Archaeological sites METAPONTO (Town) ITALY - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Listed 8 sub titles with search on: Archaeological sites for destination: "METAPONTO Town ITALY".


Archaeological sites (8)

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Metaponto Project

The project is under the auspices of the Magna Graecia Department of the Rome Section, Deutsches Archaologisches Institut.

Perseus Building Catalog

Metapontum, Ekklesiasterion/Theater

Site: Metapontum
Type: Ekklesiasterion and theater
Summary: A monumental building complex located in the north-east of the agora, originally circular in groundplan and probably an important public meeting place; later, the plan was transformed into a theater.
Date: ca. 625 B.C. - 300 B.C.
Period: Archaic - Hellenistic

Plan:
Before the construction of the ekklesiasterion, a wooden tribunal, oriented to the west and of uncertain plan, existed on the site. In the first phase of the ekklesiasterion (termed "Phase Ia by the excavators), the ground was banked up to create sloping seats, although the overall groundplan remains unclear. In its second phase (Phase II), a central rectangular area was marked out, approached on its short sides by two symmetrically-disposed entrances or dromoi. On either side of the rectangular area, the banked-up earth probably supported wooden seats. The entire structure was surrounded by a retaining wall, creating a structure circular in groundplan. In its third phase (Phase III), the ekklesiasterion was given simple rows of stone seats on either side of the central rectangular area. The rows of seats were divided into segments by six flights of steps, radiating out from the central area. Interestingly, the segments of seats form an ellipse (as the central area is rectangular, not square), yet the exterior retaining wall was circular in plan. After the building had been abandoned for some time, a theater was built on the same location (Phase IV); the theater had a small semi-circular orchestra, six wedges or cunei of seats in the lower level, and five in the upper. The wedges of seats were neither equal in size, nor symmetrically disposed around an imaginary center line. In front of the orchestra was a rectangular stage building. The exterior wall of the cavea was not semi-circular in plan, but formed a series of linear segments which were articulated with engaged Doric pilasters in the upper level.

History:
A layer of burnt wood dating to the seventh century B.C. indicates that a structure of some pretensions stood here at that time; perhaps a tribunal or "ikria." In the first half of the sixth century B.C., the ground level at the site was banked up to support seating. Large river boulders are also preserved from this building phase, which is termed Phase Ia by the excavators. In the mid-sixth century B.C., the building first assumed monumental architectonic form. A rectangular central area was laid out, surrounded by artificially banked up earth to support rows of seating. The entire structure was enclosed by a ca. 2 m. tall retaining wall. Two entrances or passageways led in to the central rectangular area. Between ca. 500-475 B.C., the ekklesiasterion underwent restorations and alterations (Phase III): the retaining wall was heightened by approximately 3 m., and the entrance passages were widened. The angle of the banked-up rows of seats was raised, and the central rectangular space was given a border of two stone steps. By the beginning of the fourth century B.C., the building appears to have fallen into disuse, and the stone seats were removed. In ca. 325-300 B.C., the structure was completely transformed into a theater. The technique of banking up the seats over a fill of earth, supported by an exterior retaining wall, was maintained, but the circular plan and rectangular central space of the ekklesiasterion was rejected in favor of a theater building. The theater building itself does not appear ever to have been completed. By the first quarter of the third century B.C., the exterior wall had collapsed towards the middle; the structure was repaired in makeshift fashion, with the reuse of many building blocks. Finally, the theater was transformed into a fortress, with all of its entrances closed off.

Other Notes:
The ekklesiasterion at Metapontum is a monument unparalleled in the Greek world at the time of its construction. The free-standing circular structure which dominated the agora had an estimated seating capacity of ca. 7500-8000 people; this number is inconsistent with the number of citizens of Metapontum and the surrounding chora in the sixth century B.C., and raises the question of whether it actually was an ekklesiasterion, or whether it fulfilled other functions. The excavators suggest that perhaps it was also the location of gymnastic, agonistic, or musical events. The fact that the theater was built on exactly the same site in the fourth century B.C. suggests that the earlier structure may also have been used for entertainment. Furthermore, the discovery of a stele, carved with the archaic inscription DIOSAGORA and located in a small temenos near the ekklesiasterion perhaps indicates some cultic associations with the building. The form of the theater, with cavea, semi-circular orchestra, and free-standing stage building appears at Metapontum at a surprisingly early date. The addition of exterior architectural features such as the Doric pilasters hint at the interior changes in level in a manner not to be seen until such Hellenistic structures as the Bouleuterion at Miletus and the Bouleuterion at Priene .

