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Department of Archaeology


Crustumerium: the Remembering the Dead excavations


The Remembering the Dead project excavated at Cisterna Grande, one of the cemetery areas of ancient Crustumerium, near Rome in central Italy between 2004 and 2008 in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma. The project got initial funding from the British Academy and the Finnish Cultural Foundation and its main funding from the Academy of Finland. The project was directed by Dr Ulla Rajala as part of her postdoctoral studies. This project is now in its publication phase.

The area at Cisterna Grande was chosen for excavation after looting in 2004 suggested the presence of Orientalising tombs. The first tombs exposed in this sector were chamber tombs, and consequently, the project objectives were amended in order to concentrate on exploring Archaic chambers and improve the limited knowledge of Archaic tombs and burial customs. The project aimed at studying the funerary representations of a Latin community at a local level combining traditional and digital archaeological methods in order to examine the microarchaeologies of the place.


Excavations 2004
                 Francesco di Gennaro at the excavations in 2004


The project excavated in their entirety one Middle Orientalising tomba a loculo tipo Narce one Late Orientalising chamber tomb with an unusual inhumation in the fill of its entrance corridor (dromos) and six Archaic chamber tombs. Dr Rajala will edit the volume with the results of the excavations in the spring of 2014.

Short bibliography

  • Rajala, U., Arima, H., Fulminante, F., and Helamaa, M., 2013. ‘Five field seasons at Cisterna Grande (Crustumerium, Rome, Italy): identities, rituals and remembrance from the Orientalising to the Archaic period’, in P. Attema, F. di Gennaro and E. Jarva (eds.). Crustumerium 1: Ricerche plurinazionali in un Centro latino, 61-82. Groningen: University of Groningen & Barkhuis.
  • Rajala, U., 2012. ‘Political landscapes and local identities in Archaic central Italy – Interpreting the material from Nepi (VT, Lazio) and Cisterna Grande (Crustumerium, RM, Lazio)’, in S. Stoddart and G. Cifani (eds.). Landscape, ethnicity and identity in the archaic Mediterranean area, 120-143. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Rajala, U., 2011. ‘The excavations in the cemetery area of Cisterna Grande (Crustumerium, Rome, Italy): Archaic burials and funerary identities’, in Roma 2008 – International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Meetings between Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean, Bollettino di Archeologia On line, Volume Speciale, at

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