AREA ARCHEOLOGICA DI MONTE MARANFUSA

 
I resti del villaggio

Monte Maranfusa rises along the course of the Belice Destro, less than a kilometer north-west of Roccamena. It is a limestone massif with precipitous walls on the southern and western sides, while less steep slopes characterize the northern and eastern parts, where the main access to the city opens up between two rocky ridges.
Archaeological research has shown a phase of occupation of the site starting at least from the IX-VIII century BC, although the period of maximum expansion dates back to the Archaic period (7th-6th century BC), when relations with the colonial cities of the coast began. In the stretch of inhabited area investigated, we can recognize various life phases between the end of the 7th century and 480 BC around, period in which the area was suddenly abandoned, probably due to natural disasters.

 

The largest sector of the archaic and late-archaic indigenous settlement was brought to light in one of the highest and most protected areas of the relief, at the base of a large plateau that branches off from the south-western peak of the mountain.
Numerous archeological finds, partly exhibited in the Civic Museum of Roccamena, offer precious elements for the reconstruction of daily life and of the productive activities indispensable for the subsistence of the indigenous community that settled on Monte Maranfusa, strongly linked to the ancient local traditions, even if open to new cultural influences from the Greek colonial world.
After the definitive abandonment of the ancient center, the site was reoccupied in the Arab Age and, intensively, in the Norman Age, when the territory of Calatrasi, name with which the district and the castle are known in the sources and in the medieval documents, entered to be part, by donation of William II, S. Maria Nuova territories of the Monreale Diocese.
The Rocca di Calatrasi, with its Castle and the surrounding lands, is known through medieval sources and documents: the traveler Idrisi, for example, around 1150, at the time of Roger II, describes the castle as "flashy and fortress primitive and valid to be relied on ... has land to sow...".

 

The stronghold was involved in the bloody revolts of the Muslims against Frederick II who bloodied western Sicily in the first half of the thirteenth century causing the end of the valley settlements. Calatrasi also remained almost uninhabited.
Archaeological research has concerned the area of the castle and the village below; moreover, superimposed on the indigenous settlement, a necropolis of Muslim rite was reported in at least two points of the mountain.
Less than a kilometer south-west of the mountain stands the Calatrasi Bridge, straddles the right arm of the Belice river, a donkey-back norman structure with an ogival arch.

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