note on excavations at Santa Costanza

MA Lousiana State University, PhD Pennsylvania State University

For the past twelve years I have been investigating the church of Santa Costanza in Rome, Italy. Through a 1984 NEH summer grant I first erected scaffolding in the church to study the mosaics in the apses. In order to date these mosaics I began to research the building history and found conflicting opinions as to its original function and dating. While doing archival research in the Vatican Library I discovered evidence that a previous structure may have existed on the present site of Santa Costanza and then petitioned the Italian government to allow to excavate the church. During three excavations in 1989, and 1994 that were funded by UF, Dumbarton Oaks/ for Harvard University and the Kress Foundation, I discovered many Early Christian tombs with coins and jewelry and a three-lobed triconch building beneath the church of Santa Costanza that calls into question the traditional mid-fourth century date of the church. Among other techniques, I have employed metal analysis to help date the coins and jewelry in the tombs and also carbon 14 dating to determine the date of the mortar for the buildings. Thus far, I have published five articles and presented seven papers at professional conferences on the results of my work at Santa Costanza. A final article is being prepared on the function and dating of Santa Costanza for submission to the Art Bulletin



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