The “neighborhood” of the village is re-emerging from the Castelseprio forest


Not a sudden discovery, though a long job, year after year: thus the village of Castelseprio is being resurrectedafter six years of excavation campaigns directed by the Catholic University
Not to be confused with castrum (the city surrounded and defended by walls, with the main buildings), i.e.The village was instead the part of the village that was close to the fortified walls.
How big was that village? It is still an open question, to which answers are gradually sought with archaeological excavations. Years ago, only a few tracks were recognized, almost erased from thickets that had grown over seven centuries and counting. But now the summer work of the young archaeologists reveals an additional piece each year: «The campaigns of recent years they are gradually producing the houses for the expansion of the city that was outside the walls, sums up the professor Marco SannazaroProfessor of Christian and Medieval Archeology at the Catholic University and leader of the excavation. “The studies reconstruct the image of an entire neighbourhood”.

The excavations of Cattolica this year have resumed exploration in the area of ​​the village just north of the bridge that once gave access to the castrum (where the area of ​​the “medieval house” is excavated, on the western side).

“We have completed the excavation of a large low medieval house, with three rooms and a courtyard and surrounding walls, and we have identified earlier phases “that need further investigation. The image is of a building that – even outside the walls – has its own precise spatial organization. But it is not so much – or not only – the individual building at the center of interest: «The most interesting aspect of this year’s campaign is that we have started to think about the district of the village» continues Sannazaro. “This village, which extended outside the castrum, begins to reveal its topographical characteristics: a fairly densely populated area, a street, a row of large houses”.

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Even before the destruction of the castrum in 1287, the village was destroyed and the inhabited areas dispersed “With weeping and lamentation”. There should not have been a few houses if it was already – in fact – qualified as a village, that is (in the terminology of the thirteenth century) a center equipped with some services and a meeting function: in those days According to Bonvesin de la Riva the landscape of Milan had about fifty villages in all, each referring to a wider surrounding area.

The village of Castelseprio, training center for young archaeologists

After the destruction of the village of Castelseprio, only the church of Santa Maria Fortis Portas remained for a long time, one of the nine churches seen on the hill (of which only four are recognizable today, in addition to two in Torba).
If “Castelvecchio”, the castrum, remained recognizable from the ruins, the village was first identified in the mid-twentieth century by Mario Bertolone. For a long time the excavations concentrated on the castrum, but precisely in recent years, attention has also increased for the other half, the one outside the walls.

As every year held professors and students from Cattolica a moment of synthesis and return to the local communityin the museum space at the San Giovanni monastery: the doctor was there to greet them and see the results of the campaign Sarah Masseroli and the mayors in Castelseprio Silvano Martelozzo and off Carnago Barbara Carabelli. “The boys get a standing ovation,” began Mayor Martelozzo. “Even the climate didn’t help their work, especially in one of the excavation areas most exposed to the sun” (last year it was the rain that caused problems).

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Professor Sannazaro remembered how the excavations are of great scientific interest – for obtaining new data – but also formativeto make professionals in archeology grow: «In six years we have had the opportunity to see the maturation of young people who were beginners and the acquisition of skills».


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