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The sacred area of Santo Stefano


The continuous development of the area throughout the 4th century BC meant a large number of new settlements were established and many new families came into contact with the local aristocracy, many of whom were connected to local sanctuaries, as Santo Stefano, where, in the middle of the 4th century BC, there is a widespread evidence of the presence of large aristocratic family.

In Santo Stefano area, a successful campaign of excavation, showed, in the area previously occupied by necropolises and other buildings, a complex linked to the worship of water. The complex ranged over several terraces of which the upper, a large quadrangular area, was bordered by porticoes on three sides and lined by a series of banqueting halls on the fourth. The fine mosaic floor of one of these banqueting halls, a well-preserved composition of tèsserae, lava pesta and coccio pesto, was decorated with a central six-pointed star motive surrounded by various tendrils, curls and dolphins. The stuccos of a number of grooved columns and vaulted capitals have also been preserved. As from the 6th century BC, banqueting and meeting in symposiums – practices which developed as a result of contact with various Greek colonies - enabled the local aristocracy both to confirm its status and to offer hospitality and occasions for meeting with other cultures. Indeed a list of names etched on a commemorative jug discovered during excavation of the Fratte area includes not only Italic names, but also the Greek Apollodòros and the Etruscan Vulca.

This is the first step towards the forming of a structured and socially stratified society which will lay the foundations for the establishment of the city of Volcei.