(Pisticci) Basilicata, Italy.
An ancient center near the town, set on a small, elongated
hill overlooking the river Basento. The settlement, isolated on every side, may be reached only from the E
where it looks out over the sea. It is 6 km from the center of the Greek colony of Metapontion and W of the
line of defense of the Achaean colony.
The site is defended not only by its precipitous position but by an irregular stone and earthen agger (ca.
1 m wide). Within the fortification line, on a level
stretch that slopes gently upward to the E, are traces
of dwellings, rectangular or circular, with plinths of
irregular sandstone rocks coming from the Basento river.
Scattered here and there throughout the area, they are
built of clay mixed with straw and ash and reinforced
with tree trunks and branches. Inside the dwellings,
Greek pottery mingled with local ware was found. The
oldest vases are the proto-Corinthian bulging aryballoi
and the pyre-shaped vases with friezes of running dogs.
This series of small proto-Corinthian vases is associated
with the series in gray clay. The larger vases are represented by locally produced amphorae and by black,
painted amphorae, probably imported, and by a series of
double-handled Chian orientalizing vases. These have
geometric decorations in imitation of the insular and
Rhodian techniques. The local ware comprises large
decorated vases or imported lapygean ware mingled with
large dishes, small sacrificial bowls, and urn-shaped
amphorae. The total array of extant pottery suggests
coexistence between Greeks and native peoples, beginning in the second half of the 8th c. B.C.
In the lowest levels of the site are ceramic fragments
dating to the last years of the Bronze Age or perhaps
of the Apennine culture. Even though the levels are often
mixed because of a succession of buildings, this much
has become clear in the chronology which extends until
the end of the 7th c. B.C. Thus far, no other evidence
has been found prior to this period. Some vases show
traces of graffiti, among the oldest known to date in the
area of Metapontion.
The archaic Greek pottery discovered in this site antedates, in very large part, the finds thus far made in the
lowest levels at Metapontion. Everything gives the impression of a site which predates the founding of Metapontion, and which was abandoned toward the end of
the 7th c. B.C. Antiochos of Syracuse (Strab. 6.1.15
speaks of another site which existed in the area of
Metapontion but which was abandoned before Metapontion was founded. Perhaps his words should be reconsidered in this context.
D. Adamesteanu, “Problèmes de la
zone archéologique de Métaponte,” RA
fig. 35; id., Popoli anellenici in Basilicata