Alatri in the Sky with Diamonds

Resisting Romanization in present-day Italy

Keywords: Alatri, identity, polygonal masonry, fanta-archaeology, multivocality


This article focuses on the Cyclopean masonry walls of the city of Alatri, in the Latium Vetus, and on their role in the present identity-building process. Traditional chronology for these structures — now also supported by data from stratigraphic excavations — places them in the 4th century BC, in the context of the Samnite Wars, in which this city of Hernician origin fought as an ally of Rome. Alternative theories, with deep roots in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and widespread among the inhabitants of Alatri, date these imposing walls many centuries earlier, and ascribe their construction to a group of Hittites who were fleeing from their capital Hattusa in Asia Minor and settled in central Italy. Dealing with pseudo-archaeologists and amateur scholars and their relationship to scientific archaeology, the case study addressed in this paper deals with the widespread problem of the relationship between mainstream archaeology and pseudo-archaeology, and their role in the identity-building process based on archaeological discourses.
The complex problem of the relationship between the adoption of a multivocal approach and the dissemination of scientific results among society will also be analysed, also through a comparison with the case of Sardinia.