Archaeological Area Roman Houses Marettimo

Archaeological Area Roman Houses Marettimo

Fulvio Spada - CC2.0


 Cda Pelosa - Marettimo (TP)

The monumental complex known as Roman Houses is built in opus quasi reticulatum. It also has structures from the 4th century AD, which can be traced back to an ancient water cult.
In the same area there is a rural church from the Norman era built by the Greek-speaking Basilian monks.
The church is oriented to the east, has three naves divided by pillars with an inscribed apse and no narthex (a typical structure of Christianity, it is a space located between the naves and the main facade of the church, and has the function of a short atrium as wide as the church itself). The insertion of an immersion baptismal font into the room south of the apse, close to the southern wall, certainly dates back to the second phase of this building. It is perfectly oriented to the east; in the basin, inside, a circle is inscribed, while the bottom is rectangular; the internal surfaces are entirely covered with plaster with traces of decoration painted in imitation of marble. At the bottom, paved with a Proconnesian marble slab at the corner, there is a small hole for the outflow of water; its position within the environment and its orientation to the east, however, suggest a functional use to the baptismal rite. The church building was not isolated, but was incorporated into a complex of structures whose function and dimensions are not yet clear.
Recent stone clearing works in the area have highlighted the presence of five boulders placed vertically and symmetrically with respect to a central boulder of greater height. The boulders, aligned between the Basilian church and the Roman remains, have given rise to fascinating hypotheses: the perfect alignment between the central boulder and a horizontal boulder placed upstream of the alignment itself, with the rising of the sun at the spring and autumn equinoxes, leads to think of alignments of Neolithic origin, visible for example in the islands of Sardinia and Malta.

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