SELiNUNTE - New York University

by user








SELiNUNTE - New York University
S e l i nunte
NEWSLETTER 2011 - 2012
The Selinunte 2011 field season was filled with exciting new
discoveries in the Temple R area and the finalization of the
architectural study and reconstruction of Temple B. All this
would not have been possible without our sponsors and
supporters, including the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Si &
Victoria Newhouse, the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation,
the 1984 Foundation, and many other private individuals
who together played an integral role in our work to excavate,
conserve, and research Selinunte and to mentor students.
The ancient site of Selinunte, located on the southern coast of
Sicily across from North Africa, is recognized today as one of the
most important archaeological sites of the Greek period in Italy.
From its foundation as a Greek colony around the second half
of the seventh century through the middle of the third century
BCE, Selinunte enjoyed a prosperous existence as reflected in
its notable sanctuaries, temples, fortifications, and houses, which
span the Archaic (600 – 480 BCE) through the Early Hellenistic
(323 – 250 BCE) periods and are remarkably well preserved.
Fig. 2: Remains of Temple B and its altar.
Temples R, C and D. Later, in the Hellenistic period, Temple B
was erected in the southern area of the north sanctuary (Fig. 2).
Its architectural remains, especially significant structures in the
southern sector of the main urban sanctuary on the Acropolis,
which have not received serious study in many years, still have
much to reveal to us concerning the history of the Greeks and the
Phoenicians in the Western Mediterranean. Further information,
including descriptions of the monuments and an interactive map,
is available on our website: www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/
In 2006, the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University
began a new research project on the Acropolis of Selinunte,
under the direction of Professor Clemente Marconi and in
collaboration with the Soprintendenza BB.CC.AA. of Trapani
Fig. 1: Aerial view of the main urban sanctuary of Selinunte.
By the first two decades of the sixth century, the second
generation of Selinuntians began the process of transforming the
urban space and the major sanctuaries through the construction
of temples (Fig. 1). Most were built on the Acropolis, a large area
located at the center of the city’s southern hill and surrounded
by a precinct. The Acropolis housed two sanctuaries: the south
sanctuary, which included Temples A and O, and the north
sanctuary, the more important of the two, which included
Fig. 3: 3-D model reconstruction of Temple B.
S e linunte
and now the Archaeological Park of Selinunte. The current
project focuses on a systematic and interdisciplinary study
of the archaeology and architecture of the southern sector
of the main urban sanctuary on the Acropolis. This project
will produce the standard contemporary publication on the
southern sector of the main urban sanctuary, documenting
its architecturally significant buildings, in particular Temples
B and R, their decoration, their topographical context, and
significant alterations made to the area during the Hellenistic
period. Accurate 3-D models of Temple B (Fig. 3), Temple R,
the South Building, and the rest of the southern sector of the
main urban sanctuary will be completed. Finally, a narrative
will detail the history of the site from the Bronze Age through
the Hellenistic period.
Fig. 4:
Graduate students
Lillian Stoner,
Austen Di Pinto,
Charles Howard,
Kara Fiedorek and
Marya Grupsmith
excavating at Temple R.
Clemente Marconi led the 2011 excavation team along with
Rosalia Pumo and Ferdinando Lentini. The students on site,
Sonia Rother (Ph.D. candidate, Columbia University), Marya
Grupsmith (Ph.D. candidate, IFA-NYU), Lillian Bartlett Stoner
(Ph.D. candidate, IFA-NYU), Austen-Leigh De Pinto (MA
candidate, IFA-NYU), Charles Howard (Ph.D. candidate,
IFA-NYU), and Kara Fiedorek (Ph.D. candidate, IFA-NYU),
assisted in performing the field work and actively engaged in
the excavation (Fig. 4).
Temple B. This year has marked an important new step in our
Selinunte project. Clemente Marconi, with the assistance of
architect David Scahill (American School of Classical Studies
in Athens) and Marya Grupsmith, has finalized the architectural
study and reconstruction of Temple B (Fig. 3). This building
stands now as one of the best-known and documented temples
of the early Hellenistic period in Southern Italy and Sicily, and
a detailed forthcoming publication will provide an essential
reference point for future studies on Greek monumental
architecture in the West.
Fig. 5:
of Temple B.
Fig. 6: Aerial view of Temple R.
Temple R. The completion of the study of Temple B has
allowed us to move forward in a new, exciting direction:
the architectural and archaeological investigation of Temple
R (Fig. 6). Located to the west of Temple B, Temple R is
the earliest monumental temple built in Selinunte, and one
Fig. 7: F
erdinando Lentini and graduate student Lillian
Stoner working in a trench at Temple R.
