Populonia

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Populonia

EtruscanA-01.svg EtruscanN-01.svg EtruscanV-01.svg EtruscanL-01.svg EtruscanP-01.svg EtruscanV-01.svg EtruscanP-01.svg
Populonia1.jpg
Main gate of Populonia and the fortress
Italy provincial location map 2016.svg
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Populonia
Location of Populonia in Italy
Coordinates: 42°59′22″N10°29′29″E / 42.98944°N 10.49139°E / 42.98944; 10.49139 Coordinates: 42°59′22″N10°29′29″E / 42.98944°N 10.49139°E / 42.98944; 10.49139
CountryFlag of Italy.svg  Italy
Region Flag of Tuscany.svg  Tuscany
Province Livorno
Comune Piombino
Elevation
170 m (560 ft)
Population
 (2009)
  Total17
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
57020
Dialing code 0565

Populonia or Populonia Alta (Etruscan: Pupluna, Pufluna or Fufluna, all pronounced Fufluna; Latin: Populonium, Populonia, or Populonii) today is a frazione of the comune of Piombino (Tuscany, central Italy). As of 2009 its population was 17. [1] Populonia is especially noteworthy for its Etruscan remains, including one of the main necropolis in Italy, discovered by Isidoro Falchi.

Contents

Description

Detail of the fortress of Populonia. Populonia Fortezza dettaglio.JPG
Detail of the fortress of Populonia.
The Tomb of the Bronze Statuette of the Offering Bearer in the San Cerbone necropolis at Casone Farm. The tomb and the entire area around it was once deep under slag. The date of the tomb is estimated at 530-500 BC. Populonia Necropoli di San Cerbone Tomba.jpg
The Tomb of the Bronze Statuette of the Offering Bearer in the San Cerbone necropolis at Casone Farm. The tomb and the entire area around it was once deep under slag. The date of the tomb is estimated at 530-500 BC.

Modern Populonia is located within a small portion of the walled acropolis of a large ancient city, which covered the entire north end of Monte Massoncello, a promontory, its northern slopes down to the Bay of Baratti, and the shores of the bay, which was its port. The city was an industrial one, smelting copper ore brought from the Colline Metallifere , the "ore-bearing hills" inland, and iron ore from nearby Elba, in beehive blast furnaces. Over the thousand years of its life it came to cover the entire southern shore of the bay with slag, piling it over abandoned residences and cemeteries, until it lost its utility as a metals manufacturer. Then it was abandoned.

The metal-rich slag was reworked for its content by Feromin Co., 1929–1969, which cleaned the shore of the bay and left but little behind. During the process Etruscan necropoleis and other buildings were uncovered. They attracted the attention of the archaeologists. Soon it was realized that not only Populonia but the entire Val di Cornia, Valley of the nearby Cornia River, had been densely populated in Etruscan times. Moreover, the Val had been populated continuously from Paleolithic times. In recognition of the area's importance to archaeology, a system of parks was created, the Parchi della Val di Cornia, with a key park being the Parco archeologico di Baratti e Populonia, the "Baratti and Populonia Archeological Park", which covers the hill with the acropolis and the entire Bay of Baratti and its shores. Another is the Archaeological Area of Poggio del Molino.

From inside Populonia Populonia walls.jpg
From inside Populonia

The port has long since been replaced by the city of Piombino on the southern slopes of Monte Massoncello, which is the departure point of maritime traffic leading to Elba and elsewhere. The parks and museums host large numbers of visitors; the village at the top has mainly a caretaker function. The heights feature a massive fortress built in the 15th century by the Appiani lords of Piombino, with stones taken from Etruscan remains. The hill has been kept in a disarmingly forested and rural condition. It was once clear and populated. The remains of a city wall go around the top.


Etruscan Fufluna

Name

The name of the Etruscan city is known from its coins. [3] It has been suggested that it was named after a god, Fufluns, as other Etruscan cities were named after divinities. It would mean, then, "the city of Fufluns." [4] The word was written in Hellenistic times with the Etruscan letter f, only introduced then. Before then Etruscans and Romans made do with a p, [5] resulting in such spellings as Pupluna or Populonia, but the pronunciation must have been Fufluna. It has been further suggested that Pliny's mention of a statue of Zeus at Populonia carved from one vine (hence very ancient, possible hundreds of years) [6] suggests a pre-metallurgical wine industry flourishing at the time Fufluna was officially named. [7]

Foundation

The earliest evidence of Etruscans at Fufluna is from two necropoleis containing material of the Villanovan culture, which was Iron Age and began about 900 BC. Except for some cities that probably began in the Proto-Villanovan, 900 is the foundation time for the majority of Etruscan urbanizations. The cemeteries are San Cerbone on the south shore of the Bay of Baratti and Piano e Poggio della Granate further north on the bay. [8] The presence of the cemeteries can only be explained by a large settlement nearby, which can only have been Fufluna.

