with an assortment of votive objects, suggesting that visitors made a liminal offering.
The overall plan of the sanctuary, Building L, now appears as a large trapezoid with load-bearing foundations on the sides ca. 20 meters long, and with a broad courtyard in the wide end of the trapezoid, oriented toward the southeast as is common in Etruscan temples. The altar is located near the center of the sanctuary and VFs 1, 2 and 4 are all located on the southeast inside the courtyard.
In the artisans’ quarter were completed two very deep trenches exploring the workers’ area in front of the kiln, Structure K, excavated intermittently since 1996. The culmination was finding bedrock at a depth of 4.58 meters below datum. We now understand that the workers began by hollowing out a huge cavity in the earth, building the stone kiln within the cavity and then plying the kiln from a deep protected area directly in front of the furnace. The “workers’ yard” yielded an enormous amount of evidence for their practices, including heaps of broken pottery gathered around the site and brought there to be ground up and recycled as brick and tile. Within such pottery deposits the inscriptions to Lur and Leinth were found in 2006. A bonus to understanding the kiln workshops emerged in an area on the exterior west flank of the sanctuary, where extensive dumping from the kiln areas was carried out when the sanctuary was remodeled into its present second-century form. Here were found rugged, giant-size ceramic fragments of storage jars (dolium; Fig. 16), as well as Etruscan fired bricks and imported amphoras.
During the summer of 2008 a study season was conducted. The two principal goals of the work period were to organize previously excavated materials for an exhibition, projected for July, 2009, and to carry out limited excavations in the area of Structure L (Building L), the Etruscan sanctuary of the second century BCE, located in Zone II.
The investigation continued of Votive Feature 4, located within the courtyard of Building L and thus evidently open to the sky. The soils in 2007 and 2008 featured extensive carbon remains, evidently the result of acts of burning. The area yielded few artifacts, but two more votive features were found nearby, VF 6 and VF 7. VF 6 featured a complete circular rim of an amphora in 12 pieces broken off just below the rim (Fig. 1) and turned upside down in the soil, presumably on what was the surface of the courtyard. Adjacent to it were some 30 fragments of local Cetamura Fabric 3, as well as carbon and tile fragments. VF 7, a group of numerous and diverse offerings, was found on the west side of the unit at a similar level. Included were a black-gloss goblet, Morel form 3451a2, datable to 160 ± 50 BCE, sliced vertically and with only half of the vessel deposited (Fig. 2), and a cooking pot, probably of local Cetamura Fabric 1, also sliced vertically, and laid on the ground to the north of the black-gloss goblet, filled with cooked chick peas. Around the goblet were found numerous fragments of thin sheets of curved iron, part of a strigil, and a number of segments of iron rod, probably joining and perhaps part of a candelabrum (Fig. 3). Scattered about the votive area were, lumps of iron, a miniature brick, and a fragment of a miniature cup.
Near the hearth-altar (Altar II =VF 2), VF 5 emerged, consisting of tile, carbon, refractory brick and a well-preserved miniature votive cup. Still in the courtyard and south of VF 2 was found a cavity in the ground, excavation of which is not yet complete (Fig. 4). Channels in the sterile soil seem to lead to it. The cavity and the channels showed evidence of intentional filling and covering with a dense pebble matrix, extending toward Altar I. A sterile hard-yellow clay beaten earth floor overlies the pebble stratum, indicating that the cavity and channels belong to a phase earlier than the beaten earth floor and the votive features identified in the courtyard of Structure L.
An exhibition, The Sanctuary of the Etruscan Artisans at Cetamura del Chianti, The Legacy of Alvaro Tracchi, Il Santuario degli Artigiani Etruschi a Cetamura del Chianti, L’Eredità di Alvaro Tracchi,was held at the Museo Casa di Masaccio in San Giovanni Valdarno (Fig. 1), the home town of Sig. Tracchi, who discovered the site of Cetamura in 1964. The exhibition, on display in June and July, 2009, featured 222 objects and didactic panels on the Etruscan sanctuary and artisans’ zone. The exhibition was a joint project of Florida State University and Studio Art Centers International (SACI) of Florence, in cooperation with the Comune di San Giovanni Valdarno. The show was moved to the Badia a Coltibuono (Gaiole in Chianti) in September, 2009, and remained on view until March, 2010 (Fig. 2).
