The archaeological site of Scoppieto
An ancient village of potters discovered on the banks of the Tiber River
On a land overlooking the Tiber Valley, fertile land rich in water and clay, lies the Scoppieto archaeological site that brings to light some antique structures, evidence of the river's vital importance in the development of ancient settlements. The archaeological area covers 3400 square metres, and the traces that have emerged from the excavations testify to different historical periods: from the first structure, that can be dated back to the 3rd century B.C. and is linked to the presence of a sanctuary, to the 1st century A.D., when a kiln produced fine ceramics such as vases, glasses, cups, oil lamps and common pottery.
Why it is special
Thanks to the archaeologists' work, an entire village of ceramic artisans has been discovered over the years. Individual workstations can be observed today, each with a hole for the potter's wheel, a water basin for the clay, and a brazier for heating. It feels like a real ancestor of the nineteenth-century working towns, only this one is unique for its time and extremely efficient. Here the potters found everything they needed to carry on their business: water, clay, turkey oak wood and, last but not least, the Tiber River, used as a transportation route for their products.
Not to be missed
In addition to the wall structures, numerous artefacts and especially pottery have been found at the Scoppieto site. Many are collected in the Antiquarium Archaeological Museum, located inside the municipal building of Baschi. The museum is divided into three sections and dotted with illustrative panels, full of ideas for educational activities. The first section is dedicated to the production of pottery: here the panels describe all the stages of clay processing, from extraction to its decanting to modelling and firing. The second section is devoted to the trade and export of artefacts both in Italy and in the main centres of the Mediterranean basin. The third and final section of the museum, which occupies the basement, is a photographic exhibition of archaeological artefacts found in past centuries and now housed in various Italian museums.
A bit of history
Archaeological investigations at the Scoppieto site were carried out from 1995 to 2013 by the University of Perugia. The most significant materials found during these excavation campaigns are collected in a permanent exhibition in the Antiquarium, a museum inaugurated on the 16th of December 2000 in Baschi.
Good to know
The ceramics produced in Scoppieto at some point became so popular and well-known, that they began to be exported far away. In fact, 90 items were found between Crete, Cherchel, Tiddis, Cyprus, Carthage and Alexandria.
Credit to: Margherita Bergamini