logo
  • San Calocero al Monte
  • loc. "Monte", reg. "Miranda"
  • San Calocero
  • Italy
  • Liguria
  • Provincia di Savona
  • Albenga

Credits

  • failed to get markup 'credits_'
  • AIAC_logo logo

Periods

  • No period data has been added yet

Chronology

  • 1 AD - 1700 AD

Season

    • The complex of San Calocero is one of the most important late antique and Early Christian sites in north-western Italy. Nino Lamboglia began investigations here in the 1930s, and his were the first stratigraphic excavations to be carried out on a post-Classical context. Later, in the 1980s and 90s, the site was the object of a series of campaigns undertaken by the Archaeological Superintendency of Liguria, directed by Dr. Giuseppina Spadea, with Prof. Philippe Pergola directing in the field. A large containing wall with “decreasing offsets” was uncovered, which recent studies date to the 3rd century B.C. A wall in which five arches open, partially reconstructed in the 1980s, dates to the 5th century. The interpretation of these structures remains uncertain. Between the end of the 5th and the early 6th centuries A.D., a large basilica with three aisles was built reusing earlier walls. This is the only martyrs’ church in Liguria as it houses the remains of local martyr Calocero (in actual fact an imperial functionary from Brescia who was posted to Albenga), who probably fell during Diocletian’s persecutions. The church had significant liturgical furnishings of Byzantine type, with direct parallels at San Clemente in Rome, while the latest renewal of these elements took place in the 8th century, with prestigious Lombard elements, including the known inscription of abbas Marinaces, which seems to place the ecclesiastical complex under the aegis of the Benedictine order. The events surrounding the monastery in the early middle ages are less clear, when the saint’s relics were wholly or partly moved to the monastery at Civitate in Lombardy (9th century). The fortunes of the cult site revived in the 13th century culminating in the establishment of an important convent at the end of the 14th century, later definitively abandoned in 1593. The 2014 excavations, aimed at answering a number of questions that were left unresolved by the unexpected interruption of the investigation in the 1980s. Work thus concentrated on two _sondages_: one placed in front of the façade of the late antique church and the other on the upper terrace of the convent, in the attempt to understand what lay around the religious complex. However, the early medieval stratigraphy was not intercepted because a cobblestone floor, probably put down in the 14th century, had caused the area to be levelled with the consequent removal of a large amount of terrain. The excavation will continue in this sector as narrow walls, which appear joined at 90°, and certainly relate to an earlier phase (imperial?) were seen below the earliest tombs. The upper _sondage_ revealed evidence of interesting traces of the late medieval quarry which, from the late 1300s, was used in the construction of the convent or for its restructuring not long afterwards. Another small _sondage_ on the upper terrace remains to be completed in 2015, when a _sondage_ should also be opened in the main nave, in the hope that the early medieval stratigraphy is preserved there.
    • The complex of San Calocero is one of the most significant late antique and Early Christian sites in north-western Italy. Nino Lamboglia began the first excavations here in the 1930s, and gained his first experience of stratigraphic archaeology on this site. Between the 1980s and 1990s, the Archaeological Superintendency of Liguria, carried out a series of excavation campaigns directed by Dr. G. Spadea and Prof. P. Pergola. The aim of the 2015 campaign was to continue excavating the facade area (Trench VI b), and to open a new area, which – although small – served to investigate a sector of the central nave (Trench X). Trench IV b: A masonry-built vat-shaped structure was uncovered on the west side of the _sondage_, interpretable as the site of a cremation (_bustum_) of late imperial date. A preliminary study of the grave goods suggests a date between the mid 3rd century and the early 4th century. Subsequently, in the late antique period (c. within the 6th century), a series of burials were placed in a privileged position facing the entrance to the funerary church. The discovery of the late imperial _bustum_ appears to indicate that the area was already used as a cemetery in antiquity. Trench X The most important evidence comes from a context that also seems to be late imperial. In particular the surviving portion of a cobblestone surface was exposed at a level compatible both with the razing of the late-Roman enclosure (probably a funerary monument), on which the Early Christian church was built, and with that of a drainage hole made in the wall itself, showing that there must have been a drainage system just below floor level. What remained of a walled rectangular structure opening up against the northern edge of the trench and almost completely removed by Lamboglia in 1938 can be dated to the late antique period. Although doubts about the function of this structure remain, it should be noted that stratigraphically it lies in an intermediate phase between the late Roman cobble surface and the foundations of the 6th century church. This structure was on the same alignment as the late Roman _bustum_, while the 6th century church seemed to have a different orientation. This would suggest a rather early date for the structure, perhaps within the 4th century. Another tomb structure was uncovered that had been completely and carefully emptied of skeletal remains. It was from a later period which is difficult to date for the moment (late antique/early medieval?). Further excavation and the phasing of the various burials will provide a more precise interpretation of this structure. Lastly, a burial dating to between the 9th and 14th centuries presented marked anomalies: the bones appeared to have been completely burnt at another site. The remains were then buried in a grave covered by a heap of stones.

Bibliography

    • G. Spadea, P. Pergola, S. Roascio, 2010, Albenga. Un antico spazio cristiano. Chiesa e monastero di San Calocero al Monte: un complesso archeologico dal I d.C. al XVI secolo”, Genova.
    • PERGOLA, PH., ROASCIO, S., DELLÙ, E,. Esorcizzare la paura della morte in età medievale. Una sepoltura prona da San Calocero di Albenga (SV), in V., Nizzo L., La Rocca (Ed.), Archeologia e Antropologia della morte. III incontro di studi di Antropologia e Archeologia a confronto (Roma, 20-22 maggio 2015). Roma, in c.d.s.
    • PERGOLA, P., SPADEA G., ROASCIO, S., DELLU, E., CASTIGLIA, G., SVEVO, G. VALENTE, R., (2015). Il complesso di San Calocero ad Albenga alla luce dei nuovi dati (campagna di scavo in concessione al Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana del 2014). Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana, (90): 323-379.