Ausculum

Ascoli Satriano, Collina del Serpente
  • Category - Archaeological sites
  • Country - Italy
  • Region - Puglia
  • Province - Foggia
  • Town - Ascoli Satriano

Address/how to arrive

You can get there from the A16 motorway (Caserta-Bari), exit at Candela and then head for Foggia, until after 4km you will find the turn off for Ascoli Satriano.

Tourist Information

Parco Archeologico dei Dauni
Largo Maria Teresa Di Lascia 1, Ascoli Satriano
tel. 0885662186

Description

The Daunian people settled in this area as early as the 8th century B.C., although man’s presence is testified here since Neolithic times.

In 279 B.C. Ascoli was in the middle of the clash that had the Romans fighting Pyrrhus, king of Epirus called to assist Taranto. The result of the battle at Ascoli, near the river Carapelle, made Pyrrhus’ victory proverbial.

At the time of the social war, C. Silla founded the Firmana Military Colony here, entrusting it to the veterans of the Firma Legion, in the locality of Giardino, near the Ascoli urban settlement.
It was then invaded by Saracens and Byzantines, while in 1041 the Normans won an important battle for the conquest of Puglia.

The town still preserves traces of the Roman and Middle Ages and the Cathedral has characteristics typical of the 10th – 18th centuries.

The Roman bridge with three arches over the river Carapelle can still be used.

On the Collina del Serpente, now the Archaeological Park of the Dauni, excavations have revealed a series of very interesting archaeological constructions.

The park has an interesting guided tour among the attractive ruins of the hill and a didactic space with audiovisual supports and explanation panels on the evolution of ancient Ausculum.

The extensive paving of the shrine of the late archaic age, in river cobbles with geometric designs, is considered an unicum by scholars. The building acted as a gathering area for the local communities. Its religious importance during ceremonies dedicated to the cult of the dead is certain. These ceremonies took place on the side paving in cobbles on which, below a layer of tiles, plates with red figures, pyxis and other precious vessels were found.

Starting from the first half of the 4th century B.C. the western sector of the hill was occupied by habitations of well-to-do family nucleuses. In one of these numerous heaps of cobbles pertaining to flooring are preserved.

In the town, the repaving of piazza Plebiscito led to the uncovering of a domus of the Roman age. It can be dated to the first half of the 1st century A.D. There are three rooms of it distinguishable, one of which is the atrium with a mosaic floor. In the centre is the design of an emblem in black and white, in the corners terracotta vases with swirls and palms. Another mosaic in a passageway reproduces lozenges and squares made with red tessere. Lastly, in the tablino there was a floor with white tessere on a black band.

Recent excavations in the area of Faragola, on the hilly slopes that mark the boundaries of the valley of the Carapelle, about 5 km north-west of Ausculum, have uncovered the remains of a luxurious villa of Roman and late-antique times. Of particular importance is a large rectangular hall, probably a dining room, with a floor made from slabs of marble and decorated with precious carpets in glass and marble opus sectile, with elements in ivory and wood. A few metres from this room, other areas paved with precious polychrome mosaics in a geometric decoration, have been found.

Go to the photographic gallery

Bibliography

  • M. Mazzei, La Daunia antica: dalla preistoria all'altomedioevo, Milano 1984.
  • F. Tiné Bertocchi, Le necropoli daunie di Ascoli Satriano ed Arpi, Genova 1985.
  • M. Fabbri, M. Osanna, Ausculum I. L'abitato daunio sulla Collina del Serpente di Ascoli Satriano, Foggia 2002.
  • Ascoli Satriano, Assessorato al Turismo, Ascoli Satriano: scrigno di antiche civiltà, 2004.   

 

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