1700 years B.C. in the middle Bronze Age a local population, settled in the southern part of the Tavoliere on the bank of the Ofanto river, built many Hypogea i.e. underground structures used as place of worship. This is the case of a mysterious population able to build a very ambitious architectonic project in the bowels of the earth.
In order to discover these ancient and enchanting places of worship let’s begin from San Ferdinando di Puglia.
Let’s visit the Hypogea of Terra di Corte located very near to the centre of the city, an area of 5000 sqm. Currently some of the archaeological finds are collected in the Civic Museum of the city, in which a section is completely dedicated to the great historical ages ranging from the Neolithic villages to the rural Daunian settlements.
Let’s move to Trinitapoli. Here, in a naturalistic scenario, enriched by the polychromatic effect of the Saline there are the Hypogea. As far as the Bronze Age is concerned, the Hypogeum of Bronzi is considered a unique example in its kind both for the size of the building and the great number of religious rites here celebrated.
In the area of Canosa, however, it is possible to visit the Lagrasta Hypogeum (IV-I cent. B.C.), the most important funeral complex of the region as a whole. The Hypogum of Oplita and the Hypogeum of Cerbero are also very important thanks to their pictorial decorations.
Not far from the land of the Hypogea different populations built megalithic funeral monuments: the dolmen, i.e collective graves. They were built one next to the other in the area between Bisceglie and Corato. Currently only five of the many Dolmen remain intact. Probably the Dolmen were graves assigned to the most important family in the community of that period.
The Della Chianca Dolmen, the most famous in Europe, stands in Bisceglie in an ancient olive trees and wild nature scenario. Very similar to the Chianca Dolmen is the Paladini Dolmen in the Corato area. As for the Chianca Dolmen, this structure stands in Lama di Santa Croce area, next to the San Magno necropolis.
Today the populations which built the hypogea, the Dolmen and the Menhir are still little know, but what is certain is that the building of these structures was labour-intesive. For this reason we can assume that this area was a sort of holy place that attracted many believers.
For the Archaeology-enthusiasts a visit to the archaeological Museum in Bisceglie and Trinitapoli is not to miss.
In the archaeological Museum of Bisceglie six section provided with illustrated panels allow visitors to chronologically go through the different stages of the local archaeology ranging from the Palaeolithic finds, uncovered in the prehistoric station of Grotta S. Croce, to the Neolithic pottery together with a precious Roman cinerary urn dating back to the 1st cent. A.C The archaeological Museum of Trinitapoli, however, boasts prehistoric and archaeological finds together with the “Giant of Trinitapoli” found next to the Archaeological Park of the Hypogea. Of particular interest is the discovery of two little ivory objects. They are extraordinary beautiful and well-made, and it is highly probable that they were
imported from the eastern Mediterranean