If we consider the territory of Castelluccio Valmaggiore a natural system, made up of morphological and landscape aspects, and an anthropic system, which is articulated in many human activities, it becomes evident that the same has a well-defined identity. At the same time, development strategies reflect a relational dimension that does not end in a delimited territory: social actors can belong to the local context and not, in a spatial dimension that goes beyond the limits of a circumscribed territorial area, naturalistically and historically determined. The cultural model offered by recent archaeological finds is indicative of a stable network of connections with extra-regional geographic districts.

Castelluccio Valmaggiore falls into a cluster that has over-regional dimensions in which the exchange of knowledge is not guaranteed by geographical proximity, but by other channels. With this in mind, the dynamics within the district are dependent on the strategies and the network of knowledge and skills that come from even distant regions. In short, what emerges very clearly in the analysis of the cultural landscape of the district is the originality of the context and the awareness of particular historical-landscape values. From this recognition of value we can analyze the testimonial signs of the human and cultural growth of the territory of Castelluccio Valmaggiore. If we look at long lasting territorial permanences, human and anthropological values, the components of the social and cultural milieu, some reflections help to evaluate how the socio-economic, physical and political impact on these lands has been mediated over time by actors and actions linked to the need to control marginal lands, from difficult balances.

In this topographical framework that makes the relationship with the past very complex, this sector is an important observation point to define the multiple relationships and the complex spatiality that underlie the construction of the rural landscape. A particular social and territorial configuration emerges, for example, in the analysis of the epigraphic documentation coming from the territory of Castelluccio Valmaggiore which, in a significant way, explains the peculiarity of administrative measures in Roman times aimed at rebalancing operations of possible instability factors. Still, interconnected events emerge in the pastoral character of the transhumance guidelines and in the seasonal modalities of movements of people and herds between the Apennine area and the Tavoliere that mark the settlement development of the territory since the pre-Roman age.


The epigraph of Vitalis

Castelluccio Valmaggiore, falling back in Roman times in the economic and jurisdictional space of the territory of Aecae, has adaptations, tensions and conflicts responding to the complexity of social plots, the emergence of functionally interdependent settlement networks and the agglutination of economic and human resources in praedia senatori and in the imperial properties, on spaces dilated at interregional level (fig 1). In an attempt to decipher the territorial logics in the imperial age, it seems clear to us the involvement of professional figures officially delegated to the control of a territory marked by particular conflicts. In this sense we should read the ara, dedicated between the end of the II and the first decades of the III century AD, by Vitalis, ser (vus) regionarius of the clarissimus vir Cl (audius) Severus, in a fanum in honor of Hercules Acheruntinus, located probably in the same ownership of the Claudii Severi family (fig 2).

Vitalis has a special role in the imperial capital districts of Aecae: he is a regionalarius with tasks aimed at ensuring public order and the security of the royal government with particular attention to the repression of brigandage. The epigraph is of particular importance, not only because it attests the development of Vitalis's activities in the private property of Claudii Severi, gens senatoria originating in Galatia, very close to Marcus Aurelius for family ties, but also for the rarity of the epithet Acheruntino addressed to Hercules and for the possibility of associating the adjective to the city of Acheruntia / Acerentia, a city on the border between Apulia and Lucania. The physical space of mobility of the slave Vitalis is open to wider lands: probably for reasons related to his task as regionarius had to move within the property of his dominus Ti Claudius Severus, compatibly with the productive interests of the territories of Aecae and Acheruntia. With this testimony, it seems important to us to stress that occasions of tension have prompted forms of vigilance and that the marginal position of the lands falling today in the territory of Castelluccio has been the harbinger of particular socio-economic interweaving.


