ActaRom-4°, 26: San Giovenale (1967– )


San Giovenale. Results of excavations conducted by the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies at Rome and the Soprintendenza alle Antichità dell’Etruria Meridionale

Published by the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome. Volumes published 2007 and earlier distributed by Astrom Editions. Volumes published 2008 and later distributed by AB.

Front cover of B.E. Thomasson et al., San Giovenale 1, Stockholm 1972.Vol. 1. Topographical introduction and history of excavations, photogrammatic methods and survey. Tombs

Fasc. 1. Bengt E. Thomasson 1972. General introduction, Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-007-8 (softcover: 12 pp.)

Fasc. 2­–3. Bertil Hallert 1967. Basics principles of photogrammetric methods used for measurements of San Giovenale & Bertil Hallert, Aerial photogrammetric survey of the San Giovenale area, Lund (softcover: 12 pp.)

Fasc. 4. Carl Eric Östenberg 1972. The tombs: introduction, Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-008-5 (softcover: 16 pp.)

Fasc. 5. Eric Berggren & Kristina Berggren 1972. The necropoleis of Porzarago, Grotte Tufarina and Montevangone. With drawings by Börje Blomé. With appendices by N.-G. Gejvall and Ruta Suksis-Jansson and with an addendum by Olof Vessberg, Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-000-9 (softcover: 134 pp., 63 pls.)

Fasc. 6. Carl Erik Östenberg & Olof Vessberg 1972. The necropolis at La Staffa, Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-009-2 (softcover: 24 pp.)

Fasc. 7. Carl Erik Östenberg 1969. The necropolis at Castellina Camerata, Lund (softcover: 29 pp.)

Fasc. 8. Pär Göran Gierow 1969. The tombs of Fosso del Pietrisco and Valle Vesca, Lund (softcover: 58 pp.)

Fasc. 9. Carl Erik Östenberg 1972. Survey of tomb types, Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-010-8 (softcover: 10 pp.)

Vol. 2. Excavations and finds. The Acropolis (part 1)

Front cover of San Giovenale 2:2Fasc. 2. Eric Berggren & Kristina Berggren, with appendices by Hans Helbaek & Claudio Sorrentino 1981. Excavations in Area B, 1957–1960. Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-078-8 (softcover: 64 pp.)


The excavations published in this volume were carried out during four successive campaigns in the autumn of the years 1957–1960, each campaign lasting c. one month. The author directed the excavations of 1957 and 1958, while detailed examinations of the area in the following years were directed respectively by Dr B.E. Thomasson and Dr B. Olinder, the trench masters, who kindly entrusted us with the publication of their results.

Area B is situated on the Acropolis of S. Giovenale between the western façade of the medieval castle and the moat further west, which runs transversely N–S, at a distance of c. 50 m from the castle.

During the last week of the 1957 season, an exploratory trench was opened with the purpose of finding a starting-point for the work of the next campaign (Tr. AP 57:1). One of the two test-pits opened (C) revealed two walls almost at right angles, built of tufa squares of Etruscan size, thus giving us the starting-point for further investigations. In the 1958 season, the diggings were chiefly devoted to this area, which was explored by means of three trenches (AP 58:1–3) and a series of test-pits within and between these trenches (AP tp A–J).

Other investigations were concentrated on the moat, where a silo, a sink and a cunicolo had already been cleared and studied in 1957. The silo was cut in the eastern wall of the moat, while the sink was situated in the southern part of the western wall and the cunicolo in the northern part of the moat, with its opening in the lower part of the eastern wall. It ran in an E–W direction, curving somewhat, and ended in a well.

A small trail trench was dug by the author, laid out in the NNW–SSE direction, following the tufa wall, the top of which cropped out just east of the moat. This wall was built of small tufa blocks and ran at right angles to another wall, similar, but more irregularly built. It bordered the eastern edge of the moat.

A test-pit was sunk in the northern end of the moat for closer examination.

Two test-pits were dug at the centre of the southern, outer façade and across the apse of the Chapel of S. Giovenale.

During the 1959 and 1960 campaigns, test-pits C and E were re-opened and enlarged (test-pits L, M, N and O). These explorations resulted in the uncovering of a rectangular house built of big tufa blocks.

Fasc. 4. Björn Olinder & Ingrid Pohl 1981. The semi-subterranean building in Area B. Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-079-5 (softcover: 89 pp.)

