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  • Vagnari
  • Gravina in Puglia
  • Italy
  • Apulia
  • Bari
  • Gravina in Puglia



  • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

    MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

    ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

    AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

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Summary (English)

  • VAGNARIVicus

    The University of Sheffield began a new fieldwork project in the vicus at Vagnari in July 2012 under the direction of Maureen Carroll. The excavation concentrated on a stone-built structure revealed by resistivity survey on the northern edge of the vicus. This large building appeared on the resistivity plan to have a long range of cell-like rooms of uniform size on its northern side, however the excavation revealed that, in reality, this wing consisted of rooms and corridors of varying sizes. Some of the ‘walls’ in the older survey proved to be well-preserved drains that clearly carried considerable quantities of waste and/or water from an unknown structure up-slope whose character and function remain to be clarified. The pottery and coins suggest that the structure was built in the 1st or 2nd century AD and remained in use until it was dismantled or abandoned in the latter part of the fourth century.

    The excavation shed important new light on the economy of the estate. Substantial evidence was retrieved for metal working with lead, iron and bronze and for glass production. The lead objects, especially, consisted of roughly torn and cut pieces taken from other things such as pipes, vessels and tools, suggesting that they were being re-cycled, processed and re-worked. An additional find of some significance was a small hearth containing a large quantity of charred plant material. The composition of this material suggests that macaroni wheat was grown here on the estate as a cereal crop.

    Fieldwork in 2013 will focus on the exploration of the new evidence for industrial activity and domestic habitation, including the excavation of a possible kiln. The connection between industrial production and domestic habitation is of significant interest and importance in understanding the socio-economic complexities of living and working on this imperial estate.

    VAGNARI – Cemetery

    The cemetery is located on the South side of the site, across a small ravine from the settlement area where the University of Sheffield team was excavating. Excavations of the cemetery continued in 2012 under the direction of Tracy Prowse (McMaster University). Two trenches previously exposed in 2011 (59 and 69) were reopened to excavate 6 remaining burials, and a third new trench (79) was opened immediately to the West of Trench 69. The number and density of burials was lower in Trench 79, possibly indicating the western limit of the cemetery. A total of 10 tombs were excavated in the three trenches this year, bringing the total number of burials excavated to-date in the Vagnari cemetery to 98.

    Seven of the tombs excavated this year were ‘a cappuccina’, consisting of the deceased buried in a shallow grave and covered by a series of tegulae in an inverted ‘V’ shape. Two tile burials contained the remains of infants, and the final burial was a simple pit without any burial covering. The grave goods recovered from the burials are similar to those found in previous years, consisting mainly of ceramic vessels (sometimes broken), iron nails, small glass vessels, and objects of personal adornment. Some of the ceramic vessels appear to have been intentionally broken prior to deposition, while others were found intact. Only one of the burials excavated in 2012 contained a bronze coin. This burial, F294, is noteworthy for the relatively large number of grave goods found with the skeleton, including: the previously mentioned bronze coin, a stamped oil lamp (“AVFRRON”), two glass vessels, two ceramic vessels, and hobnails deposited around the feet indicating that the deceased was buried with footwear. The lamp dates to the 2nd century AD, which is consistent with the dates for the majority of tombs excavated in the cemetery. A smaller number of burials in the cemetery date to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. Ongoing bioarchaeological analysis of the skeletal material recovered from the cemetery is investigating diet, health, and disease in this rural Roman skeletal sample.

  • Maureen Carroll - University of Sheffield 
  • Tracy Prowse - McMaster University 



  • Ellen Simmons
  • David Griffiths
  • Jonathan Boffey
  • Lena Zepf
  • Liana Brent - .
  • Matthew Emery - .
  • Robert Stark

Research Body

  • Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, Canada
  • Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • The British School at Rome

Funding Body

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
  • The British Academy


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