Excavation of the Medieval Castle
of San Giuliano
The medieval occupation of San Giuliano is evidenced primarly at the Rocca fortification at the eastern end of the plateau and the Romanesque church located approximately at the center of San Giuliano. The SGARP excavations have targeted the castle zone at the Rocca. We have uncovered a fortified area of substantial complexity. A medieval gate leads up from the earlier Etruscan towards the castle and the village that presumably lay to the east behind the the Rocca fortification. The main Etruscan gate was re-fashioned in the medieval period and a tower added just south of the gate. Just beyond the Etruscan gate, the second (medieval) gate carved from the tuff bedrock opens up to a steep road leading into the fortified zone of the Rocca. The road passes below the tower of the castle that now lies in ruins before turning east into the habitation zone.
Excavations to the south of the castle tower revealed a courtyard with at least four cisterns/granaries. A strong doorway leads from the courtyard into a room, which possibly served as a communal hall. Finds including glassware, dice, ceramic fineware, and a gold cross (see below) suggest that this was a place where people of substantial means dined (probably the elite or the castle owner's soldiers), while zooarchaeological analysis of one of the cisterns in the courtyard indicated that waste products of animal butchering from the hall were deposited there.
The open courtyard area connected to the fortified tower to the north and a probable chapel. Within the probable chapel we uncovered a crypt-like ossuary. The ossuary (depicted below) was an unexpected and exciting discovery that yielded the re-deposited remains of over two dozen individuals that had been interred in trenches within the crypt floor and along the walls. Understanding the layout, relationships, and activities taking place within these areas of the castle will be a major focus of future seasons. In addition, we continue to look for the archaeologically more-ephemeral remains of the lower status village houses.