No excavation was carried out on the site of Cetamura.
The following four projects were pursued:
1. Room 1 of Area G on Zone I, excavated in 1982 and 1984, was reopened to study a pit discovered next to its east wall which had contained the antlers of a deer and animal bone. The foundations of Room 1, of medieval date, appear to overlie the pit.
2. Another area, on the scarp in between Zone I and Zone II, was reopened to resume probing the Refuse Pit (segment 3) running under the Roman terracing and a fragmentary Roman wall. The matrix of RP 3 was filled with ash and hundreds of fragments of bone, tooth and antler, as well as 4th-century black gloss, Cetamura Fabrics (especially cookwares), and bucchero, including one base inscribed with a siglumof a cross mark (forma quadrans) with symmetrical markings in the quadrants (Fig. 1).
3. On Zone II, work focused on the Etruscan artisans’ quarter. In units east, north and west of the kiln Structure K, strata emerged near the surface with medieval and Roman artifacts—majolica, red gloss, glass, and coins. One unit was so rich in iron slag, nails and other, unidentifiable iron objects that it seems likely that this was an area of iron working; Roman artifacts were the latest datable objects. Excavations were reopened around Structure J, a stone platform that was part of the kiln workshop, and near the southwest corner of Structure H, of which one wall running east-west is under investigation. Its masonry style suggests a date of ca. 300-150 B.C. Finds in the unit included 5 polished stone and/or glass gaming pieces. On the south side of the wall the deposit was consistent with the workers’ yard for the kiln area around Structure J—dense carbon, refractory brick, numerous sherds of pottery, a typical Late Etruscan assemblage of black gloss and Cetamura Fabrics, especially CF 3 (hydrias). Structure J encompasses a feature of stones in a rough circle (diameter ca. 1.00m) that may be a kiln (Fig. 2). To the east of the circle were found two vessels, broken and turned upside down, that may have been part of ritual acts. One, a black-gloss bowl, features a neatly drilled hole in the bottom (for pouring an offering? Fig. 3) and the other, a cook pot, when tested for residues, revealed a content of wine and lipids (i.e.from meat? Fig. 4).
4. In Building L, the Etruscan sanctuary of the second century B.C., Room 2 was excavated, a small chamber (ca. 1x3m) oriented north-south with three foundation walls belonging to Late Phase II (150-75 B.C.) and a fourth wall belonging to Phase I but reworked (Fig. 5). The yellow clay beaten earth floor was, as usual, nearly sterile. Northeast of Room 2, excavation was begun in Room 5, a chamber with foundation walls measuring nearly the same as those in Rooms 1 and 2. On the southwest exterior of Building L, in one unit bedrock was encountered near the surface, except in an area where a large curving line demarcated a clay deposit, suggesting the presence of a large circular structure with clay packed around it (Fig. 6) Further to the west, the lower part of a large dolium (storage jar; Fig. 7) began to emerge within an area of dumping, possibly in situ. Numerous artifacts were retrieved from the dump, including fired brick, iron nails, a bronze nail cap, flint, bone and ceramics (black gloss, Cetamura Fabrics 1-4).
Work continued in both Zone I and Zone II (Figs. 1 (pdf 627.64 kB) - (pdf 752.59 kB) 3 (pdf 429.05 kB)). Excavations in the well on Zone I (top of the hill) were resumed, arriving at a depth of ca. 27 m below ground level. The shaft of the well at this level is roughly square, ca. 2 m x 2 m. with straight vertical walls cut into the bedrock (Fig. 4). Brick and tile were abundant (1287 kg =2840 lbs.) as well as rocks of sandstone, many of them worked. Many finds were of Roman date, including a large amount of tubuli (box flue tile), glass, and Arretine red-gloss as well as African red slip. Fragments of testo(medieval bread-pan) and jars with an incised wavy line (Langobard/late antique) were found, While much of the actual material may be Roman, it probably was dumped in the post-antique period. Excavations have reached the water table but the date of origin of the well is as yet unknown. The work in 2011, conducted by Ichnos: Archeologia, Ambiente e Sperimentazione of Montelupo Fiorentino under the direction of Francesco Cini, was scheduled to resume in 2012.
