Villas and farmsteads in the Ager Setinus (Sezze, Italy)

P.A.J. Attema, T.C.A. de Haas, G.W. Tol

Abstract


This article presents and discusses the ceramic data of an archaeological surface survey carried out in 1994 by the Pontine Region Project (PRP) in the agricultural territory of the Roman Republican colony of Setia in the Pontine plain c. 80 km SE of Rome. While chronological distribution maps were published earlier by the PRP in 2004, in this article the ceramic finds are analysed and discussed for each individual site and the off-site ceramic distributions. From the site data, it appears that rural infill, defined as the process of (either gradually or abruptly) settling a rural territory, around Setia began during the post-Archaic period (5th/4th cent. BC) with small farmsteads, a process probably linked to the founding of the colony. Rural infill intensified during the Roman Republican period. By the late Republican period, the terrirory was dotted with farms and villas and a successful agricultural economy was in place, partially based on intensive viticulture. As such, the archaeological data from the survey corroborate information gleaned from the historical sources, that describe the area as one in which the Roman elite invested in rural estates and that was known for its excellent wines.

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