S e linunte
of the first representatives of Western Greek monumental
architecture. Our investigation of Temple R started this past
summer with an excavation in the area in front of the door
on the eastern side of the building. Lillian Stoner has played
a prominent role in this excavation. We were able to identify
an intact stratigraphic sequence leading from the Hellenistic
period all the way back to the foundation of the Greek
colony in the Orientalizing
period. Our finds from the
deeper levels include the
fill from the foundation
trench of Temple R (Fig. 7).
The trench was full of
limestone chips from the
dressing of the ashlar blocks
for the elevation of our
building along with some
pottery that will enable us
to provide the first firm
archaeological dating of
Fig. 8: Fragment of painted
Temple R (Fig. 8).
Corinthian vase.
Sculpture. In the higher stratigraphic levels of Temple R
dated to the Late Classical period, there was the particularly
significant discovery of a group of terracotta sculptures, some
of which preserve traces of the original polychromy. These
include the head from a female bust (Fig. 9), a type very
popular in Sicily, often used in association with the cult of
Demeter, and thought to represent either this goddess or her
daughter, Kore. Our example, made of clay of local origin, is
one of the earliest of the series, datable to the middle of the
fifth century. We established the date based on the comparison
of the facial features with the marble, female heads (Fig. 10)
from the metopes of the Temple of Hera on the eastern hill.
The other terracottas depict a peplophoros, also datable to
the mid-fifth century, a female head of the last quarter of the
fifth century (Fig. 11), and finally a female protome, which is
missing her head and is thus impossible to date. This series of
terracottas is best understood as votive offerings associated
with Temple R, and they seem to suggest the identification of
this building with a Temple of Demeter.
Prehistoric and Early Archaic Finds. Our prehistoric finds
are the first ever unearthed on the Acropolis of Selinunte and
they point to the existence of a Late Bronze Age settlement in
the area of the main urban sanctuary. This settlement likely
played an important role for trade across the Mediterranean
Sea, as indicated by the presence of Mycenaean pottery. In
the deeper layers of the trench near the bedrock, we found
more evidence for Early Archaic structures with mudbrick
walls and clay floors. These structures, originally located in
Fig. 9:
Head of polychrome
female bust from
Temple R.
Fig. 10:
Marble head from
the metopes of the
Temple of Hera.
Fig. 11:
Terracotta female
head, 5th century
BCE found at
Temple R.
the area between Temples B and R, are the earliest structures
documented in Selinunte. The pottery identified this season
appears to be both native and Greek, which opens interesting
questions about ethnicity and cultural exchange in Selinunte at
the time of the colonial foundation.
S e linunte
Next year’s project will be particularly exciting, as we will be
investigating the inside of Temple R. During this field season,
we were able to establish that Temple R fell because of an
earthquake around the middle of the fourth century. After
its collapse, the temple was rebuilt, and the debris was not
removed, but leveled. The floor inside and around the temple
was raised over one meter. Due to this circumstance and the
fact that the temple has never been investigated below the
Hellenistic levels in modern times, there is a very good chance
that inside the building we will be able to identify the collapsed
roof, the original floor levels, implements and installations.
Given the antiquity of Temple R and its significance for the
development of early Greek monumental architecture, our
excavations next season could lead to major discoveries.
Clemente Marconi
James R. McCredie Professor in the History of Greek Art
and Archaeolgy Director of Excavations at Selinunte
Graduate students
Kirsten Lee, Allyson McDavid,
Sonia Rohter and
Lillian Stoner with
Clemente Marconi
overlooking an
excavation trench during
the 2010 season.
We would like to thank our many donors and collaborators for their tremendous support and generous
contributions to the project over the past year. Their continuing support is critical to the success of our work.
In cooperation with:
Soprintendenza BB.CC.AA. of Trapani
Archaeological Park of Selinunte
1984 Foundation
Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation
Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Si & Victoria Newhouse
Support Selinunte
We invite you to play a role in securing the future success of the excavations at Selinunte.
By making a tax-deductible donation, you will enable the further excavation, conservation, and
research of one of the most important archaeological sites of the Greek period in Italy. You may
make a gift to the address listed to the right, or online via www.ifa.nyu.edu. Please contact the
IFA Development office with questions related to making a gift (212-992-5812).
To contact:
Excavations at Selinunte
c/o Professor Clemente Marconi
Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
1 East 78th Street
New York, NY 10075
tel: 212-992-5800
Fly UP