Episode 4: Village Pillage (“Field Notes”)

Archaeologist Dr. Spencer Pope shares his thoughts on looting in Sicily, particularly at the site of Palikè, a 2400 year old town not far from Catania on Sicily’s east coast, in the fertile plains of the island’s active volcano, Mt Etna. The site has a mystical nature, considered sacred since antiquity due to the bubbling lakes near which it is situated. Looters use metal detectors at the site to find ancient coins, and in the process destroy important scientific evidence for understanding the mix of cultures that once interacted here.

Our guest: http://classics.humanities.mcmaster.ca/spencer-pope/

More to see, read, and hear:

Maniscalco, Laura, and Brian E. McConnell. “The Sanctuary of the Divine Palikoi (Rocchicella Di Mineo, Sicily): Fieldwork from 1995 to 2001.” American Journal of Archaeology 107, no. 2 (2003): 145-80. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40026074

Overview of the site from the Ministry of Culture (in Italian)

A recent article on illegal excavation in Syria, but with pertinent information on the looting of coins with metal detectors

Other sites mentioned on this episode:



Piazza Armerina