The area of Biccari shows, as all the Dauni Mountains, evidence of a stable population since the prehistoric age. The most important site identified is referable to the ancient Neolithic (5 thousand years B.C.), is the one situated in the locality called Serra di Cristo, on the top of a high hill, 4.5 km southeast from Biccari.
It was a village of a seasonal nature, which in the warm months was frequented by a Neolithic farming community stationed in the valley below, among which we can mention the famous “Biccari’s Neolithic lady”, laid in a burial cave with a rich funerary treasure and remains of animal offerings. The village that dates back to 4 thousand years B.C. found in the Boschetto locality, along the right bank of the Organo ditch (700 meters above sea level) shows the same seasonal features. It is one of the highest Neolithic sites in Puglia. It is possible that in this area, as elsewhere, settlements formed along the waterways, in strategic places to control communication routes, on the top of hills or in fortified areas from where it was possible to control the valleys below. This system of scattered inhabited centers remains until the middle of the IV century B.C. when, after coming in contact with the Romans, there is a transition towards a more compact settlement, in a fortified confined area, with a more regular viability and with a better organization of civil, economic and religious areas. In these years this settlement is attested by an anthropomorphic pillar in sandstone found in Femmina Morta locality, by the archaic sites and by the rural shrines scattered around the territory.
In the Hellenistic period, we witness a significant increase of farms and necropolis, while the earlier shrines are always present. Thanks to the models coming from the new Latin colonies (the one of Luceria, 314-315 B.C.), there is the development of real urban areas. And from then on, Biccari becomes part of the Ager Lucerinus. During the Roman age there is the birth of new farms, showing significant lushness in the imperial age. In the Late Ancient age several villas of the Roman age are renovated and re-occupied; compared to those of the previous centuries are fewer but larger (as those of Masseria San Pietro locality, Femmina Morta and Renzone).
We don’t have much information about the medieval period.
The discovery of a copper wristband, made of double belt, and unique fascia in the back, engraved with a female name (Didona), may indicate the presence of one or more graves on the layers of Sant’Elena Mountain, south of Vulgano. The object could be from the late medieval period, referable to a Longobard cultural background.
Definitely, the most important medieval site is Tertiveri, hamlet of Biccari’s village, located 5 km northeast from the town. The medieval Tortiboli, of which only the ruins of a house-tower are visible today, dates back to 969 as suffragan seat of the archbishop of Benevento, and then becomes a frontier town in the XI century, situated between the areas reconquered by the Byzantine and the Longobard principality of Benevento.
Given in 1296 from Carlo II d’Angiò to Abd el Aziz, a Muslim coming from Lucera, is probably abandoned during the XIII century and in the XV century the bishop of Tertiveri is unified to the one of Lucera.
From the X-XI centuries the monastery of San Pietro in Vulgano had great importance in the organization of the territory, whose ruins had been preserved until the 1960’s. The monastery was built in an area previously occupied by a huge Roman villa.
Certainly, the monastery already existed in 1054, when a widow called Sikelgaita, inhabitant of Vaccarizza, offered her belongings to this church, “que situm est non longe a cibitate Vicari”.
This is the first time in which the name Biccari appears in written sources. In this period, we know that the area was under Byzantine influence. In those years the Catepano Basilio Bojoannes organizes a series of military outposts along the borders with Benevento’s principality.
In the same years the Catepano’s vicar, Bisanzio de Alferana, creates 2 nuclei or defensive outposts established around 2 watchtowers, the Castelluccio Valmaggiore’s tower and the one in Biccari, both still preserved.
First, Biccari’s original nucleus is fortified by Pergamo, a Norman officer part of Roberto il Guiscardo’s army, then expanded with Guglielmo d’Altavilla, his nephew.
From then on, Biccari’s history is characterized by different lordships, among which we mention the Stendardo and Caracciolo families.
In 1772 the manor passes to the Royal Court of Napoli and in 1860, after a bloody uprising, joins the Unity of Italy.
Thanks to Marlena Checchia for the translation.