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Archeological park of Egnazia

/Archeological park of Egnazia
Archeological park of Egnazia2018-07-10T11:43:17+00:00

The archaeological park is located 1km far from Savelletri, on the provincial road that connects Torre Canne and  Monopoli. It is sixteen hectares large , but at present only ten hectares are accessible. It is divided into three macro areas: the western necropolis, the Roman city and the acropolis.

As regards the wall, only one section is preserved , it is called Messapian muraglione . It is a strong block, perfectly squared with a double curtain and internal embankment, built around the 4th century BC and restored in the 3rd century .

The western necropolis is located behind the national museum, here  it is possible to distinguish tombs according to typology and age. The first phase of occupation, at the end of  4th century BC, is characterized by pit tombs. Often they were included in a bigger grave that hosted many tombs. A street separated pit tombs from the monumental semi-chamber tombs that were usually painted and closed by stone slabs. This type of tomb has been used for multiple burials until the 2nd  century BC. There are also painted chamber tombs, namely hypogea built in white calcareous stone destined to the high social class members. These tombs were characterized by the dromos (access corridor) , the vestibule and the burial chamber. During the Middle Ages two of them had been used as dwelling.

The Roman City is composed of:

  • Cryptoportico : at present it looks as an underground corridor with four arms with a trapezoidal plan and barrel vaulted. Probably it was part of a sacred historical complex, similar to the buildings you find in the central and northern Italy. After the agrarian refoundation wanted by Vespasian in the 1st century AD , the cryptoportico was used to collect and canalize water and to store wheat and other foods. From 2nd century AD it was used as dump;
  • Via Traiana: it was the former via Minucia, a road that starts from Brindisi, passes through Benevento and reaches Rome. Between 109 and 114 AD Trajan promoted its rearrangement in order to make the connection  faster, then it was named  via Traiana in honour of the king. It is paved with limestone basoli (large flagstones) and is equipped with curbstones;
  • Thermal Baths: they were one of the most attended places in the city. From the Via Traiana it was possible to reach the changing room equipped with a bench. The structure had also a vestibule where people paid the entrance. The course started from the caldarium or laconicum and continued toward the tiepidarum and frigidarium. The  praefurnium provided hot air. Men and women had different schedules, indeed the morning was reserved to women. In the first half of the 5th century AD  the structure was transformed in a place for the production of  lime and  bricks;
  • Civil Basilica: it was used to administer the justice and carry out business. The building had a rectangular plan and was supported by a Ionic colonnade, paved with inlaid marble, its walls were frescoed with red plaster. In the 4th century AD the floor was substituted with a mosaic representing the three Graces, goddesses of harmony and beauty. Between the 3rd and 4thcentury the basilica began a Christian church;
  • Sacred Area: it was a large space devoted to the pagan gods that housed a little temple dedicated to the Magna Mater, the goddess Cybele; a room with a pool used for the rite of the lavatio destined to the goddess Syria and the sacellum of the god Attis. Trough this space it is possible to reach the wrongly defined amphitheatre, in fact it was a sacred theatre used for performances and spring games. When the Christianity  came to Egnazia the theatre was used as Forum Boarium and enclosure for animals ;
  • Porticoed square : it was build between the end of 4th and 3rd century BC. It is the most ancient urban public area. During the imperial age it was used as market with merchandise storage and A portico in Doric order was built in order to shield the sellers’ merchandise. After the restoration of the via Traiana every side of the square was equipped with Doric porticoes. In the last years of the 4th century AD some warehouses were built under the porticoes.
  • Residential and productive area: it was composed of many dwellings and workshops that provided for the necessities of the inhabitants. The dyer’s area was one of the most important, later it was occupied by the Episcopal basilica;
  • Southern basilica: it is called also Basilica Quagliati and was built between the 5th and 4th century BC. Inside there were three aisles divided by two lines made up by seven columns and one apsis. On the left side there was the baptistery with quadrangular plan divided into three zones.
  • Episcopal basilica: it was built in the central area of the city at the end of the 4th century AD. The plan has three aisles divided by two lines made up by eleven columns and a semicircular apse. It had three entries covered by the nartex trough which was possible to reach three rooms: the catechumen (used to teach the doctrine), the baptistery ( with the pool for baptisms) and the consignatorium (used for the confirmation)

The last macro area of the park is the acropolis. It is an artificial hill that has been formed  after the superimposition of several layers of buildings over the ages that characterized the history of the city. In the middle of it there is the most ancient sacred area where became stratified three worship buildings over the centuries. The castrum was built under the king Justinian. It was a quadrangular enclosure with towers at the corners and entry toward  the sea side.