This paper reports the archaeometric characterisation of a number of Phoenician-Punic amphorae from the ancient site of Entella in western Sicily. Entella lies in the Sicani Mountains, along the left bank of the Hypsas-Belice river, approximately 40km from its mouth (Fig.1a). It is considered to be one of the most important indigenous settlements of western Sicily, dominating the main terrestrial and fluvial commercial routes between the south-western and northern shores of the island (Nenci 1988/89; Vaggioli 2001; Moggi and Gulletta 2001). Ancient historians first cited Entella for the unfaithful behaviour of Campanian mercenaries. During the first Punic War, Entella was a flourishing urban town, and remained so at least until the end of the 1st century BC. In the Middle Ages, a Muslim community settled in Entella, and resisted the empire of Frederick II until 1245, when it was finally expelled (De Vido 2001). Although the settlement was acknowledged by T. Fazello in 1558, it was only recently subjected to archaeological excavations by the Laboratorio di Storia Archeologia e Topografia del Mondo Antico of the Scuola Normale Superiore (LSATMA, Pisa, Italy), and the local Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali e Ambientali. Archaeological studies of materials collected during these excavations suggest that the first human traces can be dated back to the Eneolithic period (Di Noto and Gugliemino 1994); while clear evidence was found of urbanisation and ceramic production as early as the late-archaic period, at the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th century BC. (Guglielmino 2000; Montana et al. 2011). It is likely that this urbanised area constricted between the 2nd and 1st century BC (Michelini 1999). The object of the present study was to analyse 21 representative samples of the Phoenician-Punic amphorae brought to light during archaeological stratigraphic trial excavations (SAS or Saggio Archeologico Stratigrafico) marked 1/2, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 24-Tr1, 24-Tr2, 3/30 (Fig. 1b), which were conducted in the hills of Entella from 1983 to 2003. The original amphora corpus consists of a wider group of 105 potsherd (rims, tips and handles), whose typological identification was obtained according to the classification of J. Ramón Torres. The studied amphoric samples were carefully selected during a preliminary archaeological work (Quartararo, 2005/2006), and were found to cover a wide chronological interval, ranging from the late 7th century BC to the early 2nd century BC. The final aim of the present archaeometric study is to establish the compositional and textural aspects of the selected amphorae samples, in order to recognise their provenance and, consequently, make valid inferences on the role of Entella in the general trade network system of western Sicily.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|