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History
The archaic archaeological sites
The Daunians, the Peucetians, the Greeks and the Romans
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The Daunians, the Peucetians, the Greeks and the Romans Printable versionPrintable version
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The Daunians, the Peucetians, the Greeks and the Romans
The next stable inhabitants came from the sub-coastal areas, driven inland by continual invasions by the Balkan peoples. The settlements in this period were predominantly in grottoes; the economy was agricultural and pastoral. This system continued without interruption until about the 8th century B.C.. when the Daunians and the Peucetians, populations of Illyrian origin, settled in the territory. Although tradition has it that the Ofanto was the natural boundary between Daunia and Peucezia, ancient centres located souht of the river, between Canosa and Barletta, claim to belong to Daunia. The settlements are proper villages, often on the summits of the high grounds. Gradually, between the 5th and the 4th centuries, these small villages fortified themselves with boundary walls, and the principal urban centres were connected by a proper network of roads.

With Greek colonisation, annual rotation of sowable crops was introduced, the fallow land. Near the villages, the agrarian landscape took on the shape of the typical Puglian gardened lands, while on the Murgian tablelands, the stock-raising and agriculture attack the forests that covered the highlands. The Mediterranean bush and the copse forest are reduced bit by bit with a continual progression, which will further increase in the following centuries.

In the Roman Age, the Peucetian and Daunian model undergoes a radical transformation, substantially tied to the construction of a large extra-regional road system which more closely linked the agrarian organisation to the urban centres connected with it, and that still today clearly marks the physiognomy of the Puglian and Murgian territory. In the Republican period, the main axis was the Appian Way, which connected Rome with Brindisi, by way of Benevento, passing through Venosa and Taranto. This connecting axis, which enjoyed great favour for three centuries, was later substituted by the more important Trajan's Way, a sub-coastal variant that also connected Benevento to Brindisi, passing through Canosa, Andria and Corato and its coastal duplication. In this way, an interesting reticular system was created, and is still in use today, between the coastal centres and those just inland. Farther north, was the Herculea Way, near Spinazzola, which led to Grumentum (now known as Grumo Appula).

Along these axes, the agricultural areas were organised according to the classic Roman custom of dividing public agricultural lands in lots, with its organisation in geometrical grids (710 meters per side on cardines and decumanuses) making it possible to subdivide lands among soldiers, colonists, etc. Still today, a large part of the road system in the countryside, particularly near Canosa and Canne (the most important centre of the period and even now rich in archaeological treasures), retraces the layout of this ancient system.
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