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Sanctuary of Apollo

APP’s Excavations and Research, Sanctuary of Apollo

Carlo Rescigno (University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’)

APP Contact Person Giuseppe Scarpati

The latest research carried out investigated the earliest periods of occupation of the area and collected data about the location of the monuments before the construction of the late Hellenistic temple.

A strong stratification of volcanic deposits has emerged through the collection of samplings taken from deeply dug trenches. This stratification was created by a series of volcanic activities spanning between the disastrous Avellino pumice eruption and the previous periods in history. The complex stratification sequences also include human activities, as attested by a small yet significant amount of fragments found among the fill layers. This proves that the area of the sanctuary was inhabited from the earliest phases in Pompeii's history and maybe long before, as confirmed by the discovery, during Maiuri’s excavations, of an Iron Age spiral arc fibula and of some new fragments found among the fill layers of the east portico.

Particularly interesting for the earliest phases in Pompeii’s history and for the urban planning of the area next to the Forum is the discovery of a street remodelled many times, buried under the pavement of the west portico of the sanctuary, consisting in a series of road surfaces and a fragment of the east headwall. The earliest levels seem to date back only to the more ‘hellenized’ recent past, showing a lack of road maintenance and a stop in the street's slow development, spanning over the decades between the second quarter of 5 th and the mid-6 th century B.C.

The street and the architectural materials belonging to later fill levels allow reconstruction of an archaic-era sanctuary dominated by a temple decorated by workers from Cuma. The building was monumental and made of tuff, wood and terracotta, unfortunately known only through disiecta membra. The temple was oriented to the east and placed at the centre of a courtyard, maybe in the same position of the late temple, bordered west by the new street. It was probably in the same area now occupied by the city square, but no traces of the archaic boundary between the two complexes have emerged yet, due to important works relating to the redefinition of the monuments.

A large foundation trench, built to the detriment of earlier remains, was the preliminary work to the
construction of a perimeter wall in the 3 rd century B.C. The wall was built together with, and later replaced by, a group of tabernae (late 3 rd - early 2 nd century B.C.) facing onto the Forum. In fact the Forum back wall emerged in various places during the latest excavations and constituted the boundary between the sanctuary and the public square.