A research project was launched by the Queen’s University in the central area of the plateau of Caere where the ‘hypogeum of Clepsina’ is located. Its first stage consisted of a campaign of geophysical survey over a large area between the Via delle Vigne and the Manganello sanctuary, where linear anomalies at a regular distance and parallel or orthogonal to each other were detected. Two systems are visible: one is found only in a small area near the slope of the plateau; the other extends over all of the surveyed area, overlapping the smaller one that must belong to a different phase. The orientation of the larger system is the same as the hypogeum and the other buildings excavated in the area.
The first excavation campaign took place in June 2012 in the area of the hypogeum (trench I) and in correspondence with the longer linear anomaly (trench II).
In trench I was uncovered a small semi-subterranean structure, partly cut in the bedrock and part built in square blocks, featuring three niches, one of which contains a small bench, probably a base or altar. The building is surrounded by three wells. The shaft of one of the wells partially breaks through a niche, which as a result had to be closed and filled of blocks of tufa. The most recent finds from the fill of the building date to the Late Republican period. In the same trench was also uncovered a layer with numerous trenches and post-holes, already identified in 2003 but not yet investigated. Its excavation has confirmed that it dates to the end of the 8th-early 7th c. BCE, the earliest occupation phase recognized in the excavations of the University of Perugia.
The underground chamber of the hypogeum was cleared of modern debris and its surfaces were fully documented using ultra-high definition photography along with advanced imaging techniques. A general survey of the environmental conditions and the state of conservation of the monument and its paintings and inscriptions were also completed.
The excavation of trench II has shown that the linear anomaly was produced by a long wall of tufa block, along which a sequence of superimposed street pavements of beaten ground was uncovered. NE of the wall is visible part of a building with beaten ground floors, while on the other side are the remains of several structures of blocks of tufa, one of which is a rectangular sunken room with long stairway. The gabled roof made of large stone blocks was severely damaged by modern trenches for vines. Marks on the plastered walls show that it replaced an earlier roof. A marked shift in the usage of the urban space is represented by deep layers of debris with numerous finds dating to the end of the 1st and first half of the 2nd c. AD which are found on the street pavement and inside the sunken room.
Traces of later occupation are minimal, even though the inscriptions in the hypogeum attests that at least that particular building was still in use in the Severan period.
Fabio Colivicchi - Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Director:Fabio Colivicchi - Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Architect:Laura Antico - Duoarchitects Studio Associato
Architect:Luca Tarantini - Duoarchitects Studio Associato
Conservator:Alexander Gabov - Conservation of Sculptures, Monuments and Objects, Kingston
Conservator:Barbara Klempan - Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Conservator:Krysia Spirydowicz - Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Field director:Fabio Colivicchi - Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Finds specialist:M. Scalici - .
Supervisor:Antonella Lepone - Sapienza, Università di Roma
Surveyor and draftsman:Marco Di Lieto - Di Lieto & C s.r.l.
Funding Body:Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada - Senate Advisory Research Committee, Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Funding Body:Social Sciences and Humanities Reseach Council Canada
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