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1997 South Flank Summary

In the course of the 1997 excavations in the South Flank area, corresponding to master grid meters S25-29/E136-140, the orientalizing structure lying beneath the southern side of the Upper Building was further explored and defined.

This year's excavations were located within the western R14 room of the Upper Building.  A portion of the southern orientalizing wall was exposed, along with a section of the floor of the orientalizing structure.

Since this area of R14 had previously been excavated to the floor level of the archaic floor of the Upper Building, all material recovered in this season's work comes from a sealed deposit, which can be associated with the occupation/use and destruction phases of the orientalizing building.

Only a small portion of the orientalizing floor was exposed, approximately 7 meters square, and material recovery was relatively limited in comparison with that from the other orientalizing structures on Piano del Tesoro -- the Lower and Southeast Buildings.

Immediately below the archaic floor level, a number of architectural terracottas were recovered -- a pan tile portion with the letter alpha ( AMC V p. 157, Find #2 ); a full cover tile width ( AMC V p. 143, Find #4 ); and several thick and irregularly-made tiles ( AMC VII p. 135, Find #2 ), which may be associated with this orientalizing building.

The floor of the orientalizing building appears to have been formed of packed earth.  There is an approximately 1-3 cm variance in the level of the floor, which may be due to original irregularities in construction or geological/bioturbational movement.  An approximately 10 cm thick layer of destruction debris -- heavy carbon, plaster, ceramic -- was found overlaying the orientalizing floor.  This stratum produced the greatest quantity of material remains within the trench, including several which may offer indications of function and chronology for the structure.

It is also assumed that this structure, which appears to have been destroyed by a fire, was destroyed at the same time as the Lower and Southeast Buildings, although this relationship

remains to be shown conclusively.

The destruction layer immediately above the orientalizing floor yielded fragments of a number of different bucchero vessels of very distinct types:  two inscribed and decorated conical feet (see AMC V p. 172, Find #1 and AMC V p. 209, Find #1 for the first fragments of these feet); two hooded handle fragments, which may belong to the same vessel ( AMC V p. 179, Find #2 and AMC V p. 242, Find #1 ); and portions of two wing handles from a cup ( AMC V p. 173, Find #4 and AMC V p. 179, Find #4 ).

Also recovered from this stratum was a portion of a terracotta statue fragment ( AMC V p. 171, Find #3 ) of unidentifiable form.

Two other finds should be noted here, although they were recovered from the strata above the burn/destruction layer ( AMC V p. 121, Find #4 and AMC V p. 157, Find #3 ):  a large portion of an orangeware bowl and a full profile of an impasto bowl with incised and notched decoration.  The state of preservation of these two vessels may suggest that they be associated with the orientalizing building, although they are no longer resting on its floor level.

The limits of this orientalizing structure were also

further defined in this season's work.  A section of the south wall of the structure was exposed.  This stretch of wall is approximately 3 m long and appears to be either interrupted by the Upper Building crosswalls of R14 or extend beneath them, having been incorporated into the archaic structure.  This orientalizing wall is approxiamtely 1 m in width and is preserved to a much greater height than the other sections of the south orientalizing wall (see AMC V 1996 ). This portion of the wall was preserved to a height just immediately below the archaic floor.

This year's excavations in South Flank, in conjunction with the excavations in Agger 9 Extension (see GM I, 1997 ) immediately west of R13, have further defined the size of the building and its approximate chronology.  The Ag 9 Ext excavations revealed another section of a north-south wall of the structure with a corner in the northwest.  This appears to be the western-most wall.  The Ag 9 Ext area can also be linked to the South Flank area by a loom weight fragment, which, although worn, appears to join

to a fragment found inside the orientalizing structure, resting just above the floor ( AMC V p. 231, Find #2 ).  The overall dimension of the building thus appear to be 24 m x 9 m (e-w to n-s), with three rooms, the central room being slightly wider than the two side rooms.  This year's South Flank excavations were within the central room.

The chronology of the building is also better understood.  If the assumption that it was destroyed in the same conflagration as the Lower and Southeast Buildings is correct, the function phase of the building must be prior to 600 B.C.E.  In addition, the portions of the bucchero cups found on the floor may suggest a mid 7th century date for the duration phase at the earliest.

It should also be noted that excavations below the orientalizing floor level revealed a second layer with haevy carbon inclusions and fragments of coil-made ceramics ( AMC V p. 221, Finds #4 and 5 ; AMC VII p. 7, Find #1 ), which may indicate a still earlier phase of occupation on Piano del Tesoro.

Note:  It was decided subsequent to these summaries to refer to the orientalizing building as ORIENTALIZING COMPLEX BUILDING 3 -- OC 3.

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Suggested Citation

Alexis M. Christensen. "AMC VII (1997-08-06):28-37; 1997 South Flank Summary from Italy/Poggio Civitate/Tesoro South Flank/Tesoro South Flank 0/1998, ID:406". (2017) In Murlo. Anthony Tuck (Ed.) . Released: 2017-10-04. Open Context. <>

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