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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).

  • AIAC_logo logo

Summary (English)

  • Excavations begun in 2012 in the vicus at Vagnari continued in the summer of 2013. Work concentrated on a stone-built structure (North Building) on the northern edge of the settlement, a tile-roofed building almost 30 m long consisting of a series of rooms and corridors with plastered and painted walls of daub and with floors of beaten earth or mortar. The pottery and coins suggest that this building was in use from the late 1st to the mid-4th c. A.D., although residual pottery and coins of the 3rd to 1st c. B.C. suggest that the imperial vicus was not the first settlement on the site.

    The excavation shed important new light on the economy of the estate. Substantial evidence has been retrieved for metal working with lead, iron, and bronze and for tile production. Additional significant finds are charred plant material from several contexts inside and outside the building that points to the cultivation of free-threshing bread wheat and durham wheat as cereal crops on the estate.

    The North Building may have had multiple functions and served as dwellings for slave and/or free labour, as well as for the storage of goods and for activities associated with manufacturing and processing. Fieldwork in 2015 will focus on the remains of industrial activity and domestic habitation in this structure and an adjacent southern building at the summit of the hill. 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 an imperial estate.

    Excavations in the Vagnari cemetery have been underway since 2002 and continued in the summer of 2013. A 5m (East-West) x 16m (North-South) trench (89) was opened to the East of trenches excavated during previous field seasons. Another trench (59), originally excavated in 2009, was reopened to complete the excavation of three tombs. A total of 10 tombs were excavated in 2013, consisting of 9 inhumations and one cremation burial. Three additional tombs were identified along the eastern baulk of Trench 89, but were not excavated due to time constraints.

    All but one of the graves contained modest grave goods, similar in quality and quantity to items recovered in previous years, with the notable exception of a large number of grave goods found in the cremation burial. Cremation burials are relatively infrequent in this cemetery, with only 3 uncovered to-date out of a total of 108 excavated burials. All 3 cremations date to the same time period as inhumation burials in the cemetery (2nd century AD), but the greater number and grander quality of grave goods found in these cremations suggests that wealthier individuals at Vagnari may have opted for the practice of cremation. Preliminary osteological analysis indicates that 5 adults, 3 children, and 2 infants (i.e., less than 1 year) were buried in this part of the cemetery. Ongoing bioarchaeological research at this site is investigating geographic origins, diet, and health of the people living in this rural Roman settlement.

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


  • Maureen Carroll - University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Tracy Prowse – McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


  • Angela Trentacoste- University of Sheffield
  • Matthew Stirn- University of Sheffield
  • Caroline Jackson-University of Sheffield
  • David Griffiths- University of Leicester
  • Jonathan Boffey- University of Sheffield
  • Jonathan Moulton- University of Sheffield
  • Liana Brent- McMaster University
  • Marissa Ledger- McMaster University

Research Body

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

Funding Body

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


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