The excavations in 2017 has been possible thanks to the grant of National Science Centre On the borders of Syracuse. Multidisciplinary studies of the ancient town Akrai/Acrae, south-eastern Sicily, Italy (UMO-2016/21/B/HS3/00026), as well as grant of Ministry of Science and Higher Education (SPUB 2016-2017). Director of both projects: Prof. Roksana Chowaniec

In the course of archaeological campaign in 2017, the archaeological and conservation works related to Late Hellenistic-Roman residential area were done. The excavations were focused on the unearthing a household, whose basic plan was created in the Late Hellenistic Period. Precisely the complex was developed in the late 3rd century BC or early beginning of 2nd century BC, already under formal Roman administration. The rooms surrounded three sides of a courtyard with scant remains of the portico and a cistern. The organization of the space is still not entirely clear because the residential complex underwent numerous reconstructions, adaptations, and might have changed owners during its exploitation. It seems to have fulfilled its residential function until the mid–4th century AD, when it was drastically damaged by a natural disaster in town. At the end of the 4th century AD, after a few decades of stagnation, the rubble of the house was adopted for production and household usage, and set up by new inhabitants.


Since few years the research here has also opened an avenue for understanding processes of acculturation and assimilation of introduced Roman elements with local Hellenistic traditions. Because the relative peace enjoyed by the provincia Sicilia created an exceptional opportunity for tracing such cultural mechanisms, which were barely identifiable in other regions conquered by the Romans.

Different sizes and decorations of the rooms, and the homogenous material of Roman provenance, confirm the rearrangement of the house plan by adding or adjusting certain parts of it after 212 BC. The date of these changes can be further clarified. The prevailing number of ‘purely’ Roman artefacts may indicate the beginning of the 1st century AD a new group of settlers might have arrived in Akrai, who found the local living conditions and the local material culture less than satisfactory. One may risk claiming that the settlers brought familiar items with them or quickly ensured regular delivery of such. It could also be related to the beginning of intense cultural changes, which could take a place in Sicily, but not before Octavian Augustus.




dr Roksana Chowaniec
assistant professor

Institute of Archaeology
University of Warsaw
Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28
PL 00-927 Warszawa
tel. +48 22 5522827
fax.+48 22 5522801
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