Amphorae from the coastal zone between Anzio and Torre Astura (Pontine region, Central Italy): the GIA excavations at Le Grottacce, a local amphora collection and material from surveys in the Nettuno area
Between 2003 and 2005 a team from the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA ) of the University of Groningen conducted systematic field surveys in the immediate surroundings of Nettuno in South Lazio as well as in the lower Astura valley to the southeast of that area. Nettuno is located on the Tyrrhenian seaboard approximately 50 km south of Rome. The surveys are part of the GIA's Pontine Region Project, a landscape archaeological project studying the long term settlement and land use patterns in the Pontine coastal plain and Lepine mountains. The Astura and Nettuno surveys have yielded valuable data on prehistoric to Roman presence in a part of the Pontine Region that is under high pressure from present-day urbanization and agricultural land improvements, which are rapidly wiping out what still remains of a formerly rich archaeological record.
Part of the research consisted of revisits to ceramic sites in the Astura valley that were mapped by the Italian archaeologist Fabio Piccarreta in the late 1970s. The results of these revisits are discussed and evaluated in tandem with the results from the systematic surveys. The presence of protohistoric and Roman rural sites in the survey area is related to the protohistoric towns and later Roman colonies of Antium and Satricum. The former is located west of Nettuno on the Tyrrhenian seaboard, the latter is located 17 km inland from the mouth of the river Astura.
In this report the lithic industry discovered in the Astura and Nettuno campaigns of 2003-2005 is published and discussed as well as the ceramic data of the Astura campaign of 2003. Sites and artefacts are presented in appendices. A second and final report, to be published in the next issue of Palaeohistoria, will present the ceramic data of the surveys of 2004 and 2005.