Rocca Entella

The Rocca d’Entella rises isolated in the domain of the territory, reaching an altitude of 545 m s.l.m. on the southern slope, while the northern slope is sloping down with more or less steep and steep slopes towards the Belice river, today blocked by a dam, the so-ctod Garcia Dam.
The territory appears populated, even if with modest attestations, since the Neolithic Age and, uninterruptedly, until the Late Bronze Age. The period of greatest concentration of people is at the turn of the Late Eneolithic and the Ancient Bronze Age: this phase was also recognized on the Rocca di Entella and it can also be ascribed to the appearance of a peculiar cultural facies, namely that of Campaniform glass that, born in the Iberian peninsula, from there spread in many areas of Europe giving life to a phenomenon whose historical-cultural significance is still legible only in a highly problematic key.


Starting from the Iron Age, but above all due to the archaic age, the history of the area was strongly influenced by the famous pass of Tucidide (Tuc.VI, 2) which reconstructs the complex ethnic composition of the populations permanently settled in historical age in the western part of the island: next to the Phoenicians, Sicans and Greeks the Athenian historian places the Elimis, Trojans escaped from the Achaeans and landed in Sicily, where they settled at the borders of the Sicans and joined them, founding Erice and Segesta.
However, the literary and historical evidence is not fully supported by the results 9 of archaeological research: the aspects of material culture that characterize the settlements of the area considered \"elima\", that is to the west of the Belice River, including the Entella elima, not in fact they divergand from the contemporary productions of other parts of the island nor do they stand out for their evident peculiarities, even if the theme of the language remains to be deepened, mainly attested to Segesta, an annellenic language written in Greek characters.


Compared to the organization of the territory in the Archaic and Classical ages (VII-V century BC), which sees the emergence of large urban agglomerations, between the IV and III century B.C. there is an explosion of the population with a dense network of sites, even small ones, scattered in the territory and somehow connected to Entella, articulated along main roads.
After a period of crisis, coinciding with the events of the first Punic war, a resumption of the population occurs during the second century BC, coinciding with the Romanization of the territory.
Between the first and middle imperial ages (I a. C.-III AD) the settlements, always numerous, are distributed mainly along the river valleys, both in the valley floor position and along the slopes that delimit them. Concomitantly with the decline of the city on the Rocca d''Entella we therefore witness a development of the rural population even if some of the settlements are exhausted during the II century A.D.


In the late ancient age (4th-7th century AD) the entire territory around Entella still appears densely inhabited: for some sites there is continuity of life with the previous periods, other settlements are instead founded ex novo favoring areas close to courses of water or springs. Many of these settlements, however, end their life during the fifth century A.D.
The reading of the settlement of the territory in the Byzantine age is very complex and it is even more complicated to understand the changes following the Muslim conquest in the mid-9th century.
For over a century, in fact, a crucial period that coincides with the affirmation of the Islamic presence opens up for the whole island. The settlements in the territory of Entella are distributed evenly and all seem to depend, in some way, on the resurrected city on the Rocca.


The end of the X and the beginning of the XI century coincide with a decided repopulation of the territory, while a slight contraction is felt in the 12th century. The Entella crisis and the entire territory, however, will become irreversible in the thirteenth century when the strongholds of the valle del Belice will turn into reduced Muslim resistance: a period that will end with the definitive destruction of Entella and the abandonment of the territory.

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