Technically, the name of this small, new, excellent museum in Succivo (one of the Atellan
communities) is the "Museo archaeologico dell'agro atellano." In Italian, "agro" is a cultivated field,
as opposed to a "campo", an open field or even a wild area. Thus, while we may translate "Campi
Flegrei" as "Flegrean Fields," we have to look for something else for "archaeologico dell'agro
atellano" such as "farmland archaeology." Since I don't know the technical archaeological term in
English for that, that will have to do.
In any event, it requires some explanation. A straight line north from the city of Naples for the
seven or eight miles to Orta di Atella leads you through solid concrete--wall-to-wall anonymous
communities of slab architectural drear, the result of decades of overbuilding. Fields start to become
evident only when you get past the east-west state road just beyond Atella. The entire area, of
course, was once upon a time almost nothing but cultivated area--open farmland. And the entire
area is archaeologically very rich; thousands of years of human culture have come and gone in the
area, from anonymous nomads of pre-history to Etruscans to Greeks to Oscans to Romans, not to
mention the subsequent inhabitants after the fall of the Roman Empire and on into the Middle Ages.
The museum is dedicated to the ages up to and including the Roman Empire. The museum opened
in 2002, 40 years after urban development of the farmland started to uncover a treasue trove of
archeaological items beneath the soil; that is, Oscan-Samnite graves and burial artifacts, temple and
dwelling ruins, miscellaneous Greek ceramics, Oscan coins, even ancient rubbish dumps. Such
development continues; the new US Naval Support Site at Gricignano (one of the "Atellan
communities") uncovered so much material during excavation for construction that a section of the
second floor of the museum is given over to just that site. That display is extremely interesting
archaeology in that it documents early contact between the newly established Greek colonies of
Cuma and Neapolis (Naples) with the indigenous populations of the interior.
The ground floor has seven display rooms:
-prehistoric remains from the Bronze Age (2000-1800 b.c.);
-necroplis items and ceramics, some of which were uncovered in the 1920s during new railway
-necropolis items from nearby Caivano;
-items from the area around Aversa, uncovered during railway construction in the 1920s;
-urban archaeology of the ancient town of Atella, itself; that is, fragments of the city wall, etc.;
-a display of eight continuous centuries (4th b.c. to 4th a.d.) of the "suburban" necropli of Atella,
their placement more or less showing the profile of the ancient town, itself. Much of this material
was excavated in the 1990s;
-artifacts from the Roman necropolis in the area.
One of the goals of the museum is to serve as a teaching tool for local elementary schools; thus,
besides the standard brochure, the museum has printed material especially for school children. The
address of the museum is Via Roma 7 in the town of Succivo. Information at tel. 081 5012701.