Castellazzo of Marianopoli (Myttistraton)

Castellazzo of Marianopoli (Myttistraton)

Hellenized indigenous center with evidence from proto-history to the third century. to. C. Testimonies of the Aeneolithic. (Text source: Guidelines of the regional landscape plan)

Monte Castellazzo was the subject of preliminary archaeological surveys by D. Adamesteanu and P. Orlandini between 1950 and 1960. In the decade between 1977-78 and 1986 repeated excavation campaigns directed by G. Fiorentini brought to light vestiges of part of the archaic and Hellenistic city, the rich necropolis of the fourth century. BC, but also the signs of the prehistoric presence of the site, which certainly must have started with the Neolithic age. Neolithic: On the plateau to the south-west of the city (terrace III), protected behind by the mountain and made naturally inaccessible by the southern cliff, a first settlement must have been based, which the type of fragments found assigns to the late Neolithic (XNUMXth millennium BC) . The relative archaeological evidence refers entirely to the cultural horizon of Stentinello and even more to its variant, characterized by the extreme simplicity of the decorative motifs engraved or imprinted on the clay and for which the denomination “Kronio style” has recently prevailed. Copper Age / Bronze Age: The frequentation of the plateau intensifies during the Copper Age (III millennium BC), to which substantial evidence refers to a strip of necropolis extended on the site of the previous Neolithic settlement, and pertinent ceramic fragments to the town coeval with the necropolis, located just south-east of the funerary area. The cultural horizons of San Cono - Piano Notaro are attested
(early Eeneolithic) and the late horizons of Malpasso-Piano Quartara and up to those of the ancient Bronze Age of Castelluccio and Rodi - Tindari - Vallelunga, confirming that the settlement was frequented for at least millennia, certainly in use until the beginning of the II millennium BC and the early Bronze Age. The typology of burials and funerary rites attested in the Eeneolithic necropolis is diversified, such as the deposition in a crouched position in an earthen pit, a well burial preceded by dromos and above all the oldest Sicilian documentation of the rite nell'enchytrismòs (burial inside a large ceramic container). Traces of life in the pre - protohistoric age are however attested in all the explored sectors of the inhabited area of ​​Monte Castellazzo, and therefore also in the two upper terraces with respect to the plateau above. Some
fragments of plumed pottery and engraved decoration in the S. Angelo Muxaro-Polizzello style seem to extend the terms of the frequentation up to the Iron Age (VIII-VII century BC).

Greek age:
The indigenous settlement is inserted in the system of gravitating reliefs in the natural area defined by the high valley of the Imera-Salso, the Barbarigo - Belici stream and the Salito river. Archaeological evidence confirms its phase of greatest prosperity between the XNUMXth and XNUMXrd centuries. BC, in correspondence with the gradual evolution of the economic and social organization of the indigenous world which, from the end of the XNUMXth century, as can be seen from the shrinking of the population in the area, had a profound impact on the spatial distribution of the settlements. From the widespread population of the archaic-classical age, with scattered and undifferentiated residential nuclei, we move towards forms of greater centralization: there is a renewal of the settlement system of the upper and middle terraces compared to the irregular one of the archaicoclassical age. It is directed towards an urban type organization, with the definition of a regular road system (orthogonal intersection of road axes NS and minor axes EO) in relation to which the housing structures are articulated. The structuring of the settlement space, in addition to presupposing a well-articulated community within it with noble groups promoting urban reorganization initiatives, provided for the existence of a vast residential and functional area, of which the surface was extended and articulated beyond the limits of the boundary wall of the sixth century. BC The so-called building III with public function is distinguished: i
votive materials and fragments of pithoi would reveal a dual use of the structure, a place for the celebration of noble or religious cults and at the same time storage of community food, in connection
with the complex activities representative of the political - economic and religious power of the emerging families, which buildings of this kind were destined for. The nearby complex-plan housing structure (house A) may have been used as the residence of ruling elites. The dating of the coins found in the abandoned layers of the settlement and the global chronological picture of the ceramic material indicate that already at the beginning of the third century BC the center was beginning to depopulate.
The necropolis of the Greek period occupied the walls of the rocky crags that surround the mountain and the slopes below: a limited sector of the terrace south-west of the Greek city was occupied in the fourth century. BC from a group of four tombs probably intended for a single family group. These are box tombs, whose grave goods reveal a certain homogeneity, given the presence of decorated vases in the style of Gnathia (335-310 BC), together with Sicilian red-figure ceramics. Since the four grave goods are attributable to an identical period, it is assumed that the buried (a mother and her three children) died at the same time and that the singular tragic fate that united the members of the family had determined the location of the funerary nucleus in a section isolated from the remaining funerary area and the deposition of rich grave goods, homogeneous in terms of typology and forms. The dating to 330-310 BC of the group of tombs seems to be confirmed by the discovery, among the accompanying materials, of a coin with the head of Athena helmeted and hippocampus from the Dionysian age still circulating at a later age.

Prehistory (Neolithic, Eneolithic, Ancient Bronze Age), Protohistory (sporadic attendance), Greek age, Late Imperial age (sporadic attendance). 

Text source: Archaeological report 380KV double three-phase power line - Chiaramonte Gulfi - Ciminna (

other documents:

Bibliography and further in-depth documents:

100) FIRST SICILY - AT THE ORIGINS OF SICILIAN SOCIETY - volume first edited by Sebastiano Tusa Palermo 1997.

Ignazio Caloggero: Sicily between History, Myths and Legends. Vol. 1: From Prehistory to the Phoenicians. First edition 2018 - Revised and updated edition of 2022

Ignazio Caloggero:

History of Sicily - 1.3.1: Neolithic and the birth of agriculture in Sicily

History of Sicily - 1.3.2: Religiosity and Burials in the Neolithic Period

History of Sicily - 1.3.3: Art in the Neolithic

History of Sicily - 1.3.4: Neolithic Sites List

History of Sicily - 1.4.1: The development of metallurgy

History of Sicily - 1.4.2: Social and cultural development

History of Sicily - 1.4.3: Burials during the Metal Age

History of Sicily - 1.4.4:  Religious sentiments during the metal age

History of Sicily - 1.4.5:  Art during the metal age
History of Sicily - 1.4.6:  List of sites of the Eneolithic period
History of Sicily - 1.4.7:  List of Bronze Age sites

PRESS: Well cataloged but partially geolocated. We invite you to provide your contribution by providing us with useful information that will allow us to geolocate the listed asset. See also "Cultural Heritage to be Geolocated"

In-depth document: Himera Greek City, guide to the history and monuments of Stefano Vassallo, Superintendence of Cultural and Environmental Heritage, Archaeological Heritage Service_ Palermo 2005: Download file: Himera_Greek_City_2005

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero


Information contributions: Archaeological report 380KV double three-phase power line - Chiaramonte Gulfi - Ciminna / Ignazio Caloggero / Web

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