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Pre and proto-historic settlement at “Le Motte di Sotto” – San Martino di Lupari

Via Santa Colomba 2 – 35018 San Martino di Lupari (PD)

The site at “Le Motte di Sotto” allows the visit to a pre and protohistoric settlement. The site is constituted by an embankment that was built during Bronze age and which was restructured at the beginning of Iron age. It also includes the living area contained therein, which today is not visible in its structural elements.

History of research

The site was discovered at the end of the XIX century by the geologist Tellini. Between 1984 and 1986 the General Direction for Archaeological Heritage in the Veneto region conducted three archaeological campaigns which allowed to verify the nature and the chronology of the site.

Urban and geographical context

The pre and proto-historic site at “Le Motte” is located close to the springs area, in the middle plains, at an average altitude of 50 metres above sea level and between the municipalities of “San Martino di Lupari” and “Castello di Godego”.


XIII-XII sec. B.C. (Bronze age)
IX-VIII sec. B.C. (Iron age)


The toponym “Motte” refers to a four-sided embankment that contains an area of about 47.380 squared metres and which was inhabited in pre and protohistoric times. Of this whole site today it is possible to see part of the embankment (A), which is accessible on its eastern side.
The most ancient phase of this site dates back to the middle Bronze age and particularly to the XIV-XIII century B.C., which have been documented through excavations. However, the main phase of the settlement dates to the recent Bronze age (XIII—XII century B.C.) and it is very well documented by the archaeological finds. To this phase pertain: the embankment, which is still visible today all covered with vegetation, the external moat, which is mostly inexistent today, and the inside living area, which was buried back after the excavations.
The embankment (A) has a defensive function and measures 230 metres on its major side and 206 on its minor side. It has an elevation of 4 metres above the fields level. It was made of earth heaps which had most likely been dug from the adjacent moat and it was apparently consolidated by a system of vertical ground-fixed wooden poles and of horizontal planks that connected them. This system is suggested by the finding of some pole holes that were coherently distributed along the embankment.
Within the embankment the excavations allowed to discover a group of pit structures and walking surfaces that suggest an intense human settlement activity. The bronze, stone and pottery artefacts that were found here are today partially conserved at the Civic Museum “Torre di Malta” in Cittadella. Excavations data and laboratory analyses have allowed to understand that the site economy was based on the cultivation of cereals and on bovine and ovine breeding, as it is testified by the findings.
During Iron age (end IX-VIII century B.C.) the embankment was renovated, most likely after a landslide.


Visitability: Esterno e Interno

Ticket: No

School access

Opening Times

Recommended tour time (minutes): 80

Educational Services

Information boards


Valery C., Marchetti P. 1979, Un abitato dell’età del Bronzo presso le Motte di Castello di Godego, Treviso.
Bianchin Citton E. 1985, San Martino di Lupari (PD), Castello di Godego (TV) – Le Motte di Sotto, in Aquileia Nostra, LVI, pp. coll. 460-462.
Bianchin Citton E., Pasqualin A. 1990, Il villaggio arginato de "Le Motte di Sotto": geografia, morfologia, tutela, San Martino di Lupari.
Veneto e Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Guide Archeologiche Preistoria e Protostoria in Italia) 1996, a cura di Aspes A., Fasani L., Forlì, pp. 166-173.
Bonetto J. 2009, Veneto (Archeologia delle Regioni d’Italia), Roma, pp. 481-482.

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