(In Montecalvo Irpino territory - AV)


In a marsh of Malvizza, in Montecalvo countryside, there are some puddles of perennial bubbling mud that locally are called “Le Bolle” (The Bubbles).
Not far from that marsh of Malvizza, a name a bit sinister-sounding, there was in ancient times an Italic temple that was probably dedicated to an important goddess in the Samnite pantheon, Mephites. That goddess is thought to have been linked in rituals to Hell by the Samnites, and, consequently, if we consider classical mythology, to the seasons’ cycle, especially spring and autumn, as it was the case of the Latin Proserpina and the Greek Persephone; and, a thing most relevant for Malvizza (which was a junction of many green track ways and a sheep resting place along the most ancient and important transhumance trail that began in Pescasseroli –Abruzzi - and ended at Candela - Apulia), Mephites was also invoked in fertility rituals for the wellbeing of millions of animals (mostly, sheep herds) which passed and rested at Malvizza, in spring and autumn, during their alternate seasonal migrations.
Transhumance, which in our territory has lasted till the Fifties of last century, traced back its beginning to times immemorial in prehistory. It had been, first of all, a spontaneous migration of free-roaming animal herds which sought alternatively mountain grass lands, in spring, and in autumn, grass lands in the plane. But in the course of time became an organized transferring of livestock (sheep) by the various people who one after another settled in the territory of transhumance ( people of the Apennine civilization, Samnites, Romans, etc.)
Thanks to dr. Roberto Patrevita, of the Archaeological Museum of Ariano Irpino, we have learned that some archaeological findings pertaining to an Italic temple have been recently discovered at Malvizza during excavations for a watering reservoir dam; among them a earthen plate (an antefix of the temple pediment) with a relief of a woman face in profile, which is believed to be of Mephites herself. The precious plate is now at Benevento entrusted to the “Sovrintendenza per i beni archeologici delle province di Benevento, Avellino e Salerno” ( we don’t know if the public has access to it).
Dr. Patrevita told us also that Italic temples dedicated to Mephites are to be found almost everywhere along the Pescasseroli-Candela trail, one not far from Malvizza, at the outskirts of Casalbore, another important resting place of the trail (a temple probably destroyed during the Second Punic War, in 217 B.C.), and another in Greci territory, whose findings are now in the Archaeological Museum of Ariano Irpino.
In one of our photos it is possible to see at a distance the centenary oak which dominates the archaeological site of Aequum Tuticum
(Sect. n. )


© Museo virtuale delle valli del MISCANO e dell' UFITA