ENNA

Morgantina

Morgantina was an important centre founded at the heart of an easily defensible lowland, on the road connecting the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean coasts.

The archaeological site was recently rediscovered.

Because of its abandonment in the first century A.D., the area had already become agricultural land for some time when Paolo Orsi, archaeologist of the Superintendence of Syracuse.

He made the first excavations here in 1912.

In 1955 it was the archaeological mission of the University of Princeton that brought to light part of the agorà, the area called the Citadel and the residential quarters.

The site

This place is unique among archaeological sites as it contains the remains of the city from its foundation in prehistoric times to its greatest splendor in the third century B.C. until its abandonment in the imperial era.

In the park there are two archaeological sites, one corresponding to the oldest and the Hellenistic settlement and a second of Roman times.

The first settlement, called the “Cittadella“, is dated Bronze Age and survived about 500 years.

In the fifth century B.C., as evidenced by excavations on the plateau of Sella Orlando, the center was rebuilt and reached its peak in Hellenistic times (IV – III century B.C.).

From this phase of development belong the ruins of public buildings still visible today such as the bouleuterion, the theater and the ekklesiasterion and the area of the acropolis.

In addition, there are numerous sanctuaries dedicated to the Chthonian deities, evidence of Greek culture.

The area of the Roman ruins indicates how little commercial importance the site had in the imperial era.

From an archaeological point of view, this resulted in the abandonment or ruin of various buildings and the surrounding walls and in the raising of the floor level in the area of the agorà.

To this urban phase correspond the ruins of the macellum, a set of shops of Roman age, and a paved road which leads to the hill that housed the residential area dated III century B.C.

Areas such as the house of the Doric Capital or the house of Ganymede still have traces of wall decorations and mosaic floors.

To the west, in the lower agora, there was a theatre.

The decay

The decay of the site began under Octavian, winner of the Roman civil wars of the 30s of the first century B.C. against Sesto Pompeo, supported by the inhabitants of Morgantina.

The urban centre did not recover from this important downsizing and was definitively abandoned in the first century A. C.