Archaeology - Pantelleria
Pantelleria was probably inhabited since the Neolithic (V millennium BC). The island was very rich in obsidian, one of the first materials used to construct objects in ancient times, that attracted the surrounding towns.
The first signs of a stable community dates back to the II millennium BC: the village of Mursia with its necropolis. The village of Mursia is in the north-western coast of the island, an area naturally protected by the cliffs on the sea. Its defence system was completed by a very solid wall. In the village you can still see the ruins of circular huts with grinding wheels and tanks for the water collection.
The same people who built the huts and the fortifications built a necropolis as well. There you can find many peculiar tombs called Sesi. Their structure is very similar to others that can also be found in the Mediterranean. They are circular constructions with a lot of cavities on the sides used for the burial rites.
In the 9th century BC Pantelleria was ruled by the Phoenicians. They built the Acropolis San Marco and the Temple near the Lake of Venus.
In the recent excavations of the Acropolis San Marco you can distinguish traces of the fortifications, large tanks for the water and many architectural elements: the ancient city of Cossyra was there. The tanks system is very interesting because it allowed to the people of the island to collect the rainwater and therefore to solve the problem of drought.
This area brought to light also three Roman portraits in a good state of preservation: the first two ones depict Julius Caesar and a noble woman, the third one, which was found in another tank, depicts the emperor Titus.
On the eastern shores of Lake of Venus there are the ruins of a Punic Temple. The structure, including the porch, is leaning against a rocky wall. Probably it was one of the many buildings directly overlooking the lake.
You can also see the next foundations of Hellenistic-Roman reconstructions. The area was full of pieces of pottery probably because the temple was used for a fairly long period.
On the eastern side of the Scauri bay there was also a lot of crockery dating back to different times and you can see traces of warehouses, of a kiln and of a villa (IV-V century AD) probably inhabited with large tanks whose architectural elements and pieces of a mosaic are very precious.