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ROSSANO DI VAGLIO Basilicata, Italy.

An archaeological zone in the NE section of the territory of Vaglio di Basilicata among low hills watered by the spring of the Madonna di Rossano. The area was already known in the 19th c. as the site of a temple or sanctuary, now identified by the discovery of Oscan inscriptions, written mainly in Greek, as a Sanctuary of Mephitis. Thus far the excavations have uncovered a large altar built of blocks cut in the Greek style and bearing quarry marks in the form of Greek letters, two rooms on the E side with walls of regularly dressed stones, and a third room defined by dry walls constructed according to the same system. The altar occupies the center of a large area paved with blocks of very hard stone. On the W side, a door has been found and beside it two semicircular containers where water from the large spring in the mountain W of the sanctuary collected after passing through lion-head spouts. Around the altar a channel collected the water and carried it towards a drain, which was repaired more than once during antiquity.

The earliest coins, the oldest ex-voto, and the numerous inscriptions indicate that the sanctuary was founded between 340 and 330. From this time until the first half of the 1st c. A.D. the monument was subject to various transformations, owing especially to a number of landslides caused by the pressure of the water from the spring.

From investigations carried out in the environs, it is known that the sanctuary, a locus sacer for the area, stood in the midst of a series of indigenous Lucanian centers: Serra di Vaglio, Torretta di Pietragalla, Carpina di Cancellara, Acerenza, Oppido Lucano, Civita di Tricatico, Anzi, and Torre di Satriano. Towards the end of the Republic and the beginning of the 1st c. A.D., the cult of Mephitis was removed from Rossano to Potentia. No documents exist after the first half of the 1st c. A.D.


CIL X, 2 (1883), 96; G. Fiorelli, NSc (1881) 123-24; A. Lombardi, Mem.Ist.Corrisp.Arch. (1832) 220-21; M. La Cava, Topografia e Storia di Metaponto (1891) 8-9; M. Lejune, REL 45 (1967) 194-231; PdP 22, 126 (1968) 281-302; D. Adamesteanu, Atti IX Congresso Taranto (1969) 222-27; id. & M. Lejune, MemLinc 16, 2 (1971) 39-83; M. Lejeune, “Inscriptions de Rossano di Vaglio 1972,” RendLinc 27,7-12 (1973) 399-414.


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