Mozia was founded by Phoenicians in the extreme western side of Sicily, in the centre of Stagnone‘s lagoon.
The name has been interpreted to mean of “port, or landing place”. Today the island is owned by the Whitaker Foundation.
This site contains all the main elements of the Phoenician appropriations, in particular the proximity of the coast and its shallow seabed.
These guaranteed a good defense from the enemy but also a safe harbor for ships.
Mozia was founded at the end of the 8th century B. C. and quickly became one of the most flourishing Phoenician colonies in the Mediterranean, thanks to its strategic position on the trade routes passing through Africa, Spain, Sardinia and central Italy.
Mozia was destroyed by Dionysius I of Syracuse in 397 B.C. and most of its inhabitants moved to the mainland, founding Lillibeo, today Marsala.
The most significant archaeological finds of the Mozia excavations can be found in the local Archaeological Museum, founded by the English Giuseppe Whitacker.
He bought the island at the beginning of the 900s and carried out the first excavations. The most famous exhibit is probably the statue of Giovane di Mozia.
The young man is depicted in a life-size, standing upright position with the right knee bent to support the weight of the body while the remaining part of left hand rests on the flank.
The statue, found in an industrial area of the island under a heap of debris accumulated to form perhaps a barrier to the Syracuse siege on 397 B.C., is Greek and can be dated back to around the fifth century B.C..
Taking the Museum as a point of reference and continuing in a clockwise direction, we come across the Phoenician inhabited area, in particular the Casa dei Mosaici, whose floor is decorated with white and black pebbles, depicting fighting animals.
Towards the coast we will find the ruins of fortifications, which have been restored over the centuries.
Then you will arrive at the Kothon, a large water basin nearby to Porta Sud.
Once again, archaeologists have questioned the use of the basin and are divided between those who believed it to be a dry dock for ships and those who, following the discovery of an imposing sacred area nearby, saw a cultic pool.
Returning towards the Museum, a road leads to the Tofet. This is a fenced area used as a sanctuary where the remains of human and animal sacrifices were deposited in vases.
The production area of the island, dedicated to handicraft activities, was characterized by the presence of furnaces for the production of ceramics and circular pits dug in the rock of the island and intended for the tanning and dyeing of fabrics.
The last area of Mozia is the Sanctuary of Cappiddazzu, a sacred area of uncertain dating.