The Hellenistic-Roman quarter in Agrigento

3d model and reconstruction

The Hellenistic-Roman quarter in Agrigento

Based on the plan of the excavations published by P. Griffo, Guide to the monuments and excavations,  Agrigento 1961, apart obviously from the archaeological remains and photographs, the quarter has been reconstructed.

The raised section and type of houses have been studied in respect of the plan and by analogy with the living quarters dating to the same period as this one.

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Short history of

The Hellenistic-Roman quarter in Agrigento

The Hellenistic-Roman quarter is located in Contrada San Nicola and occupies an area of circa 15,000 m2. The excavation of the area, which took place in the 1950’s, revealed a road system built on an orthogonal axes, according to the so called Hippodamean scheme.  Four streets oriented North-South stenopoi/cardines with the same width (5 m.) and at a constant interval of 35 m. intersect orthogonally with the present National Road, nr. 118, which probably follows the layout of an ancient plateia/decumanus. This plateia was 11 m. large, differing in width from the other, parallel, plateiai which were characterized by a maximum width of 7 m. The main plateia was provided with a pavement as well as with paving in opus spicatum, constituted by small paving tiles, which relate to the later phase (3rd-4th c. AD). The orthogonal network of stenopoi generates blocks separated each other by small spaces (ambitus). The original layout seems to date to the 4th or to the 3rd c. BC, but it is probable that urban area dates to the end of the 1st c. BC. The area remained vital until the Late Imperial period, when it was abandoned and partially occupied by a necropolis.

There are several types of houses: Hellenistic houses with wide a peristyle courtyard alternate with Pompeian type houses with compluviate atrium of the Italic type and with houses, with a simple atrium, of a hybrid type someway between urban and rustic dwellings. The building material is the local sandstone and the interior decoration is quite often of a high artistic level: painted plasters with a rich sampling of mosaic floors, from the simplest ones of the republican period to the more elaborated of the Imperial age (until the 3rd c. AD).