Archeoderi Archeological Park
Archaeological digs show that as far back as Neolithic times the cult of a Mother Goddess was practiced here, while there is documentary evidence of rites honouring Demetra and Kore being held here during the Magna Grecia era. Proof of these cults is provided by two exhibits housed by the ArcheoDeri Park’s Antiquarium, a mere 3 kilometres from Bova Marina, in the direction of Taranto. These are: a small earthenware anthropomorphic figure (second half of the sixth millennium BC), with considerably emphasised female traits, found in the Penitenzeria district and a balm ampule with a picture of Kore (sixth century BC.), found among the foundations of a building behind Bova, once part of a Magna-Grecian fortress, destroyed during a war, in the fifth century. B.C. , between the polis of Reggio and that of Locri.
The remaining exhibits are from a local site: a Roman settlement from the first-second centuries A.D., which seems to have housed the Scyle statio [garrison]. The root of the name Skyle, like Scylla and Squillace (also situated close to rocky headlands) derives, apparently, from the dog-like howling of the waves as they break upon the rocks, which helps explain the Greek translation of the term “Scyle” as “bitch”.
The archaeological site is located in the hamlet of San Pasquale, in the municipal area of Bova Marina, at about 40 km from Reggio Calabria, in the direction of Taranto. The area, located in the valley, on the banks of the San Pasquale river, was already indicated, in the eighteenth century, as the location of the ancient Delia, a city founded by Greeks from the island of Delos. Its inhabitants, having fled from barbarian raids, founded the settlements of Bova, Paracorio and Pedavoli, in the Middle Ages, before turning them later into a single town called Delianuova, in memory of the island of their origins. The same source claims that these lands were originally inhabited by the Aramean people, who arrived here led by Aschenez, great grandson of Noah. They were Jews, therefore, because Aramean was the name still given in the eighteenth century to Jews residing in peninsular and insular Italy. These data were corroborated when, during the construction of a new stretch of the 106 state roadway, the ruins of a synagogue from the fourth century AD were discovered. They are some of the oldest in the Mediterranean area. This significant discovery was followed by further excavation which revealed a basilican building with basins dating from the second-third centuries AD, which raises the question of whether this may or may not have been the site of an older Jewish place of worship. The presence of a Jewish community in Bova Marina not only fits the general picture of Israelite settlements on the Ionian coast. They were documented as existing in Reggio and nearby Lazarus during the Late Antique period, a fact, proven also by a seven-branched candelabrum stamped on the handle of a locally manufactured object (fourth-fifth centuries century AD.) and by the fact that kosher foods, that is, food prepared according to strict Jewish norms, were produced and traded here. That these communities had been, for quite some time, a part of the local social fabric, is confirmed also in the Talmud (late ancient biblical interpretations), which support the idea that Magna Grecia had been assigned by Isaac to Esau, to console him for having ceded his birthright to Jacob.
Proof of the prosperity of Bova Marina’s Jewish community consists in a polychrome mosaic which once adorned the floor of the synagogue, thirty square metres of tesserae, assembled in the fourth century AD. Unfortunately, ploughing carried out on the land, has compromised the readability of the floor, creating considerable margins of doubt regarding the symbols represented in the panels framed by garlands of flowers, surrounded by multi-strand plaited borders. In the 16 panels, decorated with laurel wreaths, it is possible to make out some rosettes, Solomon knots and a Menorah, (seven-branched candelabra) flanked to the left by a shofar (ram’s horn), to the right by a lulab (festive palm branch) and an etrog (a citron). These symbols were probably arranged in the mosaic floor in accordance with specific liturgical requirements which foresaw an àron, that is, a cabinet, facing east ,used to house the scrolls containing the sacred scriptures (sifreiTorah), a bimah, that is, the pulpit from which the cantor led prayers, and a partition or curtain, mehitzah separating the women from the men during the religious service, and finally seats, reserved for leaders of the community, positioned along the back wall on both sides of the Torah Ark. The style of the mosaic recalls the Late-Antique floors found in Tunisia in the villa of the Prodromi at Thuburbo Maius, those of dwellings at Elles, as well as in the Calabrian villa at Casignana (Reggio Calabria) and at Piazza Armerina in Sicily, where one finds laurel wreaths in alternating colours, some green, some pink, which prove how widespread North-African style was in southern Italy during the late Imperial era. During the Ostrogoth period (480-553 Ad.), an apse was added to the synagogue, in front of which there was a space in the floor, containing a mosaic of Solomon’s Knot surrounded by lozenges, stylistically close to the important artistic patterns imported into the west from the Eastern Mediterranean towards the end of the fifth century AD. Restoration work carried out on the synagogue at that time, led to the construction of utility areas, storerooms and a ospitalia [quarters], for pilgrims and visiting rabbis. The buildings were violently demolished at the end of the sixth century AD at the time when, according to documentary evidence, in 590 A.D. Taureana and Locri too were destroyed, perhaps by the Lombards, who reached the Strait of Messina led by Authari. Text by Pasquale Faenza.
Today, the Museo Archeoderi conserves its heritage. It houses the vestiges of several grand civilisations, the splendour of their glory and, above all, the memory of all the peoples, autochthonous and non, who settled here and to whom our culture, customs, traditions and language still bear witness today.
Tuesday – Wednesday – Friday – Saturday: 9. 00 – 14.00; 14.30 – 17.00
Thursday: 8.00 – 14.00
Monday and Sunday: Closed
- Guided tours
- Restaurant and Coffee-Shop
- Events, Exhibitions and Conferences.
- Educational workshop
PRICES of TICKETS AND of GUIDED TOURS
- Full ticket: €3.00
- Reduced: €1.50 for visitors between the ages of 18 and 25.
- Guided tour: €1.50 per person. Guided Tours need to be booked in advance
Ticket costs may be increased if special exhibitions are being held.
INFORMATION AND BOOKINGS
Cooperativa Sociale Clevers
Hours: 9.00 – 19.00 from Monday to Sunday
Telephone: 344 0300673