In the amphitheatre between Villa Virgiliana, below which stood a Roman tempietto, and the area where the amphitheatre abuts the hill, a first trench revealed three main occupation phases. Evidence for the earliest (Greek or Samnite period), was constituted by a course of parallelepiped yellow tufa blocks, built up against the layers of natural pozzolana, which perhaps functioned as terracing on the hill. It may have been the enclosure of the sanctuary which preceded the tempietto. A number of fragments from painted terracotta architectural decorations (dripstone from a cyma with a ram’s head dating to the mid 6th century B.C.) probably belonged to the sanctuary.
In the Republican period a structure was built that was probably part of the Roman tetrastyle temple, with its entrance facing the amphitheatre. In phase three, contemporary with the use of the amphitheatre, the area was used as a necropolis, with tombs of the 1st and 2nd century A.D.
Excavation of the southern entrance to the amphitheatre, formed by a barrel vaulted rectilinear corridor, revealed a somewhat unsophisticated construction technique (end of the 2nd-beginning of the 1st century B.C.), the bedrock on which the foundations were to rest had not been levelled. The original pavement was constituted by a beaten and pressed earth surface.
As well as the phases of the Augustan period and the beginning of the 2nd century A.D., the new excavation revealed that a substantial restructuring of the whole complex occurred after the last decades of the 2nd century A.D., perhaps necessitated by land slippage. For the moment the chronology is provided by a coin of Crispina Augusta (180-182 A.D.), found below the floor surface. Lastly, a trench uncovered part of the cavea, where only the masonry skeleton of the seats was preserved, not the marble cladding. The seating was interrupted by stairs which provided spectator access to the various sectors.
- Stefano De Caro - Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici delle province di Napoli e Caserta
- Paolo Caputo - Soprintendenza dei Beni Archeologici delle province di Napoli e Caserta
- Cristina Regis - Soc. Cooperativa Archeologica
- E. Chiosi
- Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici delle Province di Napoli e Caserta
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