Necropoleis

With the exception of a few Early Bronze Age burials in the area of the later Theater, Morgantina’s cemeteries were located on the slopes of the ridges where the habitation zones were located. Cemeteries are known from the Iron Age through Hellenistic phases of the site.

The few Iron Age tombs to be formally excavated were published by Robert Leighton in Morgantina Studies IV: The Protohistoric Settlement (Princeton 1993). Already in this period, the people of Morgantina used the chamber tomb form of burial, inhuming the bodies in chambers dug into the limestone bedrock of the slopes of Cittadella, and depositing objects, mostly pottery but including a few items of personal adornment, with the dead.

The Archaic tombs were published by Clare Lyons in Morgantina Studies V: The Archaic Necropoleis (Princeton 1996). The tombs, scattered around the slopes of the Cittadella and, importantly for understanding the extent of the Archaic presence in the area, on the eastern end of the Serra Orlando ridge, overlooking the San Francesco ravine and its sanctuaries. These tombs show a clear continuity of burial customs – the use of chamber tombs, and inclusion of locally-made pottery in indigenous traditions – with the increasing presence, over the 6th and 5th c., of imported Greek pottery, perfume jars, transport amphorai, and figurines.

The Hellenistic tombs are found on the south slopes of Serra Orlando just outside the city walls; published in a preliminary fashion in the series of reports that appeared in the American Journal of Archaeology, they are the subject of a future study by Shelley Stone.