Acropolis of Pantelleria
The Acropolis of San Marco and Santa Teresa in Pantelleria is an archaeological site that contains the remains of the acropolis of the city of Cossyra , the ancient Roman name of Pantelleria.
The archaeological site is spread over the two hills of San Marco and Santa Teresa and along the flat saddle that separates them and presents urbanistically relevant elements of Punic and Roman times .
Inside the site the excavations they brought to light part of the Punic period walls and a terracing system with an important defensive function. On the top of the hill of San Marco there is a complex system of cisterns, communicating with each other, with an elongated and irregular profile, dug into the rocky bank even at a considerable depth. The main political, public and sacred functions of the Punic and Roman settlement were to be concentrated on the two heights of San Marco and Santa Teresa.
On the slopes of the hill stood monumental structures and certainly a temple from the 2nd century BC. of which some architectural elements such as Corinthian-Italic capitals and sculptures in local stuccoed stone have been recovered inside the cisterns.
From the imperial age, numerous fragments of marble inlays and marble sculptures have been brought to light, as well as the three famous portraits of Caesar, Antonia Minor and Titus , what are called The Heads of Pantelleria . These are three marble heads of exceptional workmanship and excellent conservation, today kept in the castle of Pantelleria. The heads of Julius Caesar and of Antonia Minor, wife of Drusus, brother of Tiberius, and mother of the emperor Claudius, lay in the same cistern under a thick layer of ash with evident traces of a sacrificial stake of animal bones together with a significant presence of ceramic. This has led to the belief that the two heads were laid down following a religious ceremony. The reason for the deposition is not known, but it is believed that these were removed from the public building in which they were located to make room for the characters of the new dynasty: the Flavians. The third head, that of the emperor Titus, son of Vespasian of the Flavian family, was found in a second cistern, where it was probably hidden during the invasion of the Vandals which, around the sixth century AD, caused its definitive abandonment. of the acropolis of Cossyra.
On the western slope of the hill, the road axis that descends towards the lower city and a stairway that allows you to reach the ramp through a monumental gate, Punic testimony of a complex system of fortifications with towers, from the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. The construction of the imposing wall of square blocks dates back to the same period.
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