The archaeological park of Sabucina contains settlements ranging from the Bronze Age (20th-16th century BC) to the Roman period. The original village has securely pre-Greek origins, it was constructed by the Sicans, who took advantage of the dominant position of the mountain over the Salso river valley.
The first phase of the Greek settlement came in the 7th century. The centre consisted of rectangular habitations, with more space between them towards the summit of the mountain. In the 6th century BC, the city wall was built, which probably contained the entire inhabited area at that time. In the 5th century the settlement was destroyed, probably by Ducetius, who is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus. Reconstruction occurred in the second half of the century; the settlement received a new layout of streets and housing plots on a different orientation, and a new city wall with rectangular towers. This settlement was abandoned in turn at the end of the fourth century, probably as a result of the Agathocles of Syracuse.
In the area at the bottom of the mountain are some Bronze Age grotticella tombs. Other important discoveries include to a hut used as a shrine and the so-called Sacello of Sabucina, a terracotta model dating to the 6th century BC, found in the area of the necropolis, which depicts a small temple with a pronaos in antis and a pitched roof surmounted by two figures of cavalrymen and two gorgoneion masks decorating the tympanum. The sacello, with other discoveries, is now kept in the Regional archaeological museum of Caltanissetta.
The discovery of this archaeological site is relatively recent; the first excavations only took place in the 1960s, when Piero Orlandini excavated the late Bronze Age huts, dating to the 13th-10th centuries BC. This was an important excavation, since Sabucina was the first village of this type to be identified in Sicily.
Today the site is accessible, thanks to a regulation of the Office of Cultural Heritage.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.