AREA ARCHEOLOGICA DI MONTE SARACENO

 
Vista dalla cima del Monte Saraceno

Located along the valley of the southern Imera, today known as Salso, an important route of penetration from the southern coast to the interior of the island, the site, which develops on the summit of the mountain and along the southern slope, has had a continuity of life from prehistoric times until the 3rd century BC. C. The oldest traces of occupation were discovered on the summit, where, in addition to a few fragments of pottery from the Copper Age and Ancient Bronze Age, a fairly substantial presence of material from the Middle Bronze Age (Thapsos facies) was identified. In the same area, the remains of three circular huts belonging to an indigenous Sicilian village, which lived between the end of the 8th and the middle of the 7th century BC, have been identified.

 

Immediately afterwards, a new settlement was established on the remains of the destroyed village, with houses built on a rectilinear plan, which also extended to the so-called upper terrace. The life of the village came to an end in the second twenty-five years of the 6th century B.C., when the centre was rebuilt according to an articulated organisation of space that included the laying out of a regular urban grid, the construction of a wall, and the definition of cultural spaces and necropolises.  This new phase in the life of the settlement, which ended in the third twenty-five years of the 5th century B.C., represented the moment of maximum expansion of the centre, which extended not only on the upper terrace but also on the so-called lower terrace, and which presents many elements of Greek culture.  According to some scholars, the flourishing of the site can be related to the settled presence of a nucleus of Greeks at Monte Saraceno, while others think of 'acculturation' processes that led the indigenous populations to take on ways of life and habits typical of the Greek world. At the end of the 5th century, the site took on a military role as part of the policy of Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse; a new arrangement of the structures on the summit plateau and the lower terrace and the construction of new walls date from this period. The settlement seems to have been destroyed around the middle of the 4th century B.C. and was definitively abandoned at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C.. C.

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