THE NECROPOLIS OF MONTE PUCCI
Monte Pucci falls within the territory of Vico del Gargano (FG) and is placed in the north-western side of a small promontory between San Menaio and Peschici, overlooking the plain of Calenella, near the "Peschici-Calenella" train station.
The area is bound as archaeological area with the Ministerial Decree of 18/01/1996.
The first reports appear to be those of prof. Del Viscio, author of an article published in the "rivista scolastica" (Naples, Year 1, Volume 1, 1887), in which it noted the presence in the necropolis of typically early Christian material.
Systematic excavations began from 1955 to September 1962, with the contribution of the National Research Council, the Institute of Anthropology at the University of Padua, under the direction of prof. Ugo Battaglia before, and prof. Cleto Corrain after.
The necropolis consists of about a thousand niches, organised around at least twenty-six hypogeums articulated in a series of intricate tunnels that lead to the largest environments destined to the cult of the deads itself.
The predominant type of tomb is the rectangular shape, excavated in the tufa, but there are those dug in the floor or the more solemn arcosolium and canopy.
There is no lack tombs lot, with a truncated pyramid shape with niches on the side walls, in which you can only access from the top and that curiously lead us to the tombs of Monte Saraceno, more distant, and those closest of Mount Tabor.
With specific settings destined to the depositions there are in the necropolis of Monte Pucci, which seems to distinguish this necropolis from other early Christian necropolis of Gargano, a sufficient number of environments certainly destined for the Christian liturgy, the thesis is supported by the architectural forms (absolute lack of niches) as well as the type of material found (support columns of ares for the sacrifice).
The excavations conducted between 1955 and 1963 set the necropolis between the fourth and seventh century A.D.
Between September and December 2012 as part of the POR Puglia for the protection and of the environmental-archaeological
-historical enhancement of the necropolis, other excavations have been conducted that have unearthed inviolated tombs.
As a result of these excavations burials were found dating from the second and first century B.C. indicating a much more ancient use of the site.
Currently the tombs are not open to the public and can only be seen from the outside, except the hypogeum 24.
Circular, with a branch on the left side, possibly created in a second time for space reasons. This underground is called by the shepherds "Cave of a Hundred Columns" and is characterised, in the central area, by four monumental tombs formed by a structure called the "canopy", a quadrangular space limited at the corners by pillars connected to each other and joined with arches.
Probably the niches, carved at the base of the canopies, were used to house the tombs of great personalities.
Rectangular shaped, of simple and straightforward pattern, covered by a plain vault once about 2 m from the current ground level. At the center of the room there are two monumental square canopies, revealing a very accurate execution, presenting on every side a round and very accurately cut arch.
The entry consists of an irregular opening in the rock, which leads into a square plan environment. The most important element is constituted by the canopy, which, despite having the anterior pillars almost destroyed, has the arches adorned, both inside and outside, by a frame formed by two rounded strips in relief, divided by a groove. The canopy surmounts two niches of a significant size (m. 2,20 x 0,80).
The hypogeum 24, which is accessed through a long dromos, has a multi chambers structure consisting of three rooms, which are probably different phases of the site use.
During the excavations of 2012, 24 tombs have been unearthed, found below a partial collapse of the vault and that housed about thirty buried.
The tombs, arranged side by side, are of the case type with cover made of large terracotta tiles sealed with earthenware (fragments of tiles or bricks and fine mortar thoroughly crushed); inside a variety of ceramic material, bronze and iron fibulae, personal ornaments in gold and silver and numerous lamps.
Particularly important burial 5 in which were found five burials, including that of a young girl at an early age. This burial had been previously occupied, in fact, the bones of a deceased person are collected and deposited at the foot of the new defunct, in the corner; also buried occupying this niche is longer of the niche itself, enough to have suffered amputation of the feet and to have the head on one side much more than it should, but still turned to look towards the sea , according to a typical custom of the Gargano.
In the graves 8 and 9 more important kits were found of which are also an oinochoe blue glass paste and a glass paste amphora, but amber colour.
Of particular interest is the discovery of a gold ring with a blue agate signet representing Diomede.