The San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project (SGARP) is a new transdisciplinary project that targets the archaeological past of San Giuliano, a site located approximately 70 km northwest of Rome within Marturanum Park in Lazio. SGARP’s goal is to reconstruct the long-term changes in human occupation of the San Giuliano plateau and the surrounding hills. Hundreds of rock-cut Etruscan tombs ring the plateau, while the plateau was likely the site of the associated Etruscan town. We seek to investigate the Etruscan occupation and understand the transitions that followed, including incorporation into the Roman Empire, transformations in the medieval settlement pattern, and the final abandonment of the site sometime before AD 1300.
SGARP’s inaugural season of fieldwork comprised mapping, survey, and excavation of the plateau and the Etruscan necropolis. We focused on three tasks: 1) documentation and registration of the rock-cut Etruscan tombs that ring the plateau, 2) salvage excavation of two select tombs, and 3) survey, mapping, and excavation atop the San Giuliano plateau.The SGARP team conducted a pedestrian survey to locate, map, and register the visible Etruscan tombs in the area surrounding San Giuliano. The 2016 survey was conducted using a systematic methodology of 10 m transects coupled with an opportunistic survey of likely tomb locations. The first season resulted in the registration of 471 tombs that concentrate on the escarpments of the surrounding hills/plateaus: Caiolo, Chiusa Cima, San Simone, and Greppo Cenale.
In 2016, SGARP conducted salvage excavation of two Etruscan tombs: Tomb E13-035 in the Caiolo tomb concentration, and Tomb G13-001 in the Chiusa Cima tomb concentration. Both tombs had been extensively looted and all excavated contexts were disturbed. Both tombs are simple rock cut tombs carved out of the volcanic tuff to look like the inside of houses, with carved couches for the dead. Ceramics recovered from E13-035 indicate a date of approximately 600 BC, while the ceramic assemblage inside Tomb G13-001 tentatively dates the tomb to the middle of the 6th century BC. Human remains from G13-001 indicate the presence of a minimum of six individuals, while only one femur was recovered from E13-035.
SGARP targeted the medieval ruins visible in an area known as La Rocca. Mapping of the surface ruins of La Rocca identified a fortified zone with walls surrounding a small castle complex centered on a tower that, but for the base, has now collapsed. This castle complex was likely built as part of the incastellamento process that reshaped the Italian landscape in the 10th and 11th centuries. We positioned Trench 1 within the fortified zone between the southern edge of the plateau, the base of the collapsed tower, and the narrow gate leading up and into La Rocca. The exposure revealed 1) an external wall and the base of an associated tower or bastion that together comprised a secondary line of defense inside the fortified zone of La Rocca, 2) a relatively narrow pedestrian gate leading into the walled space, and 3) a cistern just outside the wall and gate.
- Lori Baker – Baylor University, Texas
- Colleen Zori – Baylor University, Texas
- Davide Zori – Baylor University, Texas
- Alden Smith – Baylor University, Texas
- Candace Weddle – Anderson University, South Carolina
- Vaughan Grimes – Memorial University, Canada
- Veronica Ikeshoji-Orlati – Vanderbilt University
- Dennis Wilken – Kiel University
- Tina Wunderlich – Kiel University
- Nathan Elkins – Baylor University
- Steve Martin – University of California, Los Angeles
- Anderson University
- Baylor University
- Vanderbilt University
- Virgil Academy
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