The Bregatorto Project is an ongoing study of two ancient Greek sites in the Aspromonte mountain range in Calabria, Italy: Bregatorto and Coculédi. The project team is focused on studying the fortification systems in the territory of the ancient Greek city of Locri, to establish the ways in which Greek cities of South Italy protected their territory and overland trade routes. Of particular interest is how the ancient Greeks interacted with the frontier landscape and indigenous peoples. Bregatorto appears to be one of the largest forts in the area, while the function of Coculédi is as yet unclear.

This study adds to our knowledge of Greek frontier sites, particularly in South Italy, where the traditional view in Classical archaeology is that these Greeks only settled along the coast of South Italy and did not venture inland. These sites are a clear indication that not only did they  venture inland, but they were concerned with protecting and controlling this land.

Through survey and test excavations, and examining the pottery that is found on the site, the team is working to determine when these sites were used, confirm their function, and select where larger scale excavations might take place in 2018. Pottery also provides clues that help them draw conclusions about the inhabitants and their activities.

Jennifer Knapp, coordinator of Classical Studies at Langara and ceramic specialist on the project team shared “No matter what site I work for, I am always excited by how much information just a single shard of pottery can communicate about lives of the people we are studying.  My favourite aspect of studying pottery is finding fingerprints in the slip or the clay. Whenever I see one of these, I put my finger overtop and for a moment feel connected with a person who lived over 2000 years ago.”

The project is run by the Foundation for Calabrian Archaeology and the University of Kentucky. The team includes the principal investigators, Dr. Paolo Visonà (the field director), and Dr. George Crothers, both professors at UK, and Jennifer Knapp (PhD,  University of Missouri-Columbia), Langara instructor, archaeologist, and ceramics specialist (specializing in the Hellenistic/Republican period ceramics (4th to 1st centuries BCE), especially those used in the Greek cities of South Italy). Jennifer has taken part in 5 different excavation projects since 1997 in England, Greece, and Italy. The team was joined in the summer of 2017 by two Langara students, Paolo Crestani (now at UBC, studying Classical Archaeology) and Amber Sammon (currently studying at Langara). The students assisted in studying the pottery, as well as assisting on site with excavation.

“In general, we had a really excellent season; we worked very hard, but we also made time for travel. The students and I took the opportunity to tour some of the archaeological sites in Rome and we visited Pompeii. Once in Calabria, we stayed in an agriturismo in the town of Gioiosa Ionica and the students were also offered the opportunity to visit several sites of archaeological and cultural interest in southern Calabria. We ate amazing food, and met lots of local people, from farmers to mayors. It was an introduction to archaeology for the students, but it was also immersion in Calabrian culture. I was even able to take the students to the city of Reggio Calabria, where I lived for a year to do research for my dissertation, and show them around.”

The project team is preparing for a full excavation season for 2018, and has receivedfurther funding from the RSAF grant to continue the work to identify the function of Coculédi and gather more information about the fort.


Project lead:  Jennifer Knapp, Coordinator of Classical Studies
Principal Investigators:  George Crothers, Professor, University of Kentucky
Dr. Paolo Visonà, (Field Director) Professor, University of Kentucky
Students:  Paolo Crestani (now at UBC, studying Classical Archaeology) and Amber Sammon (currently studying at Langara)