Unveiling the Past of an Ancient Town, Akrai/Acrea in South-Eastern Sicily
Description: paperback, 402 pp. (29,5x21 cm), figs.
Unveiling the Past of an Ancient Town, Akrai/Acrea in South-Eastern Sicily, ed. by Roksana Chowaniec, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, Warsaw 2015
Cultural layers and archaeological artefacts are a sui generis litmus paper for all cultural processes which occurred in antiquity. This is why it is so important and crucial to categorise them with contributions from not only the humanities, but also the natural and social sciences.
The present monograph precisely aims at the above-mentioned goal and thus, beyond publishing artefacts discovered during excavations, its main purpose is to commit scientific observations to paper. It also attempts to capture the history of an ancient urban centre and present it through a photographic framework. Ancient Akrai/Acrae, situated in the central part of south-eastern Sicily, happens to be a significant place in the archaeological map of the island and the Mediterranean as a whole. The multidisciplinary research conducted therein is of great importance not only due to the status of the site, but even more so due to the challenges and scholarly problems posed by it. The town has been excavated only to a slight degree so far, mainly around an area comprising of public buildings (a theatre, a temple, a bouleuteri-on and fragments of an agora have been unearthed there), and over 70% of the archaeological site is yet to be explored.
The present publication is the first book to describe the results of the interdisciplinary archaeological studies conducted between 2009 and 2014 within the area of the ancient urban centre and its direct vicinity. It consists of seventeen chapters covering topography and history of the town, showcasing selected artefacts and explaining the methodology of particular stages of research.
The book, somewhat naturally, has been divided into two parts. Each chapter contains separate references and bibliography. For the reader's convenience, all illustrations have been placed or in the texts either at the end of their respective chapters.
In the introduction of the publication, we find the latest research on the history of the region prior to the establishment of the first Greek colony in the area in 664 BC.
It is followed by a chapter discussing various aspects of research conducted by a mission of the University of Warsaw on the archaeological site and another text on the analysis and interpretation of the cultural layers and architectural remains unearthed therein compared to earlier discoveries from Akrai/Acrae.
Further chapters present the methodology hitherto employed at the archaeological site and discuss the results of non-destructive methods of analysis.
The second part of the book contains chapters dedicated to the presentation and discussion of various sets of artefacts. The reader will find articles concerning: findings of imitations of antoninianus, the so-called 'barbarous radiates', flint items found as secondary deposits on levelling layers in rooms as well as a selection of glassware. Next, we have papers related to the pottery, including lamps, selected examples of thin-walled vessels and terra sigillata; other table wares and cooking wares. This part is complemented by an archaeometrical analysis of pottery leading to the identification of its provenance.
Notes of contributors
Collaboration between the Archaeological Unit of Soprintendenza ai Beni Cultural! e Ambientali of Syracuse and the University of Warsaw
The prehistory of Akrai and its surrounding area
General remarks on the new archaeological studies in Akrai/Acrae (2009-2014),
Comments on the history and topography of Akrai/Acrae in the light of new research
Kite aerial photogrammetry
Comparison of the results of magnetic and gradient surveys with the real situation in the field on the basis of excavations in Trench I at Akrai/Acrae. New possibilities for the interpretation of geophysical maps
Uncovering the discovered view. The workshop for modern archaeological documentation
Preliminary remarks on antoniniani imitations from recent excavations at Akrai/Acrae
Flints from Akrai
Late Antique glass vessels from the excavations at Akrai
The lamps of the 2011-2014 campaigns and their contribution towards a better
understanding of the lychnological phenomenon in the Hyblaean highlands
Kitchen and Cooking wares. First remarks
Roman and Late Antique fine pottery from Akrai (2011-2014). First discoveries and
Plain Table Ware from Akrai. Preliminary approach
Germana Barone, Paolo Mazzoleni, Simona Raneri, Roksana Chowaniec, Marta Fitula
Petro-archaeometric characterization of ancient pottery from Akrai
Comments on animal husbandry and meat diet on the basis of analysis of animal bone remains
Paolo Daniele Scirpo
Akrai/Acrae. A selected bibliography (1558-2014)