Tuesday, June 16, 2009
More Dead People
Today we made the switch from imperial Rome to medieval Rome. The first stop on our trip was the catacombs of San Sebastiano, which are located under the church of San Sebastiano. This is rumored to be the location of St. Sebastian's tomb as well as the previous burial site of both Peter and Paul (believe what you will...). We went down in the catacombs with a medieval archaeologist and they were really cool! We walked down into the ground and you could see all the holes in the tufa stone where the bodies were once located. They used to put the bodies in the holes and then seal them with tiles of stone, but it still smelled really bad. We also got to see Roman tombs that were located there and they were so cool! They still had decorated stucco ceilings and painted walls that were pretty well preserved. Unfortunately, I couldn't take any pictures.
After our time at the catacombs, we had a few hours of break and I headed to the Capitoline Museums because our museum passes finally came in ! The passes are really cool, they look super official and they get us into all national museums free. Later, we met our professor at the Crypta Balbi Museum, which is a museum of Late Antique/Early Christian archaeology. He showed us around the museum for a couple of hours.
In other news, this weekend brings some bad news for the world of archaeology. The director of our program is leading an excavation at Gabii and half of the students from our program are going their to dig while the rest of us are going to Pompeii (including myself). Anyway, over the weekend at Gabii some thieves dug holes at Gabii and potentially stole some antiquities! This is relatively common in Italy and archaeology, but its really sad! Luckily, the Italian government has a special "Art Squad" to rescue the art!!!!!! so, hopefully anything stole will be recovered soon.