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Θάψος (Greek)
File:Tomb of Thapsos6.JPG
Thapsos had a large necropolis of cave tombs with vertical entrance shafts or dromos entry-corridors.
Thapsos is located in Italy
Shown within Italy
Location Priolo Gargallo, Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Type Settlement
Site notes
Condition Ruined
Ownership Public
Management Soprintendenza BB.CC.AA. di Siracusa
Public access Yes
Website Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi

Thapsos (Greek: Θάψος) was a prehistoric village in Sicily of the middle Bronze Age. It was found by the Italian archaeologist Paolo Orsi on the small peninsula of Magnisi, near Priolo Gargallo. In its vicinity was born the Culture of Thapsos, one of the most important prehistoric cultures in Sicily (identified with the people of Sicani).


File:Tomb of Thapsos5.JPG
A rock-cut tomb in the necropolis

The site is very interesting for its village - the first known city in Sicily[citation needed] - and for its rich necropolis. David Abulafia writes:

A settlement at Thapsos, an offshore island in eastern Sicily, offers evidence of a sophisticated, imported culture, Mycenaean in origin. The settlers created a grid-like town with streets up to four metres wide, spacious houses built round courtyards, and tombs full of Late Helladic wares from the Greek lands, suggesting 'a veritable foreign colony on the site'. Indeed, the closest analogy to the layout of the houses in Thapsos is to be found at the other end of the Mycenaean world, on Cyprus, at Enkomi near Famagusta. It is almost as if a blueprint for a trading colony had been created and then transformed into reality at both ends of the Mycenaean world. Thapsos has yielded very many small perfume containers of Mycenaean origin. For it was a centre of industry, specializing in the production of perfumed oils for an 'international' market. But Thapsos was not simply an offshoot of Mycenae. It produced plenty of coarse grey pottery in Sicilian styles, indicating that Thapsos contained a mixed population.[1]


  1. David Abulafia, The Great Sea:A Human History of the Mediterranean (Oxford University Press, 2011; ISBN 019975263X), pp. 34-35.


  • S. Tusa, La Sicilia nella Preistoria, second edition, Palermo 1992.

External links