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A kylix from Spina.

Spina was an Etruscan port city on the Adriatic at the ancient mouth of the Po, south of the lagoon which would become the site of Venice. The site of Spina was lost until modern times, when drainage schemes in the delta of the Po River in 1922 first officially revealed a necropolis of Etruscan Spina about four miles west of the commune of Comacchio. The fishermen of Comacchio, it soon turned out, had been the source of "Etruscan" vases (actually originally imported from Greece) and other artifacts that had appeared for years on the archeological black market. The archaeological finds from the burials of Spina were discovered with the help of aerial photography. Aside from the white reflective surfaces of the modern drainage channels there appeared in the photographs a ghostly network of dark lines and light rectangles, the former indicating richer vegetation on the sites of ancient canals. Thus the layout of the ancient trading port was revealed, now miles from the sea, due to the sedimentation of the Po delta. Spina may have had a Hellenised indigenous population.[1]


  1. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen and Thomas Heine Nielsen (2004). An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis. ISBN 0198140991. In the index, p. 1390, Spina is labelled "Hell.?", where "Hell." stands for Hellenised indigenous community.

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Coordinates: 44°41′35″N 12°06′04″E / 44.6930555556°N 12.1011111111°E / 44.6930555556; 12.1011111111


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SPINA (Lat. for a thorn, or prickle, also backbone, whence spine), in architecture, the term given to the low podium wall which divided the circus of the Romans and round which the chariots ran; at each end of it was the meta or goal. On coins, gems and bas-reliefs it is shown with numerous other features on it, such as obelisks (of which those from the spina of the Circus Maximus are now in the piazzas of the Lateran and del Popolo), small aedicula or pairs of columns carrying an entablature, altars, statues, trophies, &c.

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