Four meters to the north of the well excavations were designed to investigate further a sector of Zone I where a medieval wall and room (Fig. 5; Area G, Room 1) were uncovered in 1982 and a pit and a stone platform were first excavated in 1984. The principal objective was to learn more about the pit, originally designated as a post pit (PP3), but re-evaluated because finds from within it (antler of deer and animal bones, pottery of the 4th century BCE and a stone gaming piece) may have been of ritual significance. PP3 turned out to be the easternmost part of a large and deep cut in the bedrock, at least ca 3 m. long and ca. 0.60 m. deep (Fig. 6). Its filling contained carbon and clusters of rocks that may have been ritual deposits. Finds in the pit included a good bit of animal bone, scraps of iron, and a bronze ring or earring as well as pottery datable to the second half of the 4th century BC. Adjoining the pit on the northeast is a feature previously described as a stone paving or platform, still only partly excavated. Adjacent to this platform is a linear depression cut into the bedrock that may have served as a channel. The combination of platform, channel and adjacent pit suggests a ritual installation.
On the scarp in between Zones I and II excavation was completed in a deep crevice in the bedrock (Fig. 7), with the removal of a single deep locus in segment 3 of the Refuse Pits under excavation since 2001. Abundant ceramic finds exhibited the full range of Cetamura Fabrics 1 to 4, bucchero, amphora, black gloss, gray ware, early Hellenistic fine ware, and a number of wares of varying paste and color not yet analyzed. The volume of carbon and bone was considerable, including jawbones of sheep/goat and cow. Diagnostic fragments of black gloss confirm the date previously proposed for the pit of ca.350-300 BC. The crevice containing RP 1, 2 and 3 is at least 5.5 m long and as deep as 1.25 m
In Zone II, Building L excavation focused on Room 5 (Fig. 8). The cell-like room measures ca. 3 m along its N-S axis and 1 m along its E-W axis, measurements almost identical to those of two previously excavated rooms of Building L (Rooms 1 and 2). The beaten earth floor yielded local Cetamura fabrics, black gloss and grey ware of the 3rd-2nd centuries BC.
On the southwest exterior of Building L was discovered a cistern or well lined with stone walls in a roughly circular pattern (Fig. 9). Investigation revealed that the shaft was filled in with rocks, tile and other debris to a depth of at least 1 m. Thus far the new feature, known as Structure M, shows a plan that is ca. 1.80 m in diameter on the N-S axis and ca. 2 m on the E-W axis. The stone walls are ca. 70-75 cm wide and encircled by a thick layer of dense clay. It is not yet possible to date Structure M.
On the western edge of the hill and on the exterior of Building L, large portions of a great storage jar, Dolium A, were extracted (Fig. 10) and excavation began on a second specimen, Dolium B, both evidently in situ. The surrounding strata yielded evidence of a dumping episode most likely dated ca. 150 BC. There were extensive remains of brick of a type made by the Etruscans in Structure K (the kiln on the north side of the sanctuary), amphora, tile and a miniature cup with no color coat, resembling votive cups found in 2006 in Votive Feature 1 of Building L (dated 125-100 BCE).
Six units measuring 3 x 3 m were designed to gain further information about the artisans’ zone to the north of the sanctuary. In an area immediately east of Structure K, a post pit and a cobbled pavement suggest a work area of the kiln workshop (Figs. 11-12). Still further to the east were found two walls that intersected at right angles, creating a corner of a heavy foundation (Fig. 13). They are composed of a single course of large stones set on and into a rubble mixture of brick and tile. Upper strata in this area included Roman red gloss as well as a typical assemblage of black gloss and Late Etruscan wares (3rd-2nd centuries BC).
West of Structure K investigation continued in the worker’s area, where very dense carbon, tile and refractory brick were encountered, along with fragments of bone and Late Etruscan pottery; Roman red gloss was not present in the diagnostic strata. North of this is the southwest corner of Structure H, of which one wall running east-west is under investigation. Diagnostic artifacts are scarce but the masonry style suggests a date of the 3rd century BC.
On the northern edge of Zone II a perimeter wall running east-west was uncovered, intersected by an north-south wall, forming a feature that may be the northeast corner of Structure H (Fig. 14). On the east side of this feature was an area in which a large concentration of iron objects and iron slag was recovered in the lower strata. Roman red-gloss was common in the diagnostic strata.