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Evidence of ancient occupation in Vescovado di Murlo is abundant through occasional excavation and sporadic finds. Tombs dating to 6th century BCE and the Hellenistic period have been noted from the Tononi district of the town. During the 1970s the construction of the SP 34 roadway, known locally as Via Martiri di Rigo Secco, traces of an ancient industrial zone were uncovered and excavated in a rescue operation. This work revealed architectural elements of two furnaces along with a fragment of a wall immediately south of the apertures of the larger of the two furnaces. Pottery recovered from within the limited area of excavation pointed to a date between the end of the fourth to the beginning of the third century BCE. It was at this site in 2006 that an exploratory excavation took place, led by the Poggio Civitate Excavation Project.


The excavations explored the previously identified areas of fourth and third century BCE industrial activity (see VT1 ) and uncovered traces of an earlier furnace, as well as traces of a possible domestic space whose pottery dated to the sixth century BCE, contemporaneous and similar to fabrics recovered from the monumental complex on Poggio Civitate.

In particular the 2006 excavations discovered another forno (see VT6 ), or possible hypocaust feature, directly to the south of the structures uncovered in the 1970s. As well as this an Attic red-figure sherd, dating to c. 500 BCE, along with some bucchero and buccheroid wares from the 6th century BCE were discovered in a lower strata of VT4 . Alongside this a possible floor surface and retaining wall were uncovered in VT2 and VT3 , directly to the south of the original 1970s excavations.

This season's excavations aim to build upon the 2006 and previous explorations of this area of Vescovado. We are going to explore an area to the west (some 5 meters) of the 2006 and 1970s explorations in what is now a Tennis Court constructed in the 1980s. The Tennis Courts lie around 5 meters above the structures and features uncovered previously. From the information available it appears that the area where the courts were constructed was scrapped and a fill was placed above on a natural slope. It is hoped that excavation below the Tennis Court foundation will reveal structures and features similar in nature to those uncovered previously.

The aims of excavation of VT8 are as follows:

1. To establish a secure stratigraphy for this area of Vescovado di Murlo. This should clarify the dating of the structures previously discovered.

2. Determine the natural topography of this part of Vescovado.

3. To clarify the function(s) of the previously discovered structure(s), in particular the nature of the industrial activity and potential domestic area.

4.To determine the extent of previously discovered structures.

5. To investigate the relationship between Vescovado di Murlo during the 7th and 6th centuries BCE, and the inhabitants of the monumental structures on Poggio Civitate.

6. To better understand activity in Vescovado di Murlo following the destruction and abandonment of Poggio Civitate towards the end of the 6th century BCE.

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Suggested Citation

Eóin M. O'Donoghue. "VT 8 (2015-05-26):3-7; Introduction from Italy/Vescovado di Murlo/Upper Vescovado/Vescovado 8/2015, ID:695". (2017) In Murlo. Anthony Tuck (Ed.) . Released: 2017-10-04. Open Context. <>

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