Front cover of Ingrid Pohl, San Giovenale. Two cisterns and a well in Area B, (Skrifter utgivna av Svenska Institutet i Rom, 4°, 26, vol. 2, fasc. 5), Stockholm 2011. ISSN: 0081-993X. ISBN: 978-91-7042-178-5. Softcover: 77 pages.Fasc. 5. Ingrid Pohl 2011. Two cisterns and a well in Area B. Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-178-5 (softcover: 77 pp.)

Area B on the San Giovenale plateau was inhabited during the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Archaic period, the Hellenistic period and Medieval times. Trial trench AP 2 in Area B was excavated by B.E. Thomasson in 1958–1959 and by B. Olinder in 1960 and 1961, uncovering two underground cisterns dated to the Archaic period (CI and CII) and a fourth- to third-century well (W). In this volume, the cisterns and the well are published together with the pottery and other finds found within them. A presentation of the structures is followed by a catalogue including pottery and minor finds of terracotta, metal, glass and stone, as well as tiles. The pottery assemblage includes Greek imported wares, Italic or local painted and glazed ware, unpainted fine wares (Bucchero, Fine Cream ware), as well as household wares, kitchen wares, large jars, dolia and pithoi. The finds are illustrated by figures and plates. A general discussion presents an overview of the pottery according to wares followed by a discussion on the minor finds and the structures themselves. The finds from the cisterns and the well testify to a habitation in the area during the sixth to third centuries BC.


L’Antiquité classique 82, 2013, 659-660 (Jean-Christophe Caestecker)
Gnomon 86:1, 2014, 90-92 (Christoph Reusser)
Latomus 73:3, 2014, 867-868 (Jean Gran-Aymerich)

Vol. 3. Excavations and finds. The Acropolis (part 2)

Fasc. 1. Eric Berggren & Kristina Berggren 1980. The Iron Age test square in the north-east part of area D. Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-069-6 (softcover: 23 pp.)

Fasc. 3. Ingrid Pohl 1977. The Iron Age test habitations in Area E. Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-063-4 (softcover: 102 pp.)

Vol. 4. Excavations and finds. The Acropolis (part 3)

Fasc. 1. Lars Karlsson 2006. Area F East. Huts and houses on the acropolis. Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-172-3 (softcover: 196 pp.)

Vol. 5. The Borgo

Front cover of Carl Nylander, Börje Blomé, Lars Karlsson, Angela Bizzarro, Giuseppe Tilia, Stefano Tilia & Alessandro Tilia, San Giovenale. The Borgo. Excavating an Etruscan Quarter: Architecture and Stratigraphy, (Skrifter utgivna av Svenska Institutet i Rom, 4°, 26, vol. 5, fasc. 1), Stockholm 2013. ISSN: 0081-993X. ISBN: 978-91-7042-180-8. Hardcover: 222 pages.Fasc. 1. Carl Nylander, Börje Blomé, Lars Karlsson, Angela Bizzarro, Giuseppe Tilia, Stefano Tilia & Alessandro Tilia 2013. Excavating an Etruscan quarter. Architecture and stratigraphy. Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-180-8 (hardcover: 222 pp.)

Open access, use links below.

The Etruscan city of San Giovenale was excavated by the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies at Rome between 1956 and 1965. The ancient city plateau consists of two residential areas, the Acropolis and the Borgo, separated by a cut roadway. This publication deals only with the northwest corner of the Borgo (Borgo NW), which was excavated under the direction of Carl Nylander between 1961 and 1965. Here, in a “pocket” at the edge of the plateau, the Etruscans built a small metal working quarter, surrounded by a defensive terrace wall. Protected by the high tufa cliff a series of water cisterns and furnaces were installed. The excavations uncovered four major houses, Houses A, B, C and D, separated from each other by small drains and a Lane K. The houses, the drains and lanes are oriented west–east. A major well is located east and above House C. The most important settlement dates from the early Archaic period, in the late 7th century BC. The buildings were destroyed around 550/530 BC by a possible earthquake. The buildings were then rebuilt on a higher level and existed down to about 400 BC. Below the Archaic levels there are cuttings for huts and a wooden palisade.

