Italian culture: specialist vocabulary for the archaeological museum

Italian culture: specialist vocabulary for the archaeological museum3 min read

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Where you go?

No matter what you choose (whether the famous Pompei or the Thousand other places – not so well-known but equally interesting – all over Italy), they are all characterized by common characteristics that we will give you in this article and briefly explain.

Small vocabulary of the archaeologist

Let's start with the general term: lo scavo (the excavation). Scavo designates both the site where excavated and the excavation activity. Scavare (dig up) is the corresponding verb. In questa zona si scava già molto tempo = This area has been dug up for a long time.

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  • Il sito (the place) designates the place where is buried. e.g .: In questo sito sono stati fatti importanti ritrovamenti = Important discoveries have been made in this place.

If one digs out, many different things can be found, e.g.

  • le mura di cinta di una città = the enclosure walls of a city
  • FONDAZIONI (Foundations), resti (Remains), the ben conservati (well received) or time conservati (poorly received) can be.

During the excavations in search of one casa (House) you might come across the following:

  • le pareti = the walls
  • vasellame = Dishes / pots
  • suppellettili = Household items
  • monili = Jewelry

If the purpose of the investigations is cimitero (Cemetery) or Sepolcreto (Burial ground) is, then one speaks of:

  • tombe e lapidi = Graves and tombs or memorial stones
  • pitture murali = Mural
  • iscrizioni = Inscriptions

La Guida explained…

When digging in areas that for la vita pubblica (public life) were determined, we discover, inter alia .:

  • statue in edifici pubblici = Statues in public buildings
  • lastricato = Plaster, e.g. il lastricato è costituito da big pietre rettangolari / squares = the pavement consists of large rectangular / square stones
  • Colonne (di templi, palazzi, ecc.) = Columns (at temples, palaces, etc.)
  • le terme = the thermal springs, with the corresponding ones piscine (Swimming pools), namely: calidarium = piscina con acqua calda (Swimming pool with warm water), tepidarium = piscina con acqua tiepida (Swimming pool with tepid water) and frigidarium piscina con acqua fredda (Swimming pool with cold water);
  • la piazza pubblica = the public square, with the associated fountain (Fountain); Here we hear our guide explain: qui era il centro della vita politica della città = that was the center of political city life
  • il foro boario = the cattle forum; You are told:qui avvenivano le contrattazioni per la compravendita di questi animali = Here were the negotiations for the purchase and sale of these animals
  • le varie botteghe: macellaio, ortolano, fornaio, maniscalco, ecc. = the various shops: butchers, greengrocers, bakers, blacksmiths, etc.
  • le taverna = the taverns;
  • i bordelli = the brothels
  • il pozzo dell'acqua potabile = the drinking water shaft
  • il teatro = the theater
  • le stalle e la posta dei cavalli = the stables and the horse trailer

And since the defense had to be taken care of before the then numerous enemies, you will cicerone (common Italian word for tourist guides) not to fail you le caserme (the barracks) and l'acquartieramento per la guarnigione militare (quartering for the military garrison).

Not infrequently you discover several strati (Layers) of the same insediamento (Settlement – the most famous example is Troy!). So it can not be ruled out that even the place you visit will keep such a surprise!

The age of reperti you measure i.d.R. with the sistema del carbonio 14 (Radio carbon system).

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