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Tuesday 22 January 2019
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Pila: an Archaeologist's Paradise

To the southwest of Perugia, the area around Pila has proved to be particularly rich in archaeological finds dating back to Paleolithic times. All the material unearthed here, which ranges from discs to arrow heads and scraping instruments, is kept at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Perugia. The abundance of flint present is proof that the area was populated by man in the quaternary period. Covered by woods and with a plentiful supply of water guaranteed by the rivers Genna, Caina and Nestore, which we still see today, this area must have been a particularly hospitable habitat for mankind during this period.

A Prehistoric Port of Call
The river Genna runs through a series of small hills that in prehistoric times were probably the banks of a much larger river. To the east of Pila, at a place known as Pino, there survives a kind of terraced construction built out of gravel and river mud. A number of discs and scraping instruments have been found in the vicinity, indicating that in prehistoric times this was probably a kind of stopping point along the river.

Bronze and Iron Age Settlers
Recent digging in an area not far from Ponte della Pietra has revealed a settlement near what must have been a particularly damp and marshy area. Tests carried out on the unearthed materials have indicated that they are from the late-Bronze or early-Iron Age.A number of holes containing remains of wood and stones prove that the settlers had built themselves a raised wood platform to avoid direct contact with the damp ground below.

An Etruscan Highway
In Etruscan times the area around Pila was dissected by a road that ran from Perugia to Orvieto, via San Sisto, Strozzacapponi, Castel del Piano, San Biagio della Valle and Spina. Another road not far off also connected Perugia with Orvieto, passing through the Frontone burial ground and continuing via San Costanzo, mount Corneo and along a route that still exists today through Sant'Enea, San Valentino and Cerqueto. The famous statue of the Haranguer, representing Aule Metele, was discovered in the area and is in the Museo Archeologico in Florence. There are still divergent opinions concerning the whereabouts of its discovery, either at Pilo or Sanguineto.
The bronze statue, 1.79 metres tall, was unearthed in 1566. The seven sections of the work were cast separately and then welded together. The sitter is a mature man, with his locks of hair closely clinging to his cap. The facial features are extraordinarily realistic in style. He is wearing a thin toga with a decorated rim, covering an angulus clavulus (vertical lateral strip) tunic. His feet are protected by Roman style sandals.
The statue was probably completed between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 1st century BC.

Iat di Perugia information number: 075.5728.937.

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