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Rome Reports

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The Pontifical Academy of Archaeology celebrates its 200th anniversary


Benedict XIV founded the academy in 1740. It studies archaeological sites from prehistory through medieval Italy, such as Villa Adriana or the Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. It also analyzes discoveries made in other countries.

Letizia Pani Ermini

President, Pontifical Academy of Archaeology

We do historical studies based on archaeological data about specific grounds or places; or we expose new excavations and new discoveries.”

One of the most interesting studies developed over the last 16 years and still inaccessible to the public is an entire buried city near Rome. Pope Leo IV ordered the city?s construction in the mid-9th century for the protection of refugee citizens.

Letizia Pani Ermini

President, Pontifical Academy of Archaeology

The city is still surrounded by walls and towers, but when we arrived it was just a prairie where sheep grazed. To date we?ve unearthed a whole neighborhood with a beautiful church and a crypt.”

The academy doesn?t just analyze excavations: it also proposes restorations. It advocated the restoration of Villa Adriana. The academy?s hope is for future generations to continue discovering how people lived many centuries ago.