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Excavations in Paestum are ongoing and research becomes public

Although it is considered the “best preserved city of Magna Graecia”, Paestum is largely still unknown. While we have significant data on the public spaces around the Forum and the necropolises of the city – as well as on the three temples of the city – aspects such as daily life, the rural settlement, the city in late antiquity or the structure of the first colony are still waiting for an in-depth analysis. With a rich research programme, today we seek to fill these gaps in the history of the Paestum archaeological site with new stratigraphic excavations, archaeometric analyses and with the study of the archaeological materials held in the museum’s stores. In Paestum, research continues with a view to “public archaeology” thus promoting citizens’ involvement, not just by disclosing the results of these studies in a transparent and open manner, but also by trying to enthuse the public with daily visits to the sites and meetings with archaeologists.

EXCAVATIONS 2019

EXCAVATIONS 2018

  • Description: The excavation, which began in September 2018, surveys the area taken by the southern Porticus. The plan of this monumental complex has been dated back to the mid-1st century BC but the ceramic material and some applications date back to an earlier period. The research conducted in September 2018 made it possible to analyse a taberna, whose internal layout has been identified, and the southern space of the portico, the stratigraphy sequences of which had already been recognised in previous excavations. The materials of the 2018 excavation and of the previous ones are stored in the stores of the Paestum Archaeological Museum.

  • Description: The study aims at revising and systematically publishing the data concerning the Ponte di Ferro necropolis surveyed in the 1980s by G. Avagliano. The necropolis, located on a sandy dune 850 m north-west of the walls of Paestum, has relinquished one hundred and ninety one burials, often without accoutrements, which differ markedly from the funerary customs in the other Paestum necropolises between the 6th and 4th century BC. As a matter of fact, the tombs are likely to belong to members of the Poseidonia community of low or servile social standing, a circumstance that makes Ponte di Ferro one of the

  • Description: The new investigations at the monument, dating back to 510 BC, started in 2018 and concerned the exploration of a small sector located on the eastern side, next to the Roman age boundary wall that encloses the shrine. The discovery of the section of a curved canal, partly carved in the stone, made it possible to assume that this feature would pertain to the mound that is believed to have originally covered the small building. Other investigations have been scheduled, to be performed starting in June 2019, to complete the exploration of the eastern side and start studying certain architectural

  • Description: The corpus of the Paestum architectural terracottas is only partly known. A wider repertoire kept in the stores should be added to what has been published and systematised so far. The work, which began as a workshop of the Sister Orsola-Vanvitelli Postgraduate School of Archaeology, continued by filing the materials and defining decorative systems or, when possible, specific roofs. The group is currently busy with the publication of the outcome.

  • Description: In May 2018, investigations resumed in block 4-6 of the archaeological site of Paestum. Under a cooperation agreement between the Paestum Archaeological Park, the Naples University “L’Orientale” and the Interdepartmental Centre for Archaeology Services (CISA), the analyses focused on the area of the private dwellings and of the bath complex that make up the block, located in the south-western part of the site. The captures by RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) with RGB, thermal and multi-spectrum sensors were supplemented with terrestrial photogrammetric surveys. The digital products and three-dimensional models processed were the starting point for the production of a detailed plan

  • Description: starting from March, geophysical surveys have been initiated in the area of the southern sanctuary of Paestum, to the east of the Basilica and of the Temple of Neptune. The first results of the geo-radar and geo-electrical surveys show the presence of various underground rooms and tunnels, partly linked to the circulation and preservation of water, partly to do with ritual activities. The analyses will extend to the coming months and will make it possible to plan specific activities of exploration and excavation, in addition to mapping out the underground of this portion of the city of Paestum.

  • Description: Since March 2019, multi-spectrum analyses have been carried out on the most ancient metopes of the Heraion on the mouth of the Sele displayed at the Museum. This is a non-destructive method of analysis that is carried out via a scientific camera that takes shots of the metopes at various frequencies. In this way it is possible to isolate any elements on the metopes, such as different materials, treatments, restorations or tampering at various levels, no longer visible residues of paint. In order to shoot, the room must be completely darkened; hence a sort of mobile camera obscura had to

  • Description: This is a large rectangular structure that occupies an area of almost 400 m2, built in stone blocks. The building consists of seven quadrangular rooms, with the main opening towards the temple of Neptune. The internal rooms, some of which are paved with large travertine slabs or decorated with geometric patterns, overlook a single internal open space.