A rescue excavation undertaken during the re-paving of Piazza Celestino V, in the historic centre of Isernia, revealed a substantial section of the fortified walls of the Hellenistic colony of Aesernia. The walls, despite being disturbed by various modern infrastructures, are preserved across the entire width of the piazza, ending at the eastern limit of the excavation, where it is likely that a gate once stood. At this point the area is crossed by numerous medieval channels and a drain, contemporary with the walls, made up of cylindrical, terracotta pipes.
The structure is built of large, well joined blocks of which two courses are preserved. It has a projecting foundation of ashlar blocks with a rougher finish. The wall was certainly higher, as shown by the housings cut into the upper surface of the blocks, where the next row would have been positioned. The blocks are of irregular shape and abut other blocks and stone fragments, thus forming a retaining wall for the earthwork/rampart behind them.
The original construction, contemporary with the colony, can be dated to the mid 3rd century B.C. Towards its mid-section, the wall is abutted at right angles by other structures in stone and mortar conglomerate. These were part of a tower, of at least late-antique date, in part cut by a modern drain. In the eastern area of the excavation there is evidence for its use as a cemetery, probably in the medieval period. (Cristiana Terzani)
- Cristiana Terzani - Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Molise
- Comune di Isernia
- Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Molise
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