AREA ARCHEOLOGICA MONTE ADRANONE

 
Area archeologica, vista dall'alto

On a hill not far from Sambuca di Sicilia, stand the imposing ruins of a town, which lived between the eighth and third centuries. B.C. on the border between the area of ​​Sican and Elymian-Punic influence. From the contact with these different cultures derives the complex physiognomy of this site, which thanks to its eminent position, also had an important strategic value, both in the most archaic phase, in relation with the path of Selinuntia odòs, the road that, connecting Selinunte with Akragas, it allowed Selinuntine penetration towards the East, both in the Hellenistic period, when it probably became the cornerstone of the stronghold system built by Carthage to defend the borders of its eparchy (area of ​​influence) in Sicily. It was proposed to identify the site with the Adranon mentioned by Diodorus in relation to the first Punic war, which the Romans tried in vain to conquer: the evidence of attendance, however, stops at the third century. B.C. The vast archaeological area extends over the terraces of the hill, starting from the southern slopes where the necropolis was, with different types of sepulchral: hypogean chamber tombs, including the so-called Tomb of the Queen, referable to the phase of the VI-V century. BC, and a case, covered with blocks of marl dating back to the 4th century. B.C. To defend the town, it was built starting from the sixth century BC. a mighty city wall, which underwent several renovations and restorations in the various phases of the history of the center: the monumental remains of the South and North Doors are in light, flanked by turrets. At the foot of the Acropolis was a sacred area with a rectangular, bipartite building: the presence of two betyls reveals belonging to the Punic religious matrix. The tripartite temple erected on the top of the Acropolis has the same connotation, with the central compartment uncovered, whose plan underwent changes during the long life of the site, also apparently in connection with the affirmation of the cult of Baal-Hammon and Tanit in the areas of Carthaginian influence. To the south, outside the urban area, around the middle of the fourth century B.C. a grandiose complex was built for laboratories, artisanal and agricultural activities. Outside the South Gate remain the structures of a small Hellenistic sanctuary dedicated to Demeter and Kore.

 

The vast archaeological area extends over the terraces of the high ground, starting from the southern slopes where the necropolis was located, with different types of tombs: hypogeic chamber tombs, including the so-called Queen's Tomb, dating from the 6th-5th centuries BC, and coffin tombs covered with marl blocks dating from the 4th century BC.

 

Starting in the 6th century B.C., a mighty wall was erected to defend the town, which underwent several reconstructions and restorations during the various phases of the centre's history: the monumental remains of the South Gate and the North Gate, flanked by turrets, are still visible. At the foot of the Acropolis was a sacred area with a rectangular, bipartite building: the presence of two betyli reveals its belonging to the Punic religious matrix. The tripartite temple on the top of the Acropolis has the same connotation, with the central room uncovered, whose plan underwent changes during the long life of the site, apparently also in relation to the establishment of the cult of Baal-Hammon e di Tanit in the areas of Carthaginian influence. To the south, outside the urban area, around the middle of the 4th century B.C., a large complex was built for workshops, handicrafts and agricultural activities. Outside the South Gate are the structures of a small Hellenistic sanctuary dedicated to Demeter and Kore.

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