The Archaeological Park of Compsa is located in a vast hilly area near the Ofanto river, occupied until 23 November 1980 by the town of Conza della Campania, which was devastated by the earthquake.
The site contains the ruins of Compsa, the ancient Conza, a town that followed the events of the Hirpini, one of the four Samnite tribes defeated by the Romans in the Battle of Benevento in 275 BC. Handed over to Hannibal by Statius Trebius during the Second Punic War, it was taken back by Quintus Fabius Maximus in 214 BC and later became municipium . By the 6th century AD, Compsa was already an Episcopal seat and possessed the churches of Santa Maria de Foris and San Mauro. Plundered by the Lombards in 570 and subsequently annexed to the Principality of Salerno, its history was marked by many earthquakes, including the one of 25 October 990 that forced the population to move up the hill, near the castle.
From the mid-15th century, Conza was administered by the Gesualdo family, but by then it had already lost the importance of previous centuries.
Another earthquake, on 23 November 1980, caused the destruction of the pre-existing built-up area and, a few years later, the existence of archaeological finds of considerable value came to light.
Following an intensive excavation campaign carried out since 1981 by Prof. Werner Johannowsky, the forum, the amphitheatre, the baths, the ancient cathedral and the column-emblem emerged, as well as a series of finds of various kinds, such as epigraphs, sarcophagi and mosaics, some of which date back to the Iron Age and are housed in a museum set up in a renovated building within the area.
The Park also seeks to preserve the historical memory of the 1980 earthquake: some of the houses gutted by the earthquake can still be seen, together with the bathroom tiles and domestic furnishings.
In 1988, the entire historic centre was subjected to archaeological constraints and in 2003 the "Historical and Archaeological Park of Compsa" was finally inaugurated. The importance of ancient Compsa derives from the very definition of "archaeological park", that is: "a structure designed to enhance a limited area with archaeological presences of relevant value created and organised both for the conservation of the contained goods and for the protection of the site and the territory with its main historical-architectural-environmental characteristics".
The result of an intense excavation, restoration and valorisation project, the Compsa Archaeological Park has brought to light a complex building stratification that represents the palimpsest of over two thousand years of history.
Parco Archeologico di Compsa
Via Belvedere Belgio, 1, 83040, Conza della Campania AV, Italia