Monte Vairano
The Samnite Fortification and Settlement
Busso (CB), Molise, Italy

    Monte Vairano has the most extensive circuit of fortification walls in Pentrian Samnium (2.9 km), enclosing some 49 hectares, but its ancient name cannot be ascertained with certainty. The walls, which date to the late 4th century BCE, contain three gates: the Porta Vittoria or Victory Gate, the Porta Meridionale or South Gate, and the Porta Occidentale or West Gate.

    Just inside the South Gate, along a 4 meter-wide street, has been excavated a structure of uncertain purpose. Dated to the 2nd century BCE, it contained various pieces of pottery inscribed with the letters "LN" in the Oscan alphabet, and it has therefore become known as the casa di LN or "'LN' House." This structure was destroyed by fire early in the 1st century BCE.

    Two extramural kilns have thus far been discovered, while a third was found to have been built into the Porta Vittoria at some point in the third century BCE.

Selected Bibliography:

  • G. De Benedittis, Il centro sannitico di Monte Vairano presso Campobasso (Documenti di antichita italiche e romane 5) (1974). Campobasso.
  • ---, Monte Vairano: la casa di 'LN'. Catalogo della mostra (1988). Campobasso.
  • ---, "Monte Vairano," in La romanisation du Samnium aux IIe et Ier siecles av. J.-C. (1991), Naples. pp. 47-55.
  • S.P. Oakley, The Hill-forts of the Samnites (1995). Archaeological Monographs of the British School at Rome 10, pp. 113-115, 149-151.


View of South Gate looking northwest toward "LN" house.
South Gate and section of fortification wall to east.
View through South Gate towards southeast.
Southwest foundation of South Gate.
Southern outlook from area of housing southwest of South Gate.
Fortification wall, Porta Vittoria at immediate left.
Porta Vittoria looking west.
North section of Porta Vittoria.
View from terracing looking southwest.
Central area after 2005 excavations.
Central excavations, 2005.
Central excavations, 2005.
Central excavations, 2005.

Page created and maintained by Dan Diffendale.
Last updated April 27, 2007.