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 6 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Metapontum, Tavole Palatine

Site: Metapontum
Type: Temple
Summary: Extramural sanctuary, located ca. 3 km. outside the site, on the right bank of the Bradano River.
Date: ca. 520 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Plan:
In plan, the temple is peripteral with 6 x 12 columns surrounding a cella building containing pronaos, naos and adyton, with no propteron. The plan is viewed as representing a reaction against the overly long proportions of the Temple of Apollo at Metapontum . A notable feature of the plan is the extremely wide intercolumniation, which is nearly equal at flanks and sides.

History:
The temple was built in one major building phase, in ca. 520-510 B.C. As is the case with other temples at the site, the roof of the temple was restored at a later date; terracotta architectural fragments dating to the mid-fifth century B.C. were found.

Other Notes:
The temple was dedicated to Hera, as indicated by the votive deposits, but has long been referred to in the scholarship as Tavole Palatine, or Knights' Tables. That the area was a religious sanctuary before the construction of the temple itself in the late sixth century B.C. is suggested by the discovery of a quantity of ceramics and votive objects dating to the mid-seventh century B.C. The altar, located ca. 25 m. east of the temple and measuring ca. 4.00 m. x 3.00 m. is viewed by some as earlier than the temple itself, due to its modest scale and relative distance from the temple. If, in fact, the altar predates the temple, this may suggest that an older temple than the one preserved once stood on the site. Furthermore, the temple was probably surrounded by a number of smaller religious structures, or oikoi; a number of terracotta antefixes decorated with Gorgoneia were discovered; their scale is too small to belong to the temple itself.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 11 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Metapontum, Temple B

Site: Metapontum
Type: Temple
Summary: Temple, probably dedicated to Hera, in the main religious sanctuary of the city; adjacent to the Temple of Apollo.
Date: ca. 570 B.C. - 530 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Plan:
Two phases of Temple B have been identified. In the first phase (Temple BI), the temple was designed to be peristyle, with a groundplan of 9 x 17 columns, a central colonnade with an uncertain number of columns in the cella, and a pronaos. An additional row of foundations between the east facade and the pronaos suggests that another row of columns, perhaps five, was originally planned here. In this early phase the temple appears to have had an adyton. In the second construction phase of the temple (Temple BII), the temple maintained its orientation and overall structure, but was extended by 3.30 m. towards the east, resulting in a wide east pteron. The number of columns was altered (to 7 x 15?), and, significantly, the peristyle was closed in through the erection of a wall which was articulated with half-columns. This half-columnar wall extended to the east to align with the front of the pronaos. The pronaos was deepened with the addition of an extra column on the flanks, for a total of five at the facade and two at the flanks. The pronaos was also tristyle in antis. Inside the cella, behind a row of four columns, was an adyton.

History:
Ceramic evidence from the lowest foundation levels suggests that the earlier temple was begun sometime in the first half of the sixth century B.C. This temple was never completed. In ca. 530 B.C., work on the temple was renewed, and elements which had belonged to or were intended for the first temple were reused in the second temple (for example, monolithic columns which were used in the foundations of the second temple at the south, north and west). The excavators propose that construction of Temple BII was completed shortly after 530 B.C. Hundreds of fragments of architectural terracottas datable to the fifth century B.C. indicate that repairs to the roof were carried out at that time. The temple was destroyed in the late fourth century B.C.

