Catacomba di Villagrazia di Carini. La galleria XII: indagini archeologiche e problemi della conservazione
- Authors: Vitale, E.
- Publication year: 2017
- Type: Capitolo o Saggio (Capitolo o saggio)
- OA Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/220760
The archaeological research in the southeastern area of the Early Christian catacombs of Villagrazia di Carini has been ongoing since 2000 to the present, but in 2014 the structural problems occurred during the excavation of the cubicles X13 and X15 have showed that this sector of the cemetery was cut into a tuff stone bench less compact and durable than the rest of the catacomb. Similarly, the excavation in the corridor XII has provided new informations about the serious effects of the physico-chemical changes that occurred here, over the centuries, by the action of the environmental factors and the continued infiltrations of water from the above ground. The risk of a collapse that would make unusable this part of the cemetery is to be avoided, as this would inhibit the continuation of research in the coming years, in addition to causing the loss of this very interesting area of the site. The corridor XII is distinguished, in fact, for the large number of tombe a mensa and loculi, that are rare, indeed, in the rest of the hypogeum. The south wall of the ambulacrum, in two points, is interrupted by the creation of the cubicles XIII and XVIII, two spacious chambers including in their centre two big pilasters chipped out from the rock to support the ceiling. Unfortunately, the surfaces of the roof and walls of the two cubicles and the corridor XII are lost because of the extensive rock detachments occurred over the centuries, as it is shown by the results of the stratigraphic investigations. The same alteration processes are jeopardizing the intersection of the corridors XII and XV , where a substantial portion of the wall collapsed on the underlying burials, and in the corridor XVII, brought to light recently with the so-called “arcosolium of the anchors”: even more deep and widespread look, here, the phenomena of surface powdering and detachments, related to the tuff walls weakness. A diagnosis of the deterioration and some adequate consolidation works of the ceiling and the structures of the entire southeastern area of the cemetery are therefore needed urgently to cope with its precarious state of conservation and to allow the progress of the investigations.