‘Pyxis’ by the artist Del Geist, Grizedale Forest, Lake District.
This season’s excavations on the acropolis of Cumae (Greek Kumē) has been completed. The team of students from the Department of Letters and Cultural Heritage (Dilbec) of the Luigi Vanvitelli University, coordinated by Prof. Carlo Rescigno, brought to light the foundations of the ancient temple dating back to the 8th century BC.
«From the excavations carried out on the southern side of the temple, we were able to understand and separate the oldest building from subsequent rebuilding,» says archaeologist Carlo Rescigno, who has been investigating the historical phases of the sacred building on the acropolis for years.
«A series of technical observations have allowed us to identify the various building stages of the largest temple site located on the acropolis. From the removed layers we have found a series of materials that date back to the late Geometric period, that is to the second half of the eighth century BC and which indicate that already at this time the top of the acropolis of Cumae was frequented.»
«Unfortunately there is no further information about the first Archaic building, which was probably little more than a sacred hut located in the centre of the hill, because everything was then destroyed by subsequent monuments.»
«Around 630 — 620 BC the terrace was created, which today is visible from a wall that has disappeared with the subsequent rebuilding, and immediately afterwards, around 580 BC, a large rectangular building was built, which we have found in the excavation on the southern side of the acropolis, built by reclaiming some blocks of the previous building.»
«In another excavation, conducted on the northern side of the main temple,» continues Rescigno, «a mass grave with numerous skeletons dating back to the Middle Ages was found; also here, once the bones had been removed, we found foundation elements dating back to the first settlement.»
«From the excavations carried out on the western side of the temple, we found an interesting stratigraphy of the different floors that over the centuries have overlapped: from the Roman one to the floors of the fifth and sixth centuries AD, one on top of the other, then the foundation trenches for the construction of a building of the fourth century and those for the construction of a building of the sixth or seventh century; in just under eighty centimetres we have seen the entire history of the temple-sanctuary complex built on the acropolis. From this excavation campaign, we have had incredible results for the historical research of Cumae», concludes Rescigno.
Cumae was the first ancient Greek colony on the mainland of Italy, founded by settlers from Euboea in the 8th century BC and soon becoming one of the strongest colonies in Magna Graecia.