Other Notes:
The orientation of both phases of Temple B is the same as that of the second phase of the neighboring Temple of Apollo , and the facades of both temples are aligned, an important indication of the new planning imposed on the sanctuary in the mid-sixth century B.C. Temple B thus conforms to the orientation of the city plan. Also significant is the incorporation of half-columns in the peristyle of Temple B, their first appearance in Greek architecture. The similarity between the first phase of Temple B and the Basilica at Paestum should be underscored: both temples had an uneven number of columns (9) at the facade, and an internal colonnade in the cella. The fact that Temple B was dedicated to Hera is known from an inscribed architectural terracotta of the fourth century B.C., although argoi lithoi, or votive stones, with dedications to Apollo were also found in the votive deposits of the temple.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 6 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Metapontum, Temple C

Site: Metapontum
Type: Temple
Summary: Oldest temple in the Metapontum sanctuary, preserved only in its foundations.
Date: ca. 600 B.C. - 475 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Plan:
The final groundplan of the temple is unclear; a rectangular structure, at least 9.30 m. in length, is preserved. In its second construction phase, the temple was rebuilt and enlarged, and although little remains of the superstructure of this temple also, it is reconstructed as distyle in antis, without a peristyle. Mertens 1985, fig. 2. The temple in both of its phases deviates in orientation from the overall city plan and from the other major temples in the sanctuary, Temple A and Temple B.

History:
The earliest structure was presumably a small oikos, known as CI, dating to ca. 600 B.C. To this structure belongs the fragmentary terracotta frieze. In the late sixth century or early fifth century B.C., this modest building was incorporated into a larger temple, Temple CII. Architectural fragments from the roof indicate a restoration in the early fourth century B.C.

Other Notes:
Fragments of a terracotta frieze deriving from the superstructure of Temple CI provide important art historical information on the nature of archaic art in the sanctuaries of Southern Italy. The frieze is decorated in low relief with a processional scene, including veiled females in carriages drawn by donkeys (?) and led by a youth, and walking veiled females who appear to bear gifts. The name of the divinity to whom the Temple was dedicated is uncertain, although Adamesteanu proposed that it may have been dedicated to Athena, on the basis of an archaic inscription referring to Athena found at the south side of the temple Adamesteanu 1974, 34.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 3 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Metapontum, Temple D

Site: Metapontum
Type: Temple
Summary: Ionic temple situated at the north-east border of the religious sanctuary of the city.
Date: ca. 475 B.C.
Period: Early Classical

Plan:
Very little is preserved of the temple in situ: the SW corner and parts of the southern and western foundations of the cella, and the lowest foundation block of the NW corner. However, the excavators suggest the following plan on the basis of a reconstruction of the dimensions of the foundations: the temple was peripteral, and was extremely long and narrow with the unusual number of 8 x 20 columns. The temple was pseudodipteral, with wide ptera. The cella building was very simple, consisting of a naos and elongated pronaos, with no columns in the pronaos, no antae, and neither opisthodomos nor adyton. The pronaos was not open for its entire width, but was apparently entered through a door, lending a megaron-like aspect to the cella building. There were no columns inside the cella. The cella building was aligned with the third column along the flanks of the peristasis.

History:
Unlike the other major temples in the sanctuary at Metapontum, the Ionic temple had only one building phase, with the foundations, peristyle and cella built in smooth succession. The building was constructed towards the end of the first quarter of the fifth century B.C. Fragments of terracotta acroteria appear later in date, and indicate that restorations were carried out. Ceramic evidence indicates that the temple was destroyed in the third century B.C.; shortly thereafter, most of the stones were removed for reuse elsewhere, and the foundations were filled in with debris, including some of the architectural elements of the superstructure.

Other Notes:
The temple presents a number of unusual features. The combination of an architrave, molded frieze, dentils, geison and sima does not conform to the canonical Ionic system of epistyle, dentils, geison and sima prevalent at this time in Asia Minor. The elongation of the plan, and the pseudodipteral effect created by the narrow cella, at first appear to presage developments in Ionic temple architecture of the Hellenistic period, for example at the Temple of Apollo at Didyma . Features such as wide ptera and unusual groundplans containing large numbers of columns, however, are already familiar in archaic Doric temple architecture in South Italy and Sicily, for example at the Basilica at Paestum . With respect to its groundplan, the Ionic temple at Metapontum can be viewed as standing at the end of archaic temple development in South Italy, especially through the inclusion of the long, narrow cella. The appearance of the Ionic order, however, is striking and attests to the native architect's desire for architectural experimentation, combined with the love of vivid ornament characteristic of South Italian temple architecture.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 9 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Metapontum, Temple of Apollo

