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An anchorage mentioned by Ptolemy and known also as base of Belisarius' fleet before his departure for Malta during the Greek-Gothic war (535-536 A.D.). The site is in the neighborhood of Cape Scalambri, modern Punta Secca, ca. 10 km to the E of the Greek city of Kamarina. Within an area that stretches for some hundreds of m along the coast and ca. 200 m inland, ruins of 25 buildings had been visible before excavation. Coins, lamps of African type, sherds (of undecorated ware and of impressed terra sigillata chiara), and technical details of the masonry indicate continuity of life from the second half of the 4th c. to the beginning of the 7th c. A.D.

Structures of one group, rather simple in plan, with rectangular outline comprising two or more rooms of considerable size, were most likely used as storerooms. Elsewhere the plan is more complex with spacious courtyards, sometimes circular, closed toward the outside. These courtyards provide access to the ground floor rooms and to those of the upper story by means of large staircases built in masonry. These are country houses but grandly conceived; being independent and often at considerable distance from one another, they could even have been fortified farms.

At the E end of the habitation quarter, in the center of a complex of buildings, a small cemetery church has been identified, with three naves paved with poorly preserved mosaic floors. Numerous terracotta lamps with chrismon and the beautiful bronze lamp handle with the same motif within a laurel wreath follow an iconography which goes back to the 4th c. A.D.

The structures of Kaukana accessible to visitors are within a fenced area opening onto the Provincial Route for Marina di Ragusa-Punta Secca; other edifices are along the seashore. The creation of an archaeological park is in progress.

The finds (pottery, bronzes, glass) are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Ragusa.


Ptol. Geogr. 3.4-7 (ed. C. Mueller); Procop. Vand. 1.14.

B. Pace, “Sul sito di Kaukana,” RivStAnt 12 (1908) 267ff; P. Orsi, Sicilia Bizantina, ed. G. Agnello (1942); S. L. Agnello, Corsi di Cultura sull'Arte Ravennate e Bizantina (1962) 102ff; G. V. Gentili, La Basilica bizantina della Pirrera di S. Croce Camerina (1969); P. Pelagatti in ArchStSir 12 (1966) 23ff; id. in Kokalos 14-15 (1968-69) 355P.


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