nEU-MED 2: Vetricella: An Early Medieval Royal Property in Tuscany’s Mediterranean, edited by Giovanna Bianchi & Richard Hodges
The second volume of our ERC project in Tuscany’s Maremma has just appeared as an open access monograph, published by Insegna del Giglio of Florence:
The volume is largely devoted to the remarkable site of Vetricella in the Val Pecora, close to the reclaimed Follonica lagoon as well as the Via Aurelia. Vetricella is defined by its three concentric ditches that date to the 9th century.
The excavations show it was much more besides with equally important 8th- and 10th-century episodes before and after the triple ditches were excavated.
The changing form of the site is matched in terms of its significance by its extraordinarily rich material culture. Some 30,000 fragments of glazed and unglazed ceramics; an exceptional collection of ironwork; an intriguing number of coins; a rich collection of glass with a notable blue vessel; a major assemblage of animal bones; as well as a cemetery containing more than 50 individuals are just some of the highlights.
The volume, like the first published in 2018, also includes detailed studies of the Tyrrhenian environmental context of 7th- to 12th-century Vetricella, as it evolved and took different forms.
Finally, the changing purposes of the site and its territory are the subject of three syntheses which emphasize its political and economic importance in what the celebrated French historian, Marc Bloch, termed the first feudal age.
Thanks to EU support, this Siena University project has shed new light on the beginnings of medieval Tuscany’s Mediterranean. It is certain to help reframe the story of Italy’s re-emergence as an economic power after the extraordinary collapse of its Roman inheritance.