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2013 Excavations

The second season of excavations at Segni took place between the 22nd July and the 17th August 2013.

The work focused on two of the sites where preliminary excavations began in 2012, at Prato Felici on the acropolis and in Piazza Santa Maria.

Prato Felici

The aim of the 2013 excavations was to identify the full internal extent of the structure and externally to establish its construction technique and chronology.

The excavation at Prato Felici continued the investigations begun in 2012 of a large structure identified above Porta Foca on the south eastern side of the acropolis at Segni. The previous year’s clearance work revealed a structure, measuring 12.62m in width, built in opus signimum with a thick cement floor (c.0.40m) with a fabric of medium to small sized fragments of limestone and sporadic fragments of tile and pottery.

A trench was excavated immediately to the south of the building where the previous year’s investigations had revealed a stratigraphy dating back to the late Bronze Age. The trench was further extended to understand the immediate wider context, which revealed that the material was washed down the steep slope, and lay immediately upon the limestone bedrock upon which the structure was built. The trench confirmed the construction date of the building in the second half of the 2nd century BC with material also illustrating frequentation of the area in the 4th century BC, possibly associated to structures found immediately to the north of the building by an earlier rescue excavation by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Lazio.

Within the structure a 3m wide trench was excavated the full length of the eastern wall with the aim of clarifying the buildings function and length. The internal floor revealed an uninterrupted length of 36.7m which had a raised boarder against the walls. The 2012 excavation led to the hypothesis of the use of the structure as a cistern, supported by the thickness of the southern and western walls (0.70 m) and a depth of 2.5m. The absence of supporting lateral pillars around the structure, as well as internal dividing east-west walls suggests that the structure was an open cistern or pool, rather than covered.

The final area investigated in 2013 focused upon a dividing north-south wall, built with no bonding material, discovered within the structure in 2012. The excavation revealed that, in its western half, the structure was deliberately refilled in the 2nd century AD. To the east of the dividing wall, the area was abandoned until the 9th century AD when the area was reused, including the construction of a small hearth.

Piazza Santa Maria

In Piazza Santa Maria, the excavation was extended towards the current Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in order to reveal the full extent of the rooms identified in 2012, one of which was decorated with an impressive polychrome mosaic.

In addition to discovering more of the plan of the building, a multiple burial, perhaps an ossuary, was revealed lying directly above the mosaic.