The little church on the promontory

 

On the extreme northern tip of the promontory a little basilica of the proto-byzantine age,around the second half of the Vth –beginning VIth c. A.D. has been uncovered. Its floor plan is slightly assymetrical, due to the constraints of the irregular hilly location. The small building, subdivided into three naves with its apse facing eastwards, has kept, even if not an optimal state, ample floor section made of small opus sectile elements. These floor sections are unfortunately conserved in different states and those pertinent to the northern nave have been irremediably lost. 

 

During the 1995-1996 excavation campaigns a little proto-Byzantine basilica of the second half of the Vth c. A.D. was brought to light on the extreme northern tip of the promontory. In spite of the very bad state of conservation of the structures, of which there were only few traces of the walls, it was yet possible to reconstruct its floor plan which follows a typical pattern and consists of three naves and an apse on the eastern side. However the building presents some irregularities probably due to the nature of the rocky spur on which it is constructed which conditioned its layout and the location of its doors.

Indeed the structure is slightly asymmetric with a noteworthy development in length but with the two long sides not perfectly parallel and slightly converging to the main entrance which was maybe preceded by a portico that opens out onto the southern side rather than onto the western side while a secondary  entrance was built on the eastern side. In the side nave a sort of central corridor, as suggested by the sectile panels, led to the area of the presbytery which was limited by barriers, long lost but of which still remain the tracks carved into the floor’s limestone slabs. In the central nave the octagonal base of an ambon in local stone was found.  Along the eastern side the slight traces of  wall bases lead to believe that there was a room which probably could be identified as a baptistery or as a service room for liturgical purposes pastophorion.

The sectile floor is unfortunately in an irregular state of conservation, above all in the central nave, in the area of the presbytery and in the apse, while in the northern nave it has been completely lost. The surviving sections of opus sectile which have been restored in 1996 belong to the type of geometric compositions with small modules, usually bi-chromatic and set into square or rectangular  panels limited by marble or limestone frames.

The date of the complex, in the absence of clearly  associated stratigraphic levels, can be ascribed to the second half of the Vth beginning of the VIth centuries as suggested by the stylistic analysis of the sectilia pavimenta.

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