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