A pastoral-feudal scenery

The territorial links also on a wider scale appear to us, indeed, transversal and in the political-institutional and economic-social vicissitudes of the region contribute to defining the plural dimension of places and the model offered by feudality, resting on a vast spatial network with levels of significant mobility. Do not miss the suggestive charge of the feudalization of these lands hinged on the land richness of Giacomo Caldora who, thanks to the marriage with Giovanna della Ratta, Countess of Celano, bearing the feudal patrimony of the Counts of Celano, controlled the barony of Castelluccio Valmaggiore and the lands of Fayte et Cellarum. Considerable was the block of lands of the great fief of the Caldora that went from the mouth of the Sangro to Bari and beyond, along the lands of the principality of Taranto.

The instability resulting from the infighting of the first decades of the fifteenth century and his great military capabilities had allowed him to exercise a strategic control between the Sangro and the Trigno, with center, starting from 1422, in Agnone, with a territorial domination in the Abruzzo Apennines, from the peligna basin and from the Maiella to the Fortore, the Matese and the high Volturno. It was a very important feudal reality from an economic point of view due to the constraints deriving from the system of tratturis that connected Abruzzo and Molise to the Apulian Tavoliere and for the planning of pastoral activities in Capitanata. In this context, the advent of the Aragonese age institutionalized the commercial and feudal relations between Puglia, Molise and Abruzzo.

In the spatial framework of the pastoral communities and the customs territory of the Aragonese period a pastoral-feudal scenery is consolidated and the cities can rise as fief-cities: it is the case of the nearby Biccari founded by Di Capua in 1467 on a significant communication node for the commercial and pastoral trade between the fiefdoms of Irpinia and the Apulian-Molisan ones. The territorial plot is therefore wide-meshed. In the middle of the sixteenth century the interest in the mountain territories of Daunia Subappennines by the spouses Lionello Acclozamora and Colella de Celano who had reconfirmed the barony of Castelluccio Valmaggiore, as concession by Alfonso d'Aragona, is evident: they enter the fief assigned the land and the castrum of Deliceto, Casalis novis and Tertiberis; the Acclozamora control the county of Celano, as evidence of an aridary feudality perched on a trattural system of close connection between Abruzzo and Monti Dauni.

The economic power expressed by the strong mix of territoriality, the category of transhumant shepherds and flows of rural mobility thus contributes to defining social hierarchies. Even when the economic logics and the political situations will involve the increase of the areas dedicated to crops and the farming sharecropping, sheep breeding and grazing resources will be in the territory of Castelluccio Valmaggiore a widespread presence so that the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Naples by Giustiniani in his voice Castelluccio notes how many goats are bred.


Land of mix

Within the territorial articulations of northern Apulia it is undoubted that the Daunia Subappennines territory constitutes a well-defined geographical context for geomorphological peculiarities and orographic features. The Daunia Appennine is located in the border area between the territories of Campania and Puglia and is a sector of the Appennine chain. From the morphological point of view, the area under examination presents a series of subparallel asymmetrical ridges oriented NNO-SSE and the progression of a hilly landscape towards the Tavoliere. The hilly ridges are separated by valleys deeply engraved by torrential rivers. The prevailing landscape is that of the agrarian environment (agricultural ecosystem), with a residual presence of vegetative communities of spontaneous origin (fragments of deciduous oak woods, thermophilous shrublands, hygrophilous shrublands and secondary grasslands).

These are large areas, with large geographical variables, where the distinction between frontier and border appears to be very blurred, areas permeable to the systematic penetration of people and materials from neighboring regions inhabited by populations of Oscan stock. The observations on the wide phenomenon of sannitization of the central Italian Appennine regions have highlighted how the presence of people belonging to the Oscan language stock, with evident common features and a strong agricultural-pastoral connotation, defines the salient features of the Molise population, of the Sangro valley, of the Campanian side of Matese, of the valleys of Calore and Ofanto. The privileged relationship with the trans-Apennine and Adriatic routes makes these broad stretches fall between the Celone and the altimetrically variegated areas of Cervaro valley, the object of particular attention in the reconstruction of the historical-archaeological profile.

