Laino Borgo, a large pool of bricks emerges from the Santa Gada site

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By John

From the Santa Gada site also emerges a large pool of bricks and a large production sector with kilns and pithoi. The fourth archaeological excavation campaign, a Laino Borgo, once again proved to be rich in discoveries for the Department of Ancient and Modern Civilizations of the University of Messina, under the direction of Professor Fabrizio Mollo. After the investigations of 2019, 2021 and 2022, in fact, extraordinary new data arrived in this year’s campaign: a further production sector was identified, with a large settling tank, with adjoining communicating structures for water supply and the presence of a draining brick flooring. Above all, a place of worship dating back to the late 5th and early 3rd century has been identified. BC, dedicated to a female divinity, with rites of passage and elements connected to fertility. The votives, coroplastic and ceramic, document an extraordinary cross-section of the cults of a community that occupied the plains of S. Gada between the end of the 6th century and the Hellenistic age. «The area – explained Professor Mollo – increasingly takes on the features of a Lucanian urban centre, structured between the mid-4th and second half of the 3rd century. BC according to the scheme of the large Italic courtyard cases (Laos, Tricarico). The excavation, carried out under ministerial concession (decree 230/2022), thanks to the collaboration of Sabap Cosenza, in the person of Dr. Mariangela Barbato and the Superintendent, Dr. Paola Aurino, concerns the southernmost part of the large Santa Gada plateau. Its size (almost 50 ha) and the presence of materials and structures in all the plateaus make it the most important residential settlement in the Lao-Mercure valley.” The stratigraphies also reveal the presence of material from the archaic period (6th-5th century BC), referable to settlement forms yet to be defined in detail. Around the site, in the months of June 2022 and 2023, a sector of the necropolis from the Hellenistic era was investigated for the first time, with around ten coffin and cappuccine tombs and rich and detailed funerary objects. The research represents a splendid example of collaboration between institutions. In fact, supporting the activities is the municipality of Laino Borgo, led by the mayor Mariangelina Russo, who together with the entire municipal administration and the population offer support, logistics and hospitality to the mission of researchers from the University of Messina, again this year very nourished (about 20 researchers). The works were carried out thanks to the financial support of the Pollino National Park and the RUP Luigi Bloise. Also supporting the mission are restorer Dr. Flavia Gazineo and Dr. Donatella Novellis, archaeobotanist. The real protagonists of the mission are the kids. The research is defining a large and complex archaeological reality in Santa Gada, now very important not only for the Lao-Mercure valley, but for the whole of Calabria. For the mayor of Laino Borgo – who thanks Professor Mollo and his team of young people – now it is time to «give dignity to this exploratory field which proves to be increasingly important year after year for the quality and quantity of discoveries at a national level but also international in the archaeological world. We have, now more than ever – added the mayor Mariangelina Russo – the need for funds to ensure that all the work carried out by Professor Mollo and his boys is rewarded, rediscovering and bringing to light what was hidden, therefore I appeal to the Calabria Region that as soon as possible finance our archaeological park with the related museum for which we already have an executive project and that soon we will be decreed the due importance to give the right importance to a site that not only gratifies my Community, but the entire Calabria”.