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LUNI (Luni sul Mignone) Italy.

Acropolis at the foot of the Tolfa mountains near the river Mignone, ca. 24 km inland from Tarquinia. The site was probably inhabited without interruption from Neolithic times to the 14th c. A.D. when it was abandoned, possibly as a consequence of the Black Death. The name Luni can be traced back to the 8th c. A.D. (Liber Pontificalis, pontificate of Gregory II, 715-731) and was almost certainly also the ancient name of the place. The tufa plateau (550 x 140 m), separated from its surroundings by deep river-eroded valleys, is a natural fortress. Excavations have brought to light a small Neolithic settlement of the Sasso-Fiorano culture (ca. 3500 B.C.), huts of the Chalcolithic Rinaldone culture (ca. 2000 B.C.), and above all a village of the Apennine Bronze Age culture (ca. 1300-800 B.C.). The Bronze Age settlement consisted not only of huts but also of houses, the largest (5 x 42 m), sunk into the tufa bedrock to 2 m of depth. Five sherds of imported Greek pottery (Mycenaean III A:2-III C) were found in stratigraphic context in the houses. They are the northernmost Mycenaean finds so far known in Italy and of basic importance for the chronology of Latium and S Etruria during the second half of the 2d and the early 1st millennium B.C. In the Iron Age there was a large village of huts on the acropolis. A remarkable building of the same period has been found on the W point of the hill. It is of monumental dimensions (ca. 9 x 18 m) and sunk into the tufa bedrock to a depth of 6 m. This building, so far unique, was probably the residence of the leader of the village and possibly also a cult center. Superimposed was a small sanctuary, dated to the 5th c. BC., with a temenos and a cave. A Christian chapel was erected over the sanctuary. In the Etruscan period Luni was one of Tarquinia's fortresses at the S border of its territory. It was fortified at the end of the 5th c. B.C. with a city wall of tufa ashlars and a small castle. Remains of dwellings of the archaic period have been found. The remains of the Roman and mediaeval periods are scanty.


C. E. Ostenberg, “Luni sul Mignone. Prima campagna di scavi,” NSc 15 (1961) 103ff; id., “Luni and Villa Sambuco,” Etruscan Culture (1962) 313ff; id., Luni sul Mignone e Problemi della Preistoria d'Italia (Acta Instituti Regni Sueciae, 4, XXV; 1967); id., “Edificio monumentale dell'età del ferro scoperto a Luni sul Mignone” (Atti del primo simposio di protostoria d'Italia; 1967) 157ff. Of the final publication, Luni sul Mignone. Results of excavations conducted by the Swedish Institute at Rome and the Soprintendenza alle Antichità dell'Etruria Meridionale (Acta Instituti Romani Regni Sueciae, 4, XXVII) Vol. II, fasce. 1 is in print: Torgun Wieselgren, The Iron Age Settlement on the Acropolis.


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