CERCOLOC – Centro di Ricerche sulle Colonie Locresi/Centre de Recherches sur les Colonies Locriennes

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Archaeological research in the south Italian region of Calabria has been supported by the Pázmány Péter Catholic University since 2017. Currently, this is the only fieldwork of classical archaeology, led by a Hungarian university in a geographical area interested by Greek and Pre-Roman Italian culture in the antiquity.

Between 2017 and 2020, our working groups, composed by former and current students of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, students of other Hungarian and foreign universities, museum professionals and other researchers, dealt with the systematic documentation and study of votive terracotta statuettes found in the most important sanctuary of ancient Medma, the site called Calderazzo.

The documentation of these finds, of outstanding importance for the disciplines of archaeology, art history and history of religion, was carried out thanks to the authorization given by the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Reggio Calabria and the Soprintendenza ABAP responsible for the area. Our work is supported, moreover, by the Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest, and since 2020, by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

In March 2020 the CERCOLOC Research Group was founded at the Faculty of Humanistic Studies of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University with the intention to provide an official center for the further planning and coordination of all research activity in this field. 

The significance of our first research project is enhanced by the fact that it fits into an increasingly important trend of the treatment of archaeological heritage. In fact, archaeological finds, coming from historical excavations, executed several decades back, are often still waiting to be properly documented and even to be restored, organized and catalogued. With the participation of Hungarian restorers and Italian and French IT specialists, we undertook these tasks in the case of the finds excavated between 1912 and 1913 Paolo Orsi in the site, corresponding to the most important sanctuary of ancient Medma. The objective of this first phase of fieldwork and research is to create a database to be used both as a working tool for further research and as the digital support of a new publication, focused on technical, stylistic and iconographical analysis of this material.

The research program dealing with the votive terracotta sculpture of the Calderazzo site became the starting point for a broader and multifaceted collaboration. From 2021, the Research Group set up the objective of a systematic inquiry of the antiquities of Medma and Hipponion, two neighboring and closely related Greek city-states on the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria. According to the classical tradition, the two colonies were founded by the citizens of Locri Epizephyrii, the most important Greek city of the region, but the details of the relationship of the three communities still require much further research, including several different points of view: topographical and cultural connections, relationship between the city-states, intended as political communities and as social structures. 

Research activities planned for the coming years seek answer to these questions using a variety of approaches. Our projects, planned for the next five years, will continue to focus on the study of artefacts coming from older excavations.  After the votive terracottas of the Calderazzo sanctuary, we are planning the documentation and publication of those found in two sanctuary districts of Hipponion, the sites called Scrimbia and Cofino, both dating to the archaic and early classical period, and the publication of the complete material of the Greek necropolis of Hipponion. In the longer term, these inquiries prospectively will be linked to topographic research and excavation projects exploring the links between settlements and communities in the area. In interpreting the memories of the cult sites of the Locrian sphere, we attribute outstanding importance to the approach implicating history of art and history of religion. Thanks to this complex and interdisciplinary approach we truly hope to provide in the middle and long term a valuable contribution to the understanding of Classical Antiquity.

Members of the Scientific Council: 

  • Ermanno A. Arslan, member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, former director of the Archaeological Museum of Milan
  • Ágnes Bencze, Department of History of Art, Pázmány Péter Catholic University
  • József Beszédes, Institute of Archaeology,Pázmány Péter Catholic University
  • Francesco D’Andria, corresponding member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, professor emeritus of the Università del Salento, Lecce
  • Elvira Pataki, Institute of Classical Languages, Pázmány Péter Catholic University
  • Claude Pouzadoux, director of the Centre Jean Bérard (CNRS)
  • Franco Prampolini, Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Faculty of Architecture
  • Claudio Sabbione, former inspector of the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Calabria
  • Fabrizio Sudano, superintendent of the Soprintendenza ABAP of Catanzaro, Cosenza & Crotone
  • Lóránt Vass, Institute of Archaeology,Pázmány Péter Catholic University

Publications on line: 

The sanctuaries of Medma: exhibition in the Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest, 2018-2019 →

Recherches sur les terres cuites votives de Medma – CEFR 2019 →

Terres cuites votives de Medma – CEFR 2020 →