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The Neapolitan archaeologist Paola Zancani Montuoro, famous particularly for her work at the Hera sanctuary near Paestum, started the excavations at Macchiabate in 1963. She delegated the investigation of the top of the Timpone della Motta to Dr Maria W. Stoop of Leiden University. In 1965, investigation of the lower terraces was delegated to Marianne Kleibrink, then senior student at Leiden University. At Macchiabate, Paola Zancani unearthed ca. 150 tombs (Fig. 3), several of which were very rich and contained interesting objects. The excavations were concluded in 1969, because Zancani became involved in the newly started excavations at Sybaris. Zancani fully published the excavated tombs, and a selection of the objects found by her are exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum at Sibari.
Dr Stoop, who worked on the top of the Timpone della Motta, found three temples there (Fig. 4). Their first phase dates from the 7th century BC while a second, rebuilding phase could be dated to the 6th c. BC. Stoop also found a bronze plaque containing a dedication to the goddess Athena by a Greek athlete named Kleombrotos. This inscription confirmed Stoop’s hypothesis that the sanctuary had been an Athenaion. Finds of the Scavi Stoop 1963-69 including the bronze dedication plaque are also exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum at Sibari. Working on the lower terraces, Marianne Kleibrink found the remains of three 6th-century BC houses. Unfortunately, many of the finds from that area disappeared in the course of various reorganisations of the museum’s storerooms.
In the 1970s looting took place on a massive scale on the southern slope of the Timpone della Motta (Scavi Clandestini 1970). The stolen objects were transported to Switzerland and sold to many private collectors as well as to the Ny Carlsberg Museum and the Paul Getty Museum. Some were also given to the Archaeological Institute of the University of Bern. After Madeleine Mertens-Horn and Marianne Kleibrink independently identified objects in these collections as coming from the Athenaion, the institutions involved - except for the Ny Carlsberg Museum - decided to hand them over to the Sibari Museum, where a selection is now on display.
In 1985 Dr Silvana Luppino, then director of the Sibari Museum, and Dieter Mertens from the German Archaeological Institute in Rome began to re-examine the temples excavated previously by Stoop, mainly because the date assigned by her to buildings – i.e. after the destruction of Sybaris in 510BC - was unconvincing. Luppino and Mertens also excavated a section of the north slope of the Timpone, where many clandestinely dug holes were visible. They found the remains of a fourth building, as well as important votive deposits.
In 1991 the Scavi Kleibrink began, with a small staff and students from Groningen University being asisted by many students from other European Universities on Erasmus Exchange fellowships. In the course of the excavations the remains of five more Archaic houses were found, as well as a fifth temple associated with the Athenaion. Underneath the 7th-century phase of this Temple V were discovered the remains of an 8th-century BC apsidal Oenotrian building with an altar in its courtyard and a monumental vertical loom in its main hall (Fig. 5). It could also be established that the sanctuary had always been surrounded by a temenos walls.
In 2008 new excavations were initiated, directed by Professor P.A.J. Attema and Dr J. K. Jacobsen of Groningen University and Professor M. Guggisberg of Basel University. For the first time the Macchiabate was also investigated.