Since 2003 an archaeological investigation has been underway in the mining castle of Cugnano, coordinated by the University of Siena in collaboration with the University of Pais Vasco. This project is part of University of Siena’s long running study of settlement dynamics in the territory of the Colline Metallifere which includes survey, excavation of fortified settlements and the mapping
of mining areas.
Today the castle of Cugnano stands within a recently planted holm-oak wood, on a low hill (446 m a.s.l.) adjacent to the Poggio Trifonti, between the towns of Massa Marittima and Monterotondo Marittimo. The area is now forested.
The castle had a more or less round plan and was surrounded by walls standing at the edge of the terrain’s natural slope. The castle was entered through an opening on the south-western side, where, on visible stretches of wall there were clear traces of a jamb. The space inside the walls, equal to an area of 5675 m2, was divided between the borgo, the most external and lower part, and the aristocratic part on the summit in a centralised position with respect to the walls.
On the lower part of the castle a first surface survey and the first excavated trenches identified two areas which had different functions.
The buildings inside the walls were clearly set out in a radial pattern. This was probably partly due to the castle’s conformation but also represents a clear indication of aristocratic urban planning.
The aristocratic area was also circular in plan. Inside were two large palaces and a quadrangular tower.
Seven years of excavations were concentrated both on the summit, where the two palaces and part of the tower were excavated, and in the borgo, where the workshop areas on the north slope, houses and other workshops on the southern side were excavated.
The results of these campaigns produced a large amount of data that was useful not only for the definition of the site’s development, but also made a contribution to research on mining castles in the entire territory.
- Jacopo Bruttini - Università degli Studi di Siena
- Giovanna Bianchi - Università degli Studi di Siena, Dipartimento di Archeologia e Storia dell’arte
- Juan Antonio Quiros Castillo - Universidad Pàis Vasco
- Giuseppe Fichera - Università degli Studi di Siena
- Francesca Grassi - Università degli Studi di Siena
- Universidad del País Vasco (dir. J. Núñez)
- Università degli Studi di Siena
- Comunità Montana Colline Metallifere
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