Project leader: Daniele Malfitana (CNR-IBAM)
Participating bodies: Polo Regionale di Catania per i Siti Culturali, IBAM – CNR
Site location: Acireale, Aci Catena, Aci Castello, Aci Sant’Antonio, Valverde, Aci Bonaccorsi (CT)
Date of activity: 2014-2019
The area of the Park preserves a unique heritage through which it is possible to know and enjoy the complexity of the historical and natural landscape of the Etna area. Within it, the site of Santa Venera al Pozzo represents an archaeological, monumental and environmental complex of extraordinary importance. The archaeological site is immersed in an evocative landscape shaped over the centuries by the ceaseless work of nature and man. In the approximately nine hectares of state-owned property, there is a thermal spring, the remains of a Roman bath, the ruins of a Roman temple, a Hellenistic settlement and a late-antique artisanal area for the production of bricks and ceramics. In addition, in the heart of the archaeological area there is a small church dedicated to the cult of Santa Venera and there is also a nineteenth century canalization of irrigated water. Finally, thanks to the restoration of a nineteenth-century building, the modern Antiquarium was created that retains artefacts from excavations carried out in the archaeological area.
The aim of the IBAM-CNR surveys is to carry out a comprehensive and accurate archaeological survey aimed at identifying new archaeological evidence that allows to articulate a diachronic reconstruction of the evolution of the Park territory. In addition to this, the project intends to provide valuable safeguards and enhance the system of enhancement and enjoyment of the Park through increased information on the archaeological, cultural and natural sites of the area.
The methodologies and tools used to capture and process data include, in addition to classical archaeological methods (source analysis and archive research, reconnaissance and archaeological excavation, topography), technologies such as 3D laser scanners, geophysic methods, archeometric analysis, remote sensing systems, the use of GIS and Web-GIS platforms. The integrated use of these methodologies will allow the acquisition of new data both on the entire park area and on individual sites and will allow better analysis of the available documentation.
In 2017, the first archaeological excavation campaign began, which allowed to extend the current knowledge of the site in relation to the Hellenistic and late-Roman phases.
Site typology and date: evidences of middle Eneolithic age(second half of III millennium BC); building of greek period dated to IV century BC; Roman baths and temple dated between I and IV century AD; big structure of Hellenistic period; industrial kilns complex of IV century AD; remains of medieval hospital of XIII century; irrigation channels of XIX century.
Student participants: Yes. The activities are opened to students and scholars of the Bachelor and Master Degree Program in Archaeology, Graduate School in Archaeology and Ph.D courses of italian and foreign Universities.