the mountain overlooking the village of Castronovo. The
Arab name, which dates from mediaeval times, means
castle or fortified area. The fortifications have been partly explored. They date from the end of the 6th or the
beginning of the 5th c. B.C. Some archaeological evidence
connected with the Greek world has been found, while
no documentation remains of a possible settlement by
Sikeloi or Sikani.
Since the site commanded the large communication
route between Akragas and Himera, this fortified center
could well have been an Akragan outpost on the road
to Himera. On the basis of a papyrus (Oxyrh. Pap
11. 1-7), which recounts the raids of Syracusan mercenaries in central Sicily during the second quarter of the 5th
c. B.C., this fortified site could well be identified with the
city of Krastos.
From the same area come various small bronzes in the
shape of knucklebones, some surmounted by snakes,
birds, or bulls. These bronzes have generally been considered comparable to many others found on the fringes
of the territory belonging to the Greek colonies in Sicily,
but a recent theory suggests that they represent the pre-coinage stage of the Sikel-Sikan culture. No evidence of
life after the end of the 4th c. B.C. remains at the site.
L. Tirrito, “Sulla città e sulla comarca
di Castronovo,” Giornale di Scienze, Lettere, Arti per La
28 (1875); A. De Gregorio, Sa taluni bronzetti
arcaici di Sicilia
(1917); P. Marconi, NSc
(1930) 555-57; B. Pace, Arte e Civiltà della Sicilia Antica
208-9; D. Adamesteanu, “Monte Saraceno e il problema
della penetrazione rodio-cretese nella Sicilia meridionale,”
8 (1956) 139-40; A. T. Cutroni, “Osservazioni
sui bronzetti di Castronovo: contributo agli studi sull'origine della moneta,” Kokalos
9 (1963) 129-36.