The sector in which the modern center of Castelluccio Valmaggiore falls is, in fact, a well-defined sector as natural paths, variety of landscapes, importance of forms of population, construction of networks of exchanges between the plain and hill for the exploitation of resources and for pastoralism. The opportunity represented by the exhibition design and the musealisation of spaces for research and use allows us to envision the relationships between human groupings in the territory of Castelluccio Valmaggiore. Thanks to the progress of research in the rural area, prompted by the intense activity for the construction of plants for electricity from wind sources and public works, it is now possible to outline a more detailed configuration of the settlement and relational territory.

The recent researches describe, on the basis of diagnostic data represented by the material evidence, the complexity of the cultural phenomena of the Cervaro and Celone valleys, a land of mixture and cultural hybridization, with multiple implications linked to the particular dialectic of the plots and mixtures that have marked deeply these liminal areas. The sense of place is a conceptual challenge for those who want to deepen this differentiated geographical reality of the sub-Apennine system. At the same time, the results of the recent excavation campaigns along the Massafra-Biccari pipeline have allowed us to rethink and redesign the fluid field of this border landscape, guaranteeing a process of identifying small and marginal communities and restoring a largely anthropized rural landscape.

The sites of Masseria Festa and Pezza San Michele, funerary nucleuses organized between the 6th and 5th centuries BC, emerge as physical and tangible manifestations of the control exercised on these spaces by Proto-Romanic peoples. Giving coherence to this unprecedented landscape means expressing the degree of awareness of the archaeological presence on the territory, with a dynamic description of the settlement types and of the territorial transformations. A first observation highlights the emergence of a border landscape, an area that interposes with respect to the space inhabited by other social groups. The perception of a border landscape allows a correct approach to the differentiations of the cultural landscape, raising the problem of a peripheral territory with respect to the centrality of the real Daunia. In this particular geographical area in which the non-linearity of the Daunia component emerges in the residential and funerary agglomerations, it therefore appears wrong to delimit the differences and talk about dominant or subaltern cultures.

The outcrop of a proto-Annitic substratum and the non-rigidity of the boundaries of these Daunia Subappennine districts will therefore be measured not as permeability to the cultural influences of the territories obscured, but as an analysis of fluid entities in which neighboring groups have in fact overcome. interact, the relativity of boundaries. This cultural "diversity" emerges with numerous manifestations in the northern Daunia that appears, in the well-characterized system of the contributions, clearly differentiated from the central one. The incidence of the phenomenon is absolutely undiagnosed if we consider the fragmentary casuistry of findings and the absence of data on the organization and diachronic evolution of the necropolis.

However, the results of recent archaeological research are of particular importance for the analysis of the settlements of the population. The presence of allotments, qualifying characters such as the goliera and suspension rings for female burials, the razor for the male ones, the funeral ritual of supine inhumation, the funeral typology of the pit graves with storeroom, where the presence of the olla / attingitoio is dissociated from the accessory set of the dead, the presence of mounds unite various social groups settled along the Apulian territorial arch at the border with Molise, to the Abruzzo-Molise area of ​​the Middle-Adriatic area. These data do not limit geographically to Fortore the area of ​​maximum expansion of the sannitization lines and to consider the sixth century a chronological context in which the geopolitical components of northern Puglia are still particularly fluent.

It should not surprise the fluid connotation of the northern Daunia districts, when similar mixture characterizes, even if in areas of the frentano Samnium more circumscribed, also areas between Sangro and Biferno in which the Samnite definition of the area coexists with manifestations of material culture marked by contacts with the Daunia people. The modalities and the various levels of the cultural contacts make reliable the function and the meaning of the Fortore valley as a true bridgehead towards the Daunia territory. An element of convergence and economic coagulation is certainly the dense network of sheep tracks, with routes that travel from Abruzzo, from the mountains of L'Aquila, through the Molise region to Puglia.

Marisa Corrente