San Giovanni di Ruoti 1979
- Echos du monde classique: Classical news and views
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume XXIV, Number 1, January 1980
- pp. 28-30
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SAN GIOV,llNI\II Dl Rl,.()TI 1979 by ALASTAIR H. SMALL The plan fig. 18 shows in schematic form the results of the three seasons of excavation so far carried out by the University of Alberta at S. Giovanni di Ruoti, near Potenza in the heart of the Lucanian mountains in southern Italy. The unhatched parts of the plan belong to a Roman villa which was or iginally built in the Augustan period and abandoned c. 200 A.D. Around the middle of the 4th century part of this villa was reoccupied and some new structures were added, notably the bath house (a) and , probably , an industrial wing. In the 5th century A. D., however, the earlier structures were systematically destroyed , and in their place a new complex of buildings , shown hatched on the plan, was erected, which lasted until c . 525 . Although this development is clear in its broad outlines, the details of the phasing still require a few more months of study. 1980 will therefore be a study year in which we hope to prepare the results obtained so far for final publication. The excavation in June and July 1979 had the twofold purpose of revealing more of the plan, particularly of the latest group of buildings, and of recovering more "environmental" evidence. The 1977 and 1978 excavations had shown that by far the most substantial building on the site was the large northern range of the late complex. In 1979 we used machinery to remove the topsoil and massive rubble in-fill , and were then able to excavate practically the whole of this building. This revealed a number of interesting features. The easternmost room (b) had a floor of polychrome mosaic with geometric and floral motifs, the only instance of artistic pretension so far found on the site. The rather massive room (c) projecting to the north of this was probably a tower. The largest room (d) turns out to be apsidal; and the apse is polygonal, as was common in Italy in the 5th and 6th centuries. This room, however, lacks any proper floor. and probably served as the undercroft for the principal room on a piano nobil.e. The western range of the late complex was built rather later, though the internally round room (e) which is incorporated in it, and the room immediately to the south (f) survive, with some alterations, from the earlier building. These four rooms probably served as stalls or barns. !.hey terminate in a terrace wall, below which are two more rooms. The narrower of the two (g) has a particularly massive southern wall, and may also have served as a tower, controlling the adjacent entrance to the west. This whole complex of buildings is exceptionally interesting for the light it throws on the nature of a rural settlement (villa? castellum?) in Italy in the Gothic period. Some work was also done in the remains of the earlier Villa, especially in the area of the bath house, where the furnace room (h) was excavated, and of the industrial or agricultural processing area to the north (i) , which remains enigmatic. We are hoping that soil samples will help to determine " . > o ?UOTI its function. In the central part of the site, more of the plan of the early buildings was recovered to the south of the tank (j). Some trenches were also opened 1n outlying areas, not visible on the plan. The magnetometer survey carried out by the Fondazione Leriei 1n 1977 had shown a curving line of high magnetic readings about 25 m. to the north west of the main group of buildings. This was interpreted by Richard Lioington, the director of the Lerie! foundation, as representing the fill of a ditch, and a trench laid out here confirmed this hypothesis. Pottery from the fill allows the ditch to be dated to the Early Empire when it presumably formed the western boundary of the site. Another small group of trenches was excavated 35 m. to the east of the plan by Leonardo Lozito of the Gruppo Archaeologico Lucano so as to test the eastern limits of the site. This revealed some structures of the 2nd century A.D. Much...