Rocchicella, Paliké

Sicily, Italy

     the hestiaterion  

page updated December 27, 2007
  Paliké site description dining room reconstruction
Hestiaterion building description
Hestiaterion digital reconstruction

Palike Site Description

view north

The marker points to the general location of site, across the valley from Mt. Etna.

The hestiaterion (a dining facility; lower right in the photo above) is the best preserved structure of a monumental complex which dates to the middle of the fifth century BCE.  It can be attributed to the local Sikel leader Ducetius who at that time founded a federation of Sikel cities that resisted the expanding power of Greek Syracuse and which made its capital at the Sanctuary of the Palikoi at Rocchicella in the territory of Mineo, Sicily.

site plan
In addition to the hestiaterion ('H' on the plan; the photo at the right is oriented like the plan) the monumental layout of the sanctuary included at least two stoas (buildings with a series of rooms and a shared colonnade) set on a series of terraces descending from the grotto towards the Naphtia lake.   A large platform ('P' on the plan) created a terrace on which a forward exension of the hestiaterion was built during the Hellenistic period. 
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Hestiaterion building description

In its original form, the hestiaterion consisted of four lateral rooms each with a square plan (roughly five meters along each side) and three smaller rooms (roughly three meters along each side) arranged around a central space which was open to form a monumental entrance along the southern side.  In the larger rooms the banqueters reclined on dining couches (klinai) the way one would at a Greek symposion.  The dimensions of these rooms permitted the placement of seven couches per room.  The smaller rooms were, instead, most likely service quarters.  
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facade rendering Rendering from the Learning Sites virtual reality reconstruction of the hestiaterion. View (northwest) of the exterior front and side.
rendering of the back of the building Rendering from the Learning Sites virtual reality reconstruction of the hestiaterion. View (southwest) of the rear and side.
rendering of the central space Rendering from the Learning Sites virtual reality reconstruction of the hestiaterion. View of the main central space, showing dining rooms along the far side.
dining room Rendering from the Learning Sites virtual reality reconstruction of the hestiaterion. View into one of the dining rooms..

Hestiaterion digital reconstruction

The computer model created by Learning Sites was developed under the direction of the buildings' principal investigator, Dr. Brian McConnell, and is based on a detailed analysis of the remains discovered in the excavations undertaken by the Superintendency for Cultural and Environmental Resources of Catania, Sicily.  The virtual reality reconstruction includes a wooden hip roof structure with terracotta roof-tiles.  Careful study of the entrance step into the wide central area suggests that there were four columns and a frieze of triglyphs and metopes along the architrave. 
anta base fragment sima fragment

The interactive model and linked images and text are being made available for public viewing in computer kiosks erected at the site interpretation center.

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Repubblica Italiana
Regione Siciliana
Regione Siciliana
Assessorato Regionale BB.CC.AA. e P.I.
Soprintendenza BB.CC.AA.di Catania 
Sezione III Beni Archeologici
European UnionComunita` Europea, 
Programmi Operativi Plurifondo

Project completed in 2001; Webpage authorization #6094 issued on December 17, 2001, by the
Soprintendenza per i BB.CC.AA. di Catania, Assessorato BB.CC.AA., Regione Siciliana.

Superintendent -- Dott. Ugo Gioviale
Section Head Dott.ssa Maria Grazia Branciforti
Project Director Dott.ssa Laura Maniscalco
Architectural Reconstruction Dr. Brian E. McConnell
Computer Modelling Learning Sites, Inc. 
[Dr. Donald H. Sanders, President; Mr. Eben R. Gay; Mr. Geoffrey Kornfeld; Mr. Richard C. Morse]
Field Archaeologist Dott.ssa Claudia Cirelli
Architectural Illustration Mariella Puglisi

Thanks are acknowledged also to the various workmen and scholars who have contributed their energy and suggestions to this project.

Reference Information

page created: April 8, 2002
page updated: December 27, 2007
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