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FS and Italian government work to protect archeological heritage

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View of Italy’s most popular tourist destination, and one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world: Pompeii. Shutterstock

The Italian Railway Group (Gruppo FS) and the Ministry of Culture have renewed their partnership to enhance the protection and restoration of archaeological findings discovered at rail-related construction sites.

The renewed Memorandum of Understanding between Archeolog ETS, a non-profit organisation consisting of RFI, Anas, and Italferr, and the Ministry of Culture aims to contribute to the restoration and preservation of artefacts unearthed during railway and road infrastructure projects. The initiative will integrate the past, present, and future by swiftly and effectively addressing discoveries made during railway and road construction projects, states the FS press release.

“The renewal of the protocol between the Ministry of Culture and Archeolog ETS allows us to continue the fruitful path of valorizing the archaeological treasures unearthed in the Italian railway network construction sites,” said Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano. “It represents a perfect synthesis between the need to modernise national transport infrastructure and the duty to protect our cultural heritage, which has already yielded significant results. Italy demonstrates its exceptionalism by making its development an opportunity to rediscover its past,” he adds.

Protecting communal heritage

The collaboration between Archeolog and the Ministry aims to identify the most appropriate initiatives to improve the enjoyment of sites and artefacts, such as exhibitions, forms of patronage, and collections. Additionally, a publication is planned to provide straightforward explanations of the most significant discoveries, accompanied by descriptive texts and images.

“As the Italian Railway Group, we have the responsibility, and above all, the honour, to contribute to shaping the future of Italy,” said Luigi Ferraris, CEO of Gruppo FS Italiane. “However, we are also aware of the hidden richness that our territory, steeped in history, still has to offer. For years, the Italian Railway Group, through the construction of new railway and road lines, has been instrumental in many historical and archaeological discoveries during the work carried out by RFI, Italferr, and Anas. To address the many discoveries, FS has established the non-profit organisation Archeolog, which aims to preserve, restore, and enhance the archaeological heritage found during the construction and enhancement of the infrastructure network. The protocol with the Ministry of Culture strengthens our daily commitment.”

Discoveries in the Lazio region

Two recent examples of this collaboration are both in the Lazio region. The first concerns the Pomezia station, where archaeological remains dating back to the 2nd-4th centuries AD were found during maintenance work on a railway overpass. These include a road layout with grooves from cart passages, flanked by structures related to a rural villa. The villa was abandoned early, as indicated by the subsequent establishment of a necropolis with seventeen burials of various types.

The second example involves hydraulic safety work on the Rome-Pisa line, at the former Furbara station near Cerveteri. Here, remains of a productive and commercial settlement were unearthed, as evidenced by an Etruscan inscription on a wine amphora recovered from the site.

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