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Necropolis of the "Eternal Father" in Gravina in Puglia

A journey into the past, among ancient civilizations and hermit caves

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Where is


Via Madonna della Stella, 70024 Gravina in Puglia BA, Italia (344m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

The Eternal Father Necropolis is an area of the larger Bortomagno Archaeological Park. On this hill are the remains of an ancient settlement, and evidence of the various eras it has passed through. In addition to the historical value of the place, there is also its scenic value: in fact, it is located a short distance from the ra vine that overlooks the ravine, opposite the present-day town of Gravina in Puglia.

Why it is special

It seems strange that a place characterized by the strong presence of Greek, Roman, and earlier civilization remains should be identified with a name related to Christianity. In this area in particular, graves are accompanied by traces of productive activities. Why this name then? Probably, an area so rich in cavities and ravines exerted a certain attraction on the hermits, who repurposed some of the structures as rock prayer chapels. This is well known to archaeologists who, hoping to investigate ancient civilizations, have come across pictorial decorations depicting the Eternal Father.

Not to be missed

To be sure not to miss any details, it is advisable to be accompanied by a guide: on your own it might be difficult to catch all the signs that have been preserved to this day. For example, could you spot the two Tombs of the Warriors? They are among the few at this site that have been found intact; it would be a shame to miss them.

A bit of history

Located on the western ridge of the ravine at the foot of the Botromagno Archaeological Park, the area was continuously occupied from the 9th to the 3rd century BC. An early phase of occupation testified by the presence of hut funds related to indigenous settlements was followed, in the colonial period, by an intense frequentation of the area by the now Hellenized Peucete communities, mainly for burial purposes. Subsequent frequentation in medieval times is attested, particularly near the rock crypt there, to which the site owes its name, still bearing traces of Byzantine frescoes.

necropoli-del-padre-eterno-a-gravina-in-pugliaPh: Maria Galella (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Maria Galella

On the edge of the ravine, at the foot of the Botromagno archaeological park, the area was occupied from the 9th to 3rd centuries BC, with later medieval occupation. It owes its name to a rock crypt still bearing remains of Byzantine frescoes.


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