Centro di Agroarcheologia, Pantanello

Pantanello Excavation House

In early 2000 ICA's relationship with Metaponto and the Region of Basilicata entered a new phase with the establishment of the Centro di Agroarcheologia, a non-profit Italian institution that promotes research on agriculture and rural life in the Greek colonies of southern Italy. The establishment of the Centro was in fact a formalization of an informal relationship of nearly 30 years between ICA and the Region's Department of Agriculture and Forestry, according to which ICA had enjoyed housing for its staff and logistical support for its projects at the Azienda Agricola Sperimentale Dimostrativa in the Pantanello locality, ca. 3 km west of the ancient city and itself the site of several important ICA excavation projects.

The Pantanello facility, owned and operated by the Region, promotes research on modern cultivation practices and also acts as an international germplasm bank, storing and cultivating stocks of grain from around the world. According to the agreement, the Centro was granted use of two structures at Pantanello: the 1950s farmhouse that at one time housed the farm's manager and his family, and half of the large service building (a former stable) that had served for years as ICA's artifact analysis laboratory and Prof. Carter's office. The Centro undertook a full renovation of both structures in return for a multi-year, renewable lease.

Upon completion of the renovations the farmhouse became the Centro's headquarters, with an office and storage space on the ground floor and residential quarters on the first floor. The service-building space was converted to a conference room/library that could be used for study and meetings. Since its creation the Centro has hosted all of the researchers involved in the publication of the latest volumes in the Chora of Metaponto series and the ICA survey teams, and it has served as the venue of several seminars and conferences.

The Centro is also an important part of ICA's mission to disseminate knowledge of its activities and discoveries to the Italian public. The Centro's administrator, Rosetta Torraco, has given numerous interviews to Italian newspapers and made appearances at many public events to explain ICA's role in rediscovering the long and distinguished history of agriculture and rural life in Basilicata from prehistory through Late Antiquity and beyond.