parco archeologico manduria
Owing to its geographical position, the area was a crossroads for many Mediterranean peoples. Some of them coming from across the Aegean and Adriatc seas settled in the region and were know by the Greeks as the Iapiges. The word Messapian means "people that live between two seas". According to Plutarch, the Spartan King Archidamus, died in a battle fought under the city walls against the Lucanians in 338 BC. They had a structured society, grew vines and olive trees and were famous horse-breeders, in fact Vithil hinted in his epic poem, The Aeneid. Manduria is renowned for its megalithic walls, the best preserved among the Messapian centres in the whole Salento territory. The defensive system of this Messapian centre consisted of a duble circle of walls made up of huge stone blocks, deep ditches, city gates, defensive towers and narrow passages. Close to the walls, numerous tombs have been discovered: they have a rectangular shape and a central cavity. These tombs have broght to light rich grave goods including vases, jewellery, pottery and the typical vessels called Trozzelle. GPS: 40.405748, 17.644564