My first archaeological excavation … my first love

Hi Guys,

today I want to tell you about my first archaeological excavation, which took place in 2009, the Parish of Santa Reparata (FC-Italy).

This excavation not only made me realize how much I really loved archaeology and excavation, but it made me fall in love with the Middle Ages, the Christianization of countryside and the burials, even though in this excavation I still didn’t know how much really loved these latter XD.

At the beginnings I really felt like a fish out of water, like a child who was on the first day of school. I was already at the first year of University, and so I was settling into a new routine, a new city and new people, I just missed being a digger freshman XD.

But as in all situations I settled in a few days, not only to live with many strangers bigger than me, but also in the worksite, showing so much willpower and physics, although I was so thin at that time … but as we know in archaeology it is not a question of force, but a question of levers.

This was my first great love that I will carry forever in my heart. This excavation was so complete that it was the best didactic excavation that I’ve ever done, I could use techniques that would now be defined as “obsolete”, but which are at the base of all the innovative documentation techniques used nowadays.

Precisely for these reasons, at the third year of the University I decided to do my Bachelor thesis on the Parish of Santa Reparata, concentrating especially on the study of burials, both from a taphonomic and physical point of view.

I leave you with a summary of the excavation campaigns.

The Parish of Santa Reparata is located between the villages of Terra del Sole and Castrocaro Terme (FC).

The study of the church was divided into two excavation campaigns, conducted in 2006 and 2009.

This parish is a certificate of considerable importance in the architectural panorama of Romagna. This is because despite the changes in purpose of use of the building of worship, the original structure and the peculiar characteristics of Romanesque art are clearly present.

The archaeological excavation has highlighted the presence of a complex settlement, characterized by the prolonged occupation of the site from the Roman age. In fact, in this phase there is the presence of a small apsed room, probably to refer to a larger villa.

The construction of a cruciform-shaped cult building, articulated in a central nave culminating in a circular apse with two lateral rooms, is due to late antiquity. Inside and outside the church there is a cemetery area dating back to the VI-VII century. The cruciform church remains in use for a long time, so much to be identifiable with the early medieval church mentioned in the written sources of the X century.

During the medieval phase the church is divided into a system with three naves divided by six bays supported by five pairs of cruciform pillars. There is also a cemetery area adjacent to the facade and the north aisle.

The subsequent Romanesque phase is evidenced by the presence of traces of a vast crypt originally placed under the presbytery of the central nave but probably also present in the terminal part of the side aisles. During the construction of the church, a bell casting system was built in the nave in front of the crypt.

During the Renaissance the parish underwent the drastic reduction of the volumes to a single part of the central nave, which was decorated with a cycle of frescoes, and a raised presbytery emphasized by a stairway and serene stone capitals with a floral motif to support the cross-vaulting roof.

The consecration of the homonymous church of Santa Reparata, during the XVII century, inside the Medicean citadel of Santa Reparata probably marked the end of the rural parish that was gradually demolished and intended for residential and agricultural use.


Margherita C., 2012, The burials of the parish of Santa Reparata (FC), Bachelor thesis, University of Bologna

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