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This archaeological section sees the collaboration of young scholars of different backgrounds, whether connected to classical archaeology or purely medievistic: to accentuate this duplicity and render it an occasion of enrichment, we have divided our space into two subsections, Archaeology of the Medieval Society, and Recycling and Reutilization of Ancient Material, hoping that this cooperation will lead to a profitable comparison on the above-mentioned themes.

Medieval archaeology in Italy was born about 30 years ago of the collaboration of scholars with different competencies, who were not properly inserted into the traditional scientific organization. They felt the need for a new discipline in which they could put to interest their own studies to reconstruct the medieval society by analyzing the materials which have reached us. Therefore, the interdiciplinary connotation has been fundamental right from the origins of this discipline and, far from constituting an obstacle, it has enabled to overcome, on the one hand, a periodization of the Middle Ages linked to political events only and, on the other, the idea that medieval archaeological studies should follow a single methodological path. Being well aware of the validity of the experience of those scholars, we will try to follow the same guidelines, treating the Middle Ages as an historical-cultural continuum based on forms of production and use of resources.
Our analysis will consider the aspects of collective life, production and trade, and urban and country landscapes.

Moreover, the phenomenon of spolia, already selected for the copiousness of semantic values and historical-cultural implications to denominate the site as a whole, will now be investigated in its strictest archaeological meaning. An ancient artefact which has been physically transferred to a new context, or a learned quotation which originated by means of reproduction/imitation processes, the spolium is an authentic and original expression of the medieval world. Nevertheless, the phenomenon has remained for a long time in the margins of scientific research, penalized by interdiciplinary implications that have too often placed it in a kind of "no-man's land" contended for by medievalists and classical archaeologists, the former only interested in the contexts of reutilization while the latter naturally inclined to enucleate the ancient materials from the medieval structures. Almost always the deep and insoluble bond between "medieval" and "ancient", which is the element characterizing the reutilization, was neglected. Only in the last few decades has the work of distinguished scholars established effective research methods, suggesting multidisciplinary approaches and identifying complex subdivisions within the phenomenon. Rome is the city of spolia par excellence: for centuries it supplied the medieval world with ancient materials, granting legitimacy and auctoritas to new capitals and new sovereigns; but next to this reutilization more romano, other, more modest typologies of the phenomenon became widespread and had in the material culture of the Middle Ages a predominant role, worthy of analysis. Our modest contribution would like to follow this tradition of studies.

Brief interventions, reviews, accounts of lectures or more articulate investigations will possibly be able to provide "insiders" and students alike with some new elements or suggestions for research. Items of local news will also be supplied, whenever they can arouse interest for unknown or little known cases, encouraging further, more complete investigations. Thanks to the participation of collaborators spread over the territory, we hope to regularly update our space with news about the initiatives relative to medieval archaeology in Italy and Rome on a monthly basis, which is necessary to present organically our contributions on a such vast and complex subject.

Michela Nocita (Recycling and Reutilization of the Ancient Material), Francesca Zagari (Archeology of the Medieval Society)



This is a great goal for us: thanks to everybody who worked in the editorial board since the beginning! The historians are researchers of the ancient civilisations, the word "history" itself means research. We will never stop investigating the past to understand the present. Archaeologists as well use the remains-spolia- to understand and to create all aspects of past culture; they reconstruct the lives of ancient people, our ancient life. This kind of research was called otium in the Latin literature; looking back is the best way to know our identity in the present and in the future.

February 2018, Michela Nocita


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