Finds from the Sacred Site of Mount Torre Maggiore at the Archaeological Museum of Terni
At the Archaeological Museum Claudia Giontella in Terni(at the CAOS arts centre) in the pre-Roman section there are exhibits, presented according to a chronological criterion, which reconstruct a very long period of the evolution of the communities that inhabited the Terni area from prehistoric times until the beginning of Romanization. Particularly rich is the documentation of the Umbrian Nahartes, a population that settled along the Nahar river(the river Nera). In one of the rooms of this section you can see materials discovered during the excavations of the sacred area of Monte Torre Maggiore (1120m.),along the southern offshoots of the Martani Mountains. The original nucleus of this place of worship,which was also an important political center,dates back to the 6th century BC, a period in which similar high groung sanctuaries spread throughout the Umbrian territory. The archaeological area of Monte Torre Maggiore preserves the remains of two temples, built a few centuries after the site was used for religious purposes. In fact, originally the sacred area was represented by a votive pit dug into the rock, from which numerous votive bronzes were unearthed through the excavations. Many of these, on display at the Archaeological Museum,show the offerer,of which there are different representations: from the most stylized ones(5th-4th century BC) to those in which the human figure,of superior craftsmanship,is accompanied by elements linked to the celebration of Roman religious cults(eg a patera)and adopted by local populations. Other bronzes are in the form of animal figures or reproduce Mars. The monumentalization of the sanctuary took place during the third century BC at the same time as the beginning of the Romanization of the territory of Terni and the formation of the first nucleus of Interamna (the Roman Terni).The temple called A-which is a few decades earlier than the other (temple B)-was built over the votive pit and bordered by a sacred enclosure. Some annexed rooms served as a workshop for the production of ex-votos, as can be seen from the re-emerged processing scraps. Another fascinating find on display is a female head in travertine, probably from the 2nd century BC,found close to temple A. The face, in a reclining position,has very beautiful features and a head of hair decorated with a diadem. It is believed that it is the effigy of a deity,perhaps the same one to whom the temple was dedicated-of this building several fragments of its architectural decoration were recovered during the same excavation. Other objects found near temple B,such as coins and oil lamps belonging to the late imperial and late ancient period,suggest that the site was still attended -even by Roman colonists - in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.
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