Via Aurelia

Detailed study on the settlement development along the transit route in Etruria

As part of the research focus on the supraregional communication routes in the Mediterranean the settlement structures and production locations were surveyed along the coastal route(s) of the Via Aurelia in the section between the rivers Cecina in the south and Fine in the north, accordingly between the stately villa complex of San Vincenzino by Cecina on the one side and Vada Volterrana, the main harbor of Volterra in northern Etruria on the other.

The coastal settlement areas were walked in transects as part of several field seasons from 1980 to 2005 by the research group of the Istituto e l'Universitã di Pisa; sites were identified based on the discovered finds on the surface. Here stationes, mansiones, and fattorie were discerned. In La Villana it was already possible to excavate parts of a villa while a pottery production site was identified in Pioggio Fiori. In this extensive research area selective geophysical surveys will be carried out at five find sites at a distance of approximately 4 km to each other: La Villana, Capo di Villa, Vallescaia, and Podere del Pozzo are almost on a line running parallel to the coast; Poggio Fiori is located a bit further inland. The finds from the Tyrrhenian coast will be compared with those of the almost unknown hinterland, the northern inland Etruria; a cooperation with the Institute for Classical Archeology at the University of Vienna is directed towards this.

Pottery production center Poggio Fiori


The best survey results were attained in the ancient pottery production center of Poggio Fiori where architectural elements and coarse wares, such as amphorae of the type Dressel 2-4 and Ostia I/Ostia IV, were produced. Construction elements and slag are known from kilns and one was already archaeologically investigated. Whether there was also a sigillata production center is not yet clear in any case terra sigillata italica and tardo-italica were discovered, including some with the potter’s stamp of Ateius and L. Rasinius Pisanus. The results of the magnetic survey show a row of kilns consisting of at least three rectangular kiln chambers approximately 11 x 19 m in size set up at a distance of about 150 m from a now regulated stream; their service pits were located on the slope side. Numerous anomalies are scattered around these structures within a radius of about 50 m. The survey rows of kilns are located in a considerable distance to the already excavated pottery kiln.