Museum of Campobasso Sannitico

Museo sannitico di Campobasso - Atrio

Museum of Campobasso Sannitico

Via Chiarizia, 10
86100 Campobasso (CB)

Phone 0874 427360
Fax 0874 427352

Orario di apertura:

Mattina: 9:00-15:00
Pomeriggio: 15:30-17:30
Aperto tutti i giorni

The museum was founded in 1881 and housed, together with the Provincial Library, in the Palazzo Prefettura. The first catalogue of the materials was made by the archaeologist Antonio Sogliano, who published the Inventario in 1889. Since that time the museum and the library have moved to a number of different locations until, in1995, the Museum found a home is in the Palazzo Mazzarotto. This 16th century structure was originally owned by a religious order, later becoming the private residence of a wealthy family.

The museum layout: Samnium through the ages

Chronological order:

Chronological order:

Section I: Along the Adriatic routes torna su

CampomarinoThe first settlements

The village of Campomarino, situated at a short distance from the Adriatic coast, is the site of a late Bronze Age - early Iron Age settlement characterised by an irregular defensive wall, a palisade and moat, which enclosed and defended the dwellings built inside. The large huts had a rectangular plan with an apse and were built from wooden poles and covered with clay. Inside these structures there were pottery vessels for the cooking and consumption of food, various implements and objects used for spinning and weaving, hearths and cooking stands and large vessels for storing foodstuffs.

Hunting, stock raising and agriculture

Excavations at the village of Campomarino revealed numerous remains of domestic and wild animal bones and a large amount of seeds. These finds show that hunting, stock raising and agricultural activities were undertaken on the site. Among the domestic animals cattle were the predominant type and deer and fox were the most prevalent type of wild animal. In addition to finds of cereals (especially wheat and barley), it is interesting to note that grape seeds were also present, an indication of wine production from cultivated not wild vines. Broad beans and peas were also cultivated, and had been cleaned before being stored.

Section II: The Amber Roadtorna su

Il sannio frentanoSamnium of the Frentani

Numerous sites are present in the area of the Frentani, situated in the zone to the south of the river Biferno, along the coast and further inland. The area is characterised by extensive tablelands suitable for agriculture. The 6th century B.C. settlements were connected with farmland but were also situated along the main trading routes. These routes brought both raw materials and luxury goods, including bronze vessels and bucchero pottery from Etruscan centres, while amber was imported from northern Europe via the Adriatic routes. The transformations that occurred in this region during the 5th to 4th century B.C. period are most clearly reflected by the abandonment of the necropolises or cemeteries scattered throughout the coastal area and the appearance of the practice of cremation. This is probably an indication of the increasing centralisation of the population in larger settlements, connected in some way with the emergence of a socially and economically dominant elite.

Necropolises in the coastal area: Termoli, Larino, San Giuliano di Puglia and Guglionesi

These necropolises of the archaic period (6th century B.C.) show common characteristics such as the choice of sites on high ground, and the circular arrangement of the groups of burials situated outside the settlement. These burials were characterised by simple earth graves of various depths, covered with slabs or cobblestones which at Larino, and perhaps at Termoli, were used to form tumuli. A tomb with a stone circle was found at San Giuliano di Puglia. The funerary ritual was usually that of inhumation burial. Subsequently, from the 5th century B.C. onwards, a small number of cremations are attested.


Three cemeteries have been identified at Guglionesi, all dating from the late 7th to the 4th century B.C., and all located in a panoramic position overlooking the Sinarca valley and facing towards the sea. The cemeteries of S. Margherita and Ripatagliata were constituted by two groups of earth graves, one dating to the end of the 6th-5th century B.C. (6 graves), and the second dating from the 4th to 3rd century B.C. (9 graves). Lastly, the third cemetery, found at S. Adamo, was characterised by the presence of some very deep burials, lined and covered with large stone slabs.

Section III: Gentes fortissimae italiaetorna su

Fortificazione_Monte-San-Paolo---Colli-a-Volturno The fortified settlements


The Samnite hill-fort of Monte Saraceno at Cercemaggiore, overlooks a mountainous area and was built in two distinct phases. It was part of a defensive circuit formed by the fortified sites of Colle S. Croce (Vinchiaturo), Ferrazzano, Monte Vairano, Campobasso and Terravecchia di Sepino, which controlled an area characterised by the presence of a number of communication routes, some of which were drove-roads.

The sanctuaries


The sanctuary at Gildone was situated at the foot of the mountain of the same name. A number of plaques and antefixes from its architectural decoration, and several ex-votos have been found on the site. Another small cult building was also found at Gildone (in the locality of Morgia della Chiusa), associated with the use of a small burial ground.

The Necropolises
  • Gildone, Morgia della Chiusa


The cemetery comprised just over twenty tombs, dating to between the end of the 5th B.C. and the end of the 4th century B.C.

Section IV: From Samnites to Romanstorna su

Immagine non disponibileUrban centres
Le ville nel territorio
  • Roccavivara
  • San Martino in Pensilis
  • San Giacomo degli Schiavoni
The Necropolises
  • S. Giuliano di Puglia

In addition to the archaic necropolis (6th-5th century B.C.), this area was characterised in the Roman period by the presence of a farm producing olive oil. A monumental tomb (tomb 10) was found near this structure. Built in the 1st century A.D., it had a square plan and two levels of burials. A female adult was buried on the first level, the second housed the bodies of two adults and one child, all male, buried within a short time of each other. The presence of this second level attests the subsequent reuse of this funerary monument, when the upper section had already begun to collapse.


At Larino, in the area of the present day railway station, the Roman necropolis is situated beside the road which, as it does today, linked the Frentanan town with the interior of the Samnite territory (Bojano). This area was damaged at the end of 1800’s by the construction of the Termoli-Campobasso railway and Larino station. At the time many funerary inscriptions were found which are still housed in the Provincial Samnite Museum at Campobasso. Use of this site for funerary purposes continued for centuries, although intermittently, from the end of the 8th century B.C. onwards. A large number of cremation burials at this site date to the period between the end of the 1st and the 3rd century A.D.

Section V: The Avar horsementorna su

campochiaro-necropoliThe early medieval cemeteries of Campochiaro: Vicenne and Morrione

The two cemeteries (dating to the late 6th and 7th century A.D.) are situated along the Pescasseroli-Candela drove-road, about a kilometre away from each other. The hundreds of burials (male, female and infant) were in earth graves, arranged in parallel lines, and orientated West-East. The grave goods comprised personal ornaments, weapons and vessels (small jars or jugs). The female burials contained personal objects including glass-paste and amber necklaces, bone combs and gold, silver or bronze earrings, including so-called globe earrings, of Avar type. A small number of these burials (about 5% of the total) are of warriors who were buried together with their horses: these burials are exceptional in terms of the form of the tomb, funerary ritual and the ornaments present. The grave goods were very rich and included, among other things, arrow and spear heads, belts with silver-inlaid pendants, swords with one or two cutting edges, shield bosses, and, for the horse, crownpiece, studs, bits and stirrups. The burial of man and horse in the same grave is an “Asian” type ritual, with a long tradition originating with the horsemen of the Eurasian steppes. It highlights the importance of the horse in the context of both military tactics and social standing and the broader significance of the role played by the cavalry.