The publication starts with an informative personal prolegomena by Carl Nylander in which the history of the excavations and the participating members are described. Chapter 1 is an introduction to the site and an analysis of the geology by Sheldon Judson. Chapter 2 gives the history of the work and Chapter 3 the settlement periods and the stratigraphy. Chapters 4 and 5 present the mainly rock-cut remains of pre-archaic structures. Chapter 6 attempts to describe the large work of levelling the area for the Archaic houses, called “The Great Fill Project”. The following chapters are archaeological and architectural descriptions of the walls and houses, starting from the north: House A (Ch. 7), Houses B and C (Ch. 8), Lane K (Ch. 9) and House D (Ch. 10). The possible earthquake as the destruction of the early Archaic settlement is discussed in Chapter Eleven. Chapters Twelve and Thirteen reports briefly on the very scattered traces of later developments. The book contains several appendices: a San Giovenale bibliography 1877‒2011, a catalogue of the walls at the site, an investigation of the mortar remains, a discussion on the roof-tiles and an explicatory text about the process of architectural documentation. Finally, the publication contains 43 plates with the very carefully drawn elevations and plans of the excavated buildings, originally produced by architect Börje Blomé, later digitalized and completed by Giuseppe, Stefano and Alessandro Tilia as well as by Angela Bizzarro.



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Carl Nylander, Acknowledgements

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Carl Nylander, Ringraziamenti

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Lars Karlsson, Preface

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List of illustrations

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Carl Nylander, Personal prolegomena

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Chapter 1. Introduction to the geography and geology of San Giovenale

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Chapter 2. History of the Borgo excavations

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Chapter 3. Excavation areas, periods and stratigraphy, by Lars Karlsson

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Chapter 4. Pre-House Period I

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Chapter 5. Pre-House Period II

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Chapter 6. The Great Fill Project

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Chapter 7. The northern Area A. Buildings and stratigraphy of periods 1 & 2

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Chapter 8. The central Area B/C/I/R

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Chapter 9. Lane K

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Chapter 10. The southern Area D/E/F/G/H

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Chapter 11. An earthquake at San Giovenale in the 6th century BC (?)

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Chapter 12. Period 3—after the earthquake

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Chapter 13. Periods 4 & 5—later developments

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Chapter 14. Summary, by Lars Karlsson

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Appendix 1: San Giovenale bibliography 1877–2011, by Kerstin Bellerba & Brita Alroth

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Appendix 2: Osservazioni sulle strutture murarie, by Barbara Belelli Marchesini

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Appendix 3: An investigation into ancient mortars, by Marie Klingspor Rotstein & Daniel Kwiatkowski

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Appendix 4: The roof-tiles, by Örjan Wikander

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Appendix 5: Documentation of architectural remains, by Angela Bizzarro

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Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.07.18 (Flavia Morandini)
Gnomon 88:6, 2016, 535-539 (Jon Albers)
Journal of Roman Archaeology 27, 2014, 504-509 (Ingrid Edlund-Berry)
L’Antiquité Classique 84, 2016, 509-510 (Jean-Christophe Caestecker)
Revue Archèologique, Nouvelle Série, Fasc. 1, 2015, 236-237 (Jean-René Jannot)

Front cover of Ingrid Pohl, San Giovenale. The Borgo. The Etruscan habitation quarter on the North-West slope. Stratification and materials, (Skrifter utgivna av Svenska Institutet i Rom, 4°, 26, vol. 5, fasc. 2), Stockholm 2009. ISSN: 0081-993X. ISBN: 978-91-7042-176-1. Softcover: 114 pages.Fasc. 2. Ingrid Pohl 2009. The Etruscan habitation quarter on the North-West slope. Stratification and materials, Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-176-1 (softcover: 114 pp.)

During 1961–1963 and 1965, excavations were carried out on the so-called Borgo as part of the large-scale archaeological investigations of San Giovenale which took place in 1956–1965. A large habitation complex consisting of houses, courtyards, lanes and wells was uncovered. The architectural remains and their stratigraphy will be presented in Part I of the publication. In this part (Part 2) the stratigraphy and the material found in the excavations are presented.


Anzeiger für die Altertumswissenschaft 64, 2011, 202-207 (M. Praxmarer)
L’Antiquité Classique 80, 2011, 603-604 (Marco Cavalieri & Jean-Christophe Caestecker)
Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.07.18 (Flavia Morandini)
Revue Archéologique 1, 2011, 121-122 (Jean-René Jannot)

Vol. 6. Excavations and finds. The bridge on the Pietrisco. Vignale. The castle and the chapel.

Forthcoming 2024: Fasc. 2–3. Yvonne Backe Forsberg & Richard Holmgren 2024. What’s beyond the Etruscan bridge? Analysis and dating of the Vignale plateau, Stockholm. ISBN: 978-91-7042-188-4 (hardcover: 345 pp.)

The Etruscan site of San Giovenale has been excavated periodically since 1956. From the beginning the main focus has been the question of settlement remains. However, a fundamental area within the site had still not undergone the inquiry necessary for a complete understanding of the site as a whole. The Vignale plateau, connected to the main site by an Etruscan bridge, was surveyed and partly excavated in 1