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The San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project (SGARP) is an interdisciplinary research program and field school in central Italy that targets the archaeological past of San Giuliano, a site located approximately 70 km northwest of Rome within Marturanum Park in ancient Etruria. Hundreds of rock-cut Etruscan chamber tombs ring a plateau that was 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, interactions in the medieval period as the plateau was transformed into a fortified settlement on the borderlands between the Papal States and the Holy Roman Empire, and the final abandonment of the site before AD 1300.

SGARP has conducted fieldwork since 2015, investigating changes in the human occupation of the San Giuliano plateau. We focus on the Etruscan occupation of the site (700-300 BC) and its reoccupation during the medieval process of incastellamento (castle-building) that reshaped the Italian political landscape around AD 1000. We have mapped over 550 previously undocumented Etruscan chamber tombs and excavated five of these in an effort to salvage the Etruscan archaeological remains that is under continued threat from grave robbers. Atop the plateau, we have uncovered a medieval tower and feasting hall, as well as a chapel and associated graveyard. A long-term goal of our project is to help the local community of Barbarano Romano save and develop their cultural heritage with tourist infrastructure in the under-visited Marturanum regional park, injecting financial resources into the town of Barbarano Romano and the surrounding region. In addition, we seek to disseminate information about the cultural history of rural Lazio though the development of museum exhibits in Italy and the United States.

Measurable project outcomes include recovered artifacts, unearthed ancient buildings, and new data for understanding settlement shifts in inland Etruria, including the origins of San Giuliano’s Etruscan population and the medieval castle-building phenomenon. Excavation, analysis, and conservation continue to undergird scholarly publications and museum exhibitions in the town of Barbarano Romano and at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

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Etruscan Archaeology Program

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