Byzantine village in Calascibetta



The Byzantine village Canalotto in Calascibetta, located between the Vallone Canalotto and the Bosco di Casa del Mastro, is a rock settlement that is an important testimony of the Byzantine domination first, and then of the Arabs in the Sicilian territory.
The oldest traces of attendance found to date , are referable to the late Copper Age, and are testified by the presence of two cluster tombs, communicating rooms obtained by exploiting the depth of the rocky walls.
To the Greek-archaic period , between the eighth and sixth centuries. a.C., some chamber tombs covered by a flat or slightly curved roof date back. Only one tomb dating back to this period, certainly belonging to a person of higher rank, has a roof with a sloping roof.
Several arcosolium tombs date back to the Roman age and Late Antiquity.
During the Byzantine domination of Sicily, from the 6th to the 9th century, the caves, which in the past had been used as burials, were used for functional, residential or liturgical purposes. An example of this is one of the two millstones present in the settlement, created inside what was once a funerary hypogeum.
Of particular interest is one of the two oratories present in the area where there are numerous elements referable to different historical periods: the entrance is a tomb dating back to the Iron Age, the sloping roof dates back to the Greek-archaic era; the arcosolia and a small tomb dating back to the Roman and late Roman times; more recent elements such as rings carved into the rock to tie the animals. There are also symbols carved into the rock, which testify to the transformation of this place from a funerary hypogeum to a place of worship: two trefoil crosses, a Christogram and a five-pointed star.
Of particular interest is a system of three underground galleries for the collection and channeling of water, identified as a qanat of Islamic manufacture.
The route inside the Byzantine village is articulated as follows: a wide path, which starts from the access gate to the village and relative parking lot, leads to the first cave with an arched entrance and leads into a complex excavated environment which housed one of the two millstones of the village. Continuing you go down to a terrace which houses some large excavated rooms on the wall, preceded by cisterns and basins. The first room with a dug gabled ceiling, the second more regular and geometric. A rocky staircase goes up to a room above, on the walls of which the niches of a columbarium are carved. Continue crossing the terrace that overlooks the valley and overlooks the rock settlement. A steep downhill path reaches the Qanàt. Nearby is the second open-air millstone.

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