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SANT'ANGELO MUXARO (“Kamikos”) Sicily.

A Sikan center (9th & 5th c.) ca. 20 km N of Agrigento on a high rocky hill that dominates the valley of the Platani river (fl. Halykos). The archaeological data derive exclusively from the finds in the necropolis since no excavation has been carried out in the area of the ancient settlement, which lies almost entirely under the modern village. It is, however, likely that the strong natural position of the hill conferred special strategic importance to the center, specifically in connection with Akragas' expansionistic policy on the Platani valley.

The necropolis includes a series of tombs in the shape of small artificial grottos dug into the W and S slopes of the mountain. The earlier graves lie at the foot of the rock and are dated to the 9th c. B.C. by the types of bronze objects found in them. More important, however, are the round tombs, on the slope of the hill, which differ from other Sicilian graves of this general type not only because of the inclusion of a second funerary chamber, but also for their considerable size and their domed roofs, which recall the architectural conception of the great Mycenaean tholoi. The largest of these graves, the so-called grotto of Sant'Angelo, is 8 m in diameter and preserves all around a bench on which the corpses were laid. These tombs were used for multiple burials from the 8th to the 5th c. B.C. The funerary gifts range from the typical native ware with incised decoration to ware painted under the influence of Greek prototypes and finally to Greek pottery, either Attic or Corinthian. Of greatest interest are precious objects, such as two heavy gold rings with incised bezels, one showing a wolf, the other a cow suckling a calf, or some small gold bowls, of which the only one still extant (British Museum) is decorated with a frieze of cattle in relief. Except for this bowl, the finds from the Sant'Angelo Muxaro necropolis are housed in the Syracuse and Agrigento Museums. These precious objects are attributed by some to Cretan, by others to Cypro-Phoenician workshops of the 7th c. B.C. Because of the wealth attested by this jewelry and by the graves themselves, most scholars tend to identify the site with ancient Kamikos, the famous and impregnable citadel which Daidalos, according to the legend, built for the Sikan king Kokalos. This hypothesis is highly attractive and fairly plausible, but only a stratigraphic excavation in the habitation area can produce decisive evidence in its support.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

P. Orsi, Atti Accademia Lettere, Scienza e Belle Arti di Palermo 17 (1932) 1ff; P. Griffo, Archivio Storico Sicilia Orientale 7 (1954) 58ff; B. Pace, ArchEph (1953-54) 273ff; G. Pugliese Carratelli, Kokalos 2:2 (1956) 1ff; E. De Miro, La Parola del Passato 49 (1956) 271ff; L. Bernabo Brea, Sicily before the Greeks (Ancient Peoples and Places 3, London 1957) 177ff; G. Caputo, La parola del Passato 93 (1963) 401ff; Langlotz-Hirmer, Die Kunst der Westgriechen (1963) 13ff, 55.

P. ORLANDINI

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