The acropolis of the city extended over two hills at the top of the promontory: Poggio del Castillo, the site of the castle and modern structures, and Poggio del Telegrafo, also called, confusingly, Poggio del Molino, not the only hill of that name in the area. Remains of a Roman villa, Villa le Logge, share Telegrafo with an excavation last conducted in the seasons of 2003–2005, which uncovered among other things postholes from a village of huts of the same date as the Villanovan cemeteries, about 900 BC. [9]

The presence of a few Proto-Villanovan tombs at Villa del Barone on another Poggio del Molino near Punta del Stellino just to the north of Baratti indicates the foundation population was proto-Etruscan. [10] It was excavated in the 1980s by the University of Florence. The Bronze Age Proto-villanovan (which is not part of the Villanovan) began as early as 1200 BC.

Another excavation at another Roman villa on Poggio del Molino near Baroni began in 2009. A report from the second season, 2010, mentions that a Bronze Age village of huts was found under the villa. [11] The excavators date it to "the Late Bronze Age" by the pottery, tentatively assigning it to 1200–1100 BC, a time falling within the Final Bronze Age of the Italian system and also within the Proto-Villanovan Period. They have not yet made any such distinctions. The village is assumed to have been associated with the Populonian population. Throughout the Val di Cornia are remains much older. It cannot be presumed, however, just because the archaeology of the region goes back to the Stone Age, that their populations represent the Proto-Etruscans.

The Poggio del Molino (or Mulino, "the mill") north of Baratti must be associated with Fufluna because of a geographical barrier, not there now, once termed Lake Rimigliano. In Etruscan times it was a lagoon fringed by a barrier island (the current beach area) extending from San Vincenzo in the north southward to the foot of Poggio del Molino, where it was broken by an egress point (today the mouth of an irrigation channel). The lake went as far inland as the mines at Campiglia Marittima, an easy route for ore barges between there and the Bay of Baratti. The lagoon eventually became a swamp, disappearing in favor of agricultural land in 1832. The lagoon and its swamps would have created conditions conducive to malaria, meaning that free Etruscans who could afford it would have preferred to live on the heights.

Around 600 BC, the city joined the confederate Etruscan League or twelve cities. It served as one of the only two port cities.

Proto-historic foundation myths

A number of stories about the foundation of Populonia promulgated by the classical authors concerning these events removed from their times by at least several hundred years, the better part of it prehistoric, have been found to have no basis in any known archaeological fact. Maurus Servius Honoratus in his commentary on Vergil's Aeneid [12] says that Populonia was founded later than the other cities by Corsicans, who were driven out by Etruscans from Volterra or by Volterraneans without the Corsican interlude. However, Populonia, is Villanovan in provenience. Moreover, no material remains of any Corsicans have been found or excavated, the tombs are unlike those of Volterra, and finally, between Populonia and Volterra, the former was by far the major settlement. [13]

Strabo claimed that Populonia was the only Etruscan coastal city; the others were removed from the coast by several miles. [14] He may not have known that Pisa had been a major Etruscan city before it was Roman. Pisa was built also in the Villanovan period on the delta of the Arno River and was a port during the floruit of Etruscan civilization. Spina also had been placed at the edge of the Po River. It has been termed by moderns the Etruscan Venice. As far as minor settlements are concerned, Pyrgi and Gravisca were Etruscan ports as early as any. By Strabo's time, the Romans had seized the entire coastline and had ejected the Etruscans from it. It is true that Etruscans preferred the most defensible positions on inland escarpments. If none were convenient or available they did not hesitate to settle in the plain or at the water's edge whether of lake or sea.

The metals industry

In geology, the "Tuscan metallogenic province" derived from volcanic intrusions into southern Etruria due to extension of the crust there (which also created a karst topography in western Italy) from the late Miocene to the Pleistocene. [15] This process emplaced iron oxide deposits on Elba, pyrite in southern Tuscany and various kinds of skarn including copper-bearing in the Colline Metallifere, called Etruria Mineraria in the Middle Ages. [16] The ancient slag-heaps are estimated to weigh 2–4 million tons, representing an annual iron production of between 1,600–2,000 [17] and 10,000 tons, [18] according to varying modern estimates.

Especially of interest to the Etruscans and later Romans of Populonia were the polymetallic ores of Campiglia Marittima, which contain copper, lead, zinc, iron, silver and tin; in short, all the ingredients bronze and steel with the added bonus of silver. The modern mine there descends from the ancient.

