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CAVE DI CUSA

 
  • Cusa Quarries
Cusa Quarries
The most visible and moving traces from ancient times are to be found in the Cusa Quarries from which the Greek colonies from the nearby Selinunte (founded in the VII century B.C.) extracted 150.000 metres cubed of tuff, which the area is rich in, to make building materials for their cities and magnificent temples.This is an extraordinary place, 11 km away from Selinunte, unique in the archaeological world which creates, with its vegetation, a great suggestive atmosphere: here time has stood still since 409 B.C when Hannibal, son of Giscone, took the inhabitants of Selinunte by surprise, besieged the city and destroyed it.In the quarry area, about. 1,7 Km long , on diverse rough and green levels, the extraction activity and the preparation work and transport of the rocks was interrupted due to the threat of the Carthaginians and never started again: some rough or incomplete stones were left in the state they were in, others which had already been cut and were ready, were left abandoned on the ground, while others which were about to be transported to Selinunte were offloaded along the road. Here one can see the procedure used to carve out, with scalpels and hammers, the blocks used for the columns. The circular incisions in the rock indicate the initial extraction work, which was followed by the deeper digging around the block until it could be extracted; this, once cut, would probably be covered in a wooden framework and transferred onto a solid wagon pulled by oxen. Seeing the deep cuts around the two enormous rocks left attached to the bottom of the calcareous bank and the incisions on the rocks is a moving and suggestive experience. The present name of the quarry (Cusa) refers to an ex-owner Baron Cusa.

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