The 1985-1999 fieldwork in the modern church

Ivan Cangemi

Beginning in 1985, a series of excavations was conducted within the modern church of S. Omobono (with major phases of fieldwork in 1985-1986, 1989, 1992, 1996, and 1999) (Mucci 1987; Ramieri 2002b; 2005a; 2005b). These campaigns were aimed at clarifying the post-Classical phases of the site's history, which had until then received very little attention. Additionally, the fieldwork documented the well-preserved Imperial restoration of the cella of temple B, of which part of the travertine walls and the mosaic floor were uncovered (Figure 69). The northern wall of the cella was abutted by shops, attributed to the Severan period on the basis of their construction techniques. The levels immediately above the mosaic floor of the cella included a second pavement composed of spoliated marble slabs with an opus sectile panel. Although it is unclear whether these features should be attributed to a restoration of the temple or a very precocious installation of a Christian cult, the last series of excavation revealed that the earliest securely identified Christian structures on the site closely followed the limits of the eastern cella. This links the modern church of S. Omobono to a nearly unbroken span of cult activity in the area going back some 2600 years.

Figure 69

Figure 69: Plan of excavated remains within the modern church (Ramieri 2005a, 82, tab. 1)


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