Maps of the Antique
Pottery and ceramics
The city of Gnathia was located on the Adriatic coast, at the limit between the Peucetian and the Massapian territories (today Egnazia, between Bari and Brindisi). It occupied a small peninsula which was already inhabited at the late Bronze Age (1400-1300 B.C.), and later protected by heavy fortifications in order to form an acropolis. At the 5th century B.C., Messapians built a city wall which was about 2 km long and 7 m high, in order to defend the city on the side of the land. The maritime side seems to have been fortified only around the acropolis. Several necropoles were identified. Rich messapian tombs were discovered at the 19th century.
In the middle of the 3rd century, the city fell into the hands of the Romans, who provided it with a basilica, a theatre, a forum and temples. Workshops, houses and shops are located along the Via Traiana which crosses the center of Gnathia and offers an alternative to the old via Appia, which leads from Rome to Brindisi. A port was also built at the north of the acropolis.