Feromin Co. removed mainly the iron slag from the shores of the Gulf of Baratti. Copper slag remains on the beach, which has been dated to the 9th and 8th centuries BC by radiocarbon methods; [19] in other words, the city may have been founded to process ore.

Roman Populonia

Under Roman rule the harbour continued to be of some importance, and the place was already an episcopal see in the 6th century. The city was destroyed in 570 by the Lombards. The few survivors, led by bishop St. Cerbo, fled to the island of Elba, off the coast.

In literature

Populonia is mentioned in Horatius , the poem by English author Lord Macaulay: "From seagirt Populonia,/Whose sentinels descry/Sardinia's snowy mountain-tops/Fringing the southern sky", although Macaulay wrongly wrote that Sardinia is visible from it. [20]

See also

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The Archaeological Museum of Populonia, opened in 2001 in the town of Piombino, Italy, contains artifacts from what was the ancient territory of Populonia during a period ranging from prehistory to late antiquity. The museum contains an active center of experimental archaeology with a focus on the processing of ceramics and stone.

Baratti and Populonia Archeological Park

The Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia is located in the township of Piombino and covers about 80 hectares between the slopes of the promontory of Piombino and the Gulf of Baratti coast. It is part of The Parks of Val di Cornia and was opened in 1998 for visitors to view some of the archaeological sites and remains found in the new digs archaeological conducted in the area since 1996.

The archaeological area of Poggio del Molino is situated on the northern side of a headland that acts as a watershed between the beach of Rimigliano in the north, and the gulf of Baratti in the south; to the northern border of the territory administered by the city of Piombino (Livorno). The structure of Roman age spreads over a high plateau of about 20 m asl which dominates, in the west, the stretch of a sea between San Vincenzo and Elba and to the east, the metalliferous hills and plains of the Campiglia lagoon. The top of the hill is occupied by the beautiful Villa del Barone, built in 1923 by Baron Luigi De Stefano and Assunta Vanni Desideri, the daughter of Eugenio. From a paper of the 16th century, the “Bandita di Porto Baratti”, and some archival documents we know that the Poggio owes its name to the mill which was a part of Torre Nuova, the building of coastal defense and a lookout built in the early sixteenth century by Cosimo I de' Medici, on the slopes of the promontory.

References

  1. "Populonia" (in Italian). Italia.indettaglio.it. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  2. Haynes 2000 , p. 164
  3. Poole, Reginald Stuart (1873). A catalogue of the Greek coins in the British Museum: Italy By British Museum. London: Woodfall and Kinder. p. 6.
  4. Brown, John Pairman (2001). Israel and Hellas: Sacred institutions with Roman counterparts. II. Berlin; New York: de Gruyter. p. 199.
  5. Haynes 2000 , p. 67
  6. Natural History, 14.1.
  7. Haynes 2000 , p. 165.
  8. Banti 1973 , p. 191
  9. Bartoloni, Gilda. "Scavi a Populonia". Sapienza Università di Roma. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.
  10. Ridgway, David (1988). "Italy from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age". Cambridge Ancient History. IV (2nd ed.). p. 631.
  11. Megale, Carolina (2011). Field Report 2010: Discovering Italy's Ancient Roman Coast. Earthwatch Institute.
  12. On Book X line 172.
  13. Banti 1973 , p. 140
  14. Geography V.2.6.
  15. Benvenuti, Boni & Meinert 2004 , pp. 4–5.
  16. Benvenuti, Boni & Meinert 2004 , p. 15.
  17. Ian Morris, Francoise Audouze, Cyprian Broodbank (1994): Classical Greece: Ancient Histories and Modern Archaeologies, Cambridge University Press, p. 102 ISBN   978-0-521-45678-4
  18. Wertime, Theodore A. (1983): "The Furnace versus the Goat: The Pyrotechnologic Industries and Mediterranean Deforestation in Antiquity", Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 445–452 (451); Williams, Joey (2009): "The Environmental Effects of Populonia's Metallurgical Industry: Current Evidence and Future Directions", Etruscan and Italic Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 131–150 (134f.)
  19. L. Chiarantini; M. Benvenuti; P. Costagliola; M.E. Fedi; S. Guideri; A. Romualdi (July 2009). "Copper production at Baratti (Populonia, southern Tuscany) in the early Etruscan period (9th–8th centuries BC)". Journal of Archaeological Science. 36 (7): 1626–1636. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2009.03.026.
  20. Namatianus, Claudius Rutilius; Keene, Charles Haines (1907). De Reditu Suo. G. Bell. p. 56.

Bibliography