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HYBRID - The late Roman estate of Philippianus: recent excavations at Gerace near Enna (Sicily)

November 22, 2022 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST

AIA Society: Vancouver

Gerace is a Roman estate centre in the heart of Sicily which the speaker has been excavating since 2013. A substantial estate granary, built c. 300 CE but violently destroyed, probably by earthquake, was succeeded by a compact Roman villa in the late fourth century, which had been equipped with some mosaic pavements but appears unfinished. Ubiquitous tile-stamps recording the name of Philippianus indicate the identity of the estate owner at that time. Further up the hill a substantial freestanding bath-house, built perhaps c. 380 CE, was decorated with polychrome marble on the walls and geometric mosaics on the floors; but this structure was systematically stripped of its building materials (and the floors smashed) when the baths were decommissioned in the fifth century – an interesting example of Roman recycling. The one room with an intact floor was the cold room, which had a unique mosaic design, and an inscription around all four sides, uniquely so in the Roman Empire. Among other things it gives us the property’s name – the praedia Philippianorum, ‘the estate of the Philippiani’. The bath-house was badly damaged in a further earthquake in the second half of the fifth century, and after a brief attempt to repair it the building was abandoned and filled in; the backfill contained many interesting finds, including a series of chamber pots. The number of horse bones found at the site is greater than at any Roman site in the Mediterranean: so could there have been a stud farm at Gerace, raising ponies for the circuses of the Roman world?

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November 22, 2022
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST
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Megan Daniels


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