Site: Metapontum
Type: Temple
Summary: Temple dedicated to Apollo, with two distinct building phases recognized; located in the main intramural sanctuary of the city, west of the agora.
Date: ca. 570 B.C. - 540 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Plan:
Two phases of the temple have been identified. The plan of the first, temple AI, is unclear, as it is preserved only in places in the foundations, which were dismantled and reused for the second temple on the same site. Temple AI did not conform to the orthogonal street plan of the city, whereas Temple AII, its immediate successor, altered its orientation slightly to conform to the city plan. Temple AII was a large peripteral temple of unusual plan: it had a propteron or double row of columns at its east facade, the second row of columns aligned with the third column along the flanks. There was a pronaos, with antae but no columns in antis; there was neither adyton nor opisthodomos. The cella was long and narrow, and the width of the cella foundations suggests that there was an interior colonnade of seven columns along each side of the cella, close to the cella wall. A recent reconstruction of the groundplan of Temple AII proposes 8x17 columns for the exterior colonnade.

History:
The first temple, Temple AI, was begun in ca. 570-560 B.C. and probably dedicated to Apollo. This temple was never completed; shortly after its inception it was abandoned, and its foundations were reused for the second temple, whose construction was begun around the middle of the fifth century B.C. The temple was destroyed in the last quarter of the fourth century B.C., with the arrival of the Lucanians into Magna Graecia.

Other Notes:
The presence of a propteron, and the long narrow cella, are reminiscent of archaic Sicilian temple architecture, for example Temple C at Selinus and theTemple of Apollo at Syracuse . The extremely wide intercolumniation of the facades, estimated at ca. 2.62 m., makes a normal entablature (with a triglyph over each column and intercolumniation) unlikely. Recent studies instead suggest that the temple had 14 triglyphs and 13 metopes at the facade, instead of 15 and 14. It is probable that the triglyphs and metopes had the same dimensions at the flanks and facades, resulting in a frieze which was relatively independent of the column placement. According to the excavators, the columns probably had entasis; the capitals were low and spreading in profile, with two necking rings. The dedication of the temple to Apollo is suggested by the presence of inscribed blocks or "argoi lithoi," dedicated to Apollo Lykeios Nikaios; architectural terracottas also preserve the name of the divinity in abbreviated form. It is likely that the earlier temple on the site, Temple AI, was also dedicated to the same god. In front of the temple at the east, but aligned with the earlier Temple AI, was the massive altar, which may date to a few years earlier than Temple AII. It was crowned with a Doric entablature.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 7 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Perseus Site Catalog

Metapontum

Region: Lucania
Periods: Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic
Type: Fortified city
Summary: A prosperous Greek colony.

Physical Description:
    Located on the gulf of Taranto between the rivers Bradaneus and Casuentus, the site was well-chosen for trade and agricultural potenital. The city was built at the site of an existing local settlement and was laid out on a rectangular grid system enclosed by a fortification wall of ca. 6 km in length. Metapontum had a small artificial harbor linked to the city by a canal. Within the city were an agora, theater, temples and a sanctuary of Apollo Lykeios. The sanctuary of Hera was located outside the city walls, ca. 3 km to the NE. The temple of Hera at the sanctuary, the so-called Tavole Palatine, is one of the best preserved monuments of Magna Graecia. North of Metapontum the agricultural land of the Greek inhabitants was divided by a rectangular grid system into a complex of individual farmsteads.
Description:
   
Greek colonists, possibly from Pylos, founded the city, originally called Metabum, in the 7th century B.C. Shortly thereafter the settlement was destroyed by the Samnites and then reestablished by Greek colonists from Achaea. Because of its good location for trade and the rich fertility of the surrounding territory the city grew in prosperity. Metapontum came under Roman control during the Pyrrhic War. In the 2nd Punic War the city allied itself with the Carthaginians and soon afterwards appears to have been abandoned. The most famous citizen of Metapontum was Pythagoras who came to teach here after being expelled from the city of Croton, and remained until his death.

Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 29 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


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