search
Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Beyond Sicily's Temples

The Greek and Roman city of Agrigento on Sicily's southern coast is best known for its spectacular temples to a vast array of gods and demigods. But since the 1950s, excavators have also worked to uncover a densely populated residential section inhabited from the third century B.C. to through the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., a timespan covering the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. This region was divided into three neighborhoods, called insulas, and contains at least 30 houses. In 2014, a team of archaeologists led by Maria Concetta Parello began a large project in Agrigento during which she uncovered not only the site’s ancient theater, but also a new insula as well.

  • A view of the newly discovered Insula IV of the Hellenistic-Roman quarter of Agrigento. At the center of the insula excavators have uncovered a fourth-century A.D. bath complex.
  • In addition to the architectural remains, the new excavations in the residential quarter have also uncovered personal items such as this carved carnelian gemstone depicting a winged figure.
  • A terracotta decoration from Insula IV depicts a battle featuring centaurs, the half-man, half-horse mythological figures of Greco-Roman mythology.
  •  Excavators found a sixth-century A.D. skeleton in one of the bath complexes’ pools, evidence of the site’s continued occupation after the Roman period and reuse of its major structures.

Advertisement

Advertisement