Colle di Castello

From Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum
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Field name
Site: Trissino [from first object]
Coordinates: 45° 34' 8.40" N, 11° 21' 57.60" E [from first object]
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General Information

The community of Trissino is situated in the Agno Valley in the Vincentine Prealps, about 125 m a.s.l. Trissino belongs to the Italian province of Vicenza.
For further information see the official website of the community.

The archaeological site: Colle di Castello

Since the late seventies the scientific and cultural importance of the archaeological site Colle di Castello is well-known. The findspot is located in the area of the current cemetery.



On occasion of construction works related to the new construction of the current cemetery excavations were executed by the Soprintendenza Archeologia del Veneto since 1981.
On the crest of the Colle di Castello, on the northern hillside downward overlooking the Agno river the structure of a settlement came to light composed by four house constructions, semi-subterranean with rectangular ground plan. One of these constructions can be considered as storeroom. The material found in the settlement context is mainly composed by Paleo-Venetian pottery, but also mill stones were found. To the group of ornamental metal objects belong i.a. fibulae and pendants.
The remains of this settlement can be dated from the 5th century BC to the beginnings of the Roman period (period of the romanization).


During the excavation in 1983 a large construction near to the settlement down the western hillside was excavated. This monumental construction is composed by three terraces of large stone blocks where the lower terrace leads to a large, rectangular room bordered by dry stone walls. In the lowest carboniferous stratum of the large room was found a group of numerous bone i.a. the inscribed bone pieces incorporated in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum.

The bones are preserved in the repository of the Museo Naturalistico Archeologico di Vicenza. Moreover a fragment of a silver torque and a coin came to light. According Ruta Serafini the torque is also stored in the Museo Naturalistico Archeologico di Vicenza with the inventory number I.G. 179118 (cp. Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46 [A35]).
The entire find material belongs to a more recent period of the archaeological site of Trissino, Colle di Castello. On the basis of the dating of the torque and the coin the find context of the large construction found in 1983 is dated from the end of the 2nd to the beginning of the 1st centuries BC.
The 32 pig bones (Sus scrofa domestica or Sus domesticus) where four are inscribed (cp. in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum: TR-1 bone, TR-2 bone, TR-3 bone, TR-4 bone) are considered as sortes (cp. Ruta Serafini in Mancini 1995: 146: "che si tratta di un insieme di oggetti da connettere con pratiche oracolari, molto probabilmente quindi di sortes"). Therefore the structure excavated in 1983 is interpreted as place for ritual acts. In the context of these, the bones, i.e. sortes, were used for cleromancy.


During the excavations 1989–1990 another domestic construction which must be connected with the house constructions found 1981, came to light. This structure is also semi-subterranean but with a L-shaped ground plan. Numerous poterry belongs to the material found during these campaigns, i.a. carinate bowls, partly with omphalos. The ceramic material can be dated to the advanced period of the Iron Age, more exact from the second half of the 5th century BC to the first half of the 4th century BC (cp. Lora & Ruta Serafini 1992: 258, 260). Some ceramic objects bear characters similar to script however they must be considered non-script (cp. Lora & Ruta Serafini 1992: fig. 7.2 and 7.3). To more recent strati belong fragments of inscribed bone points (cp. Lora & Ruta Serafini 1992: fig. 7.8 and 7.9; cp. also Gamper 2006: fig. 77.8, fig. 77.9). According the figures are identifiable the characters: Θ sI sI s (fig. 7.8), Θ sI sI sI s (fig. 7.9 left), symbol2 s and oblique (fig. 7.9 middle). Lora e Ruta Serafini connect these bone fragments with the ritual abandonment of the houses (cp. Lora & Ruta Serafini 1992: 262). The deposition of inscribed bone points is well-attested on the Ganglegg hill (cp. i.e. VN-9 bone point). Gamper suggests that the ritual function of the bone points related to the house abandonment was a general cultic characteristic of the Late La Tène period (cp. Gamper 2006: 145). However, although the bone fragments from Trissino were displayed, Gamper notes that this ritual function is so far only attested on the Ganglegg hill (cp. Gamper 2006: 145). But the indication given by Lora and Ruta Serafini prompts another conclusion.


In summary, it can be stated that the place of finding can be divided into two phases: The first period beginning in the 5th century BC is characterised by the colonisation of the area. The more recent period is marked by the monumental construction most likely reserved for the cultic sphere.