Terranova - Encyclopedia

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TERRANOVA, a town of Sicily, on the S. coast, in the province of Caltanisetta, 74 m. by rail and 41 m. direct E.S.E. of Girgenti. Pop. (Igor) 22,019. The poorly built modern town contains no buildings of interest or importance; it stands on a sand-hill near the sea, with a fertile plain (the ancient Campi Geloi) to the N. of it. It has some trade but no port, only an open roadstead. It almost certainly occupies the site of the ancient Gela (q.v,). Outside it on the E. are scanty remains of a Doric temple (480-440 B.C.?) of which a single pillar only remains, which was still standing in the 18th century (height about 261 ft., lower diameter 53 ft.); here some painted decorative terracottas have been found (see Orsi in Atti del Congresso di Scienze Storiche, Rome, 1904,1904, v. 188). Between it and the modern town the stylobate of a large temple was found in 1906. This seems to have been constructed towards the end of the 7th century B.C. on the site of a still earlier edifice. The stylobate measures 115 by 58 ft. A large number of decorative terracottas were found, among them a small helmeted head of Athena: her name recurs upon the lip of a large pithos, and it is probable that the temple was dedicated to her. There is no trace of any object that can be dated after the end of the 6th century B.C., and it is therefore probable that this temple was destroyed when the other was constructed, and that the latter also was dedicated to Athena. On the W. of the town, on the Capo Soprano, was the ancient necropolis, where many tombs of the Greek period have been discovered; the objects found, including many fine Attic vases, are partly in private collections at Terranova itself, partly in foreign museums, while the results of later excavations, including some large terracotta sarcophagi, are in the museum at Syracuse.

See Orsi in Notizie degli scavi, 1901, 307; 1902, 408; 1907, 38.

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