The American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project (CAP), is an ongoing, multiyear research and excavation project launched in 2013 to investigate developments taking place in the urban center of Morgantina between the third and first centuries BCE. The project, funded largely by Princeton University, includes members from a large number of universities spread across the United States.
CAP excavations are carried out under the direction of Prof. Alex Walthall (UT Austin) with the permission of the Directors of the American Excavations at Morgantina, Prof. Malcolm Bell III (UVA) and Prof. Carla Antonaccio (Duke), and in cooperation with the Parco Archeologico Regionale di Morgantina and the Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali e Ambientali di Enna. CAP staff collaborate with a team of graduate and undergraduate volunteers who apply and are accepted to the project, contributing their time, intellect, and energy.
The site of Morgantina has provided valuable information concerning the Hellenistic west and Roman military and political expansion across the Mediterranean. Our project explores transitions in the urban center, with a particular focus on identifying points of continuity and transformation in the city’s social and economic fabric during the first two centuries of Roman rule in Sicily. In 2012, a geophysical survey indicated dense occupation in the Contrada Agnese and abnormalities in the city’s grid plan. In 2013, CAP excavated its first trenches (VI.34 and VI.35), which confirmed the results of that survey and showed how the city’s grid plan was adapted to adverse topography. In 2014, three trenches (VI.36, VI.37, and VI.38) were opened just south of the North Baths revealing a complex structure of uncertain function. In 2015, three new and expanded trenches (VI.39, VI.40, and VI.41) further explored this structure’s architecture, deeper strata, and others features within, including possible evidence for a peristyle courtyard and cache of large storage jars (pithoi).
Beyond excavation, the members of CAP are committed to a rigorous program of recording, conservation, analysis, and publication. To achieve these goals, the CAP team is divided among several branches: Excavation, Data, Museum, Conservation, Environmental, and Geospatial. Each of these six branches uses a variety of tools and methods to effectively accomplish their goals. Throughout each season, volunteers are given opportunities to work with the various CAP teams.
Our preliminary report on the 2013 season is available on Fasti Online and our 2014 report will be available later this year.