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ALTAMURA Apulia, Italy.

The site of an ancient center of the Peucetii on the Murge river ca. 50 km SW of Bari. The ancient name is unknown. The territory was inhabited from the Neolithic age (Putecchia). During the Bronze Age the area was thickly covered with settlements, documented by the discovery of numerous burials in the form of artificial grottos or caves. They occur in Pisciulo and Casal Sabini, from which comes a bossed bone plaque. This is valuable testimony of the first commercial contacts between Apulia and the Aegean world in the pre-Mycenaean age. During the Iron Age, between the 9th and 8th c. B.C., there was widespread use of inhumation burial in ditches dug in the rock and covered by tumuli. These occur at La Mena, Castiglione, and Scalcione.

In the section of the city called La Croce recent excavation has brought to light the existence of villages, built one on top of another and regularly stratified, which seem to span the period up to the 3d c. B.C. Houses with a rectangular plan, often with contiguous pit tombs or sarcophagi, as in the analogous Peucetian village of Monte Sannace near Gioia del Colle, are clearly urban in character toward the end of the 5th c. B.C. A megalithic circuit wall, still visible for long stretches, was provided with gates, among them the gate called Aurea or Alba. The tombs discovered both inside and outside the walls contained rich deposits of vases and terracottas, presently in preparation for installation in the new Archaeological Museum of Altamura, in the La Croce section of the city.


M. Mayer, Apulien (1914) 345; F. G. Lo Porto, “Prospettive archeologiche altamurane,” Altamura 12 (1970) 3ff.


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