AREA ARCHEOLOGICA DI MORGANTINA

 
L'area archeologica

The city of Morgantina represents a case, quite rare in Sicily, of an abandoned city; the history of the city ends in the first century and therefore subsequently underwent no changes due to the normal continuity of life. Between 1953 and 1955 the work of the American Archaeological Mission at Serra Orlando, which would soon be identified with Morgantina, began: in those years the Superintendency of Eastern Sicily secured the participation of several Italian and foreign university institutes. The oldest settlement in the Morgantina area dates back to the Early Bronze Age, Castelluccio facies (2200-1600 BC).

 

Better known is the Early Iron Age settlement in the Cittadella area, with large elongated rectangular huts surrounded by empty spaces. The type of hut and the materials can be compared with the Ausonio on Lipari and the huts of Meta Piccola in Lentini. It is possible to find correspondence in the sources' reports on the foundation of Morgantina by the Morgeti, a people who came from the Italic peninsula together with the Siculi. In the 6th century, the large Iron Age hut at Cittadella was replaced by a Greek-type temple: about thirty-three metres long, one hundred feet, an hekatompedon without peristasis with architectural terracottas of Ionic type. Another important place of worship is at San Francesco Bisconti, at least from the end of the 6th century BC: the acroliths, Demeter and Kore, now in the Museum of Aidone, were the cult statues of the archaic phase. The excavation of the necropolis, with its rituals and grave goods, shows the evolution of society under the influence of the Greeks.

 

Towards the middle of the 5th century BC the town of Cittadella was at least partly destroyed and abandoned. The destruction has been linked with the capture of Morgantina by Ducezio in 459 BC. Almost all the buildings around theagorà belong to the early Hellenistic period. Before the middle of the 3rd century B.C., an ambitious urban planning project was adopted for the area around the agora, perhaps attributable to a decision by Hieron II of Syracuse himself to make Morgantina a strong point towards the area now under Roman control. The central element of the project is theekklesiasterion, the monumental staircase, which serves as a meeting place for the assembly of citizens, also connects the two levels of the agora. Also from the Morgantina of Hieron II are two bath complexes, at an easily accessible point between the western gate and the agora, among the oldest and best preserved of western Greek civilisation: they find their model in Syracuse and were named after Archimedes for the structure of the dome. Rich houses from the 3rd century B.C. give a picture of the city's elite. For example in the House of Ganymede, on the slope above the public area, is one of the oldest figured mosaics in Sicily.

 

In 211 BC, with the Punic Wars, the city was awarded to a community of former mercenaries. Morgantina did not survive the reorganization of Sicily by Augustus after 36 BC. The visit routes, indicated on site, allow you to adapt the visit to your needs, choosing between monuments that are all important but with different route difficulties.

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