The site of Serra di Vaglio is positioned on a hill from which you can see the landscape of the open countryside in Basilicata. Massive walls surround it, and the House of Pithoi is a splendid example of restoration. This area was the meeting point of the indigenous italic culture, that was there since prehistory, and the Greek presence that has a strong influence. The site has interesting proves of the interaction between the two cultures.
History of Vaglio
The site is set on a strategic point, an acropolis over a hill, and it was chosen for settlement by an indigenous population in Lucania, the Peuketiantes, since VIII century B.C.
To this first phase belong some nucleus of huts and most of all the tombs that are interesting for the costume to bury the dead in a fetal position.
Then the area was interested in Greek colonization, and there have been contacts with Serra di Vaglio, that was influenced by the Greeks since the IV century so that there was a transformation in the funeral costumes, fortifications were built and the urban planning was changed.
However, these changes didn’t last long because the city was seriously damaged in a fire in III century B.C. and then it was abandoned.
The archaeological site of Serra di Vaglio
It is interesting the sequence of different types of burials that show the transformation of this town in different moments in history.
The most ancient phase, in the VIII century, is one of the burials with the dead in a fetal position, that are set near some contemporaneous hut. Then there are nine burial mounds, that belonged to people with an important social status. They were enriched by funeral accouterments with jewels, weapons, bronze vases, and pottery that testimony the influence of the Greeks, and now are preserved in the national archaeological museum of Basilicata in Potenza.
The walls are relevant remains because of their dimensions, even if there is only a part preserved. It is possible to see the technique of buildings with two layers of stones, which is typical of the Greeks, and they were built in the IV century. The fortified part of the city has some remains that can help to detect the urban planning of the city, and we know that it is divided into neighborhoods and has perpendicular streets on which the houses overlook.
A private house sticks out because of its appearance: it is a faithful reconstruction of the original structure, that was obtained thanks to exciting restoration work. It is named the House of Pithoi, because of four huge containers for food (that were called pit hoi). They are positioned along a line of stones that also works as a support for the containers.
The house has three layers, from an original hut of the VIII century, a house of the V century, and the latest of the IV century. The house was interested in an interesting project of experimental archeology, which was also one of the first ones in Italy that used modern technology. The structure was involved in a conservative restoration that permitted the recovery of some significant original elements, and then it was also made a virtual reconstruction in 3D of the ancient appearance.
The Sanctuary of goddess Mefitis in Rossano di Vaglio
Still in the territory of the municipality of Vaglio, in the locality of Rossano, it is possible to visit the remains of the extra-urban federal sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Mefitis, with a paved square and an altar. Of great importance are the numerous inscriptions found in the Oscan language, a unique testimony of the Lucanian civilization who built it in the IV century BC.
The sacred complex consists of a churchyard, a paved area with irregular flagstones with an altar in the center, and a series of rooms that open around it.
The Lucanians attributed a power linked to water to the goddess Mefite, which is why water is an essential element for this place that stood inside a dense forest near a spring. In the churchyard, the drainage channel that carried the water from the source to the sacred area is still visible.
The sanctuary was the subject of an important renovation by the Romans in the second century BC, testifying to the Romanization of these lands, and remained active until the first half of the first century AD.
Imagine Copyright: dimoracavalieri.it
You can also be interested in the other archaeological sites of Basilicata.
The site is open in summer between June and August from 9.30 am- 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm- 6.30 pm
In other times of the year, it is possible to visit the site on request, if you call 3472736594
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: VIII century BC
DECLINE: III century AD
DISCOVERY: XX century
How to get to Serra di Vaglio
By car: to get to the site by car from northern and southern cities you can take motorway A2 until exit Sicignano A./Potenza/Matera, then proceed on SS407 until exit Tricarico/Vaglio B./Tolve/Cancellara/Oppido Lucano and then go on the SS7 until Serra di vaglio