The recent excavation campaign at one of the most important archaeological sites in the Molise region uncovered new insights into the secrets of the Samnites, a warrior people that occupied south-central Italy and held out against the Romans for centuries. The Samnites, renowned as gladiators after their homeland was absorbed into the Roman empire, had a highly developed social and religious system, as shown by the impressive remains in the 7-hectare monumental sacred area of Pietrabbondante, 30 kms from Isernia. Previous excavation campaigns have revealed a number of temples, administrative buildings, an Aerarium (public treasury) and the largest known Italic theatre, with a capacity of 2,500 spectators and a unique feature of three rows of frontline seats for VIPS with backrests and armrests decorated with lion heads. The sanctuary was in use from the 5th- 4th centuries BC until the Roman conquest and the Samnite cults of Victoria (military virtues), Honos (civic honour) and Abbundance were worshipped in dedicated temples. The 2019 excavation campaign revealed new insights into a troubled period in the sanctuary's history. Archaeologists uncovered a shrine dedicated to Venere Erycina (the local representation of Venus), which had been abandoned before construction was completed, pinpointing a period of upheaval and unrest. This ties in with the earlier discovery of a building site, which had also been abruptly abandoned, leaving eight blocks of half-worked stone lined up on the spot. The site is open to the public (current restrictions permitting).
Tel. +39.086576129 - www.molise.beniculturali.it
Istituto nazionale di Archeologia e storia dell'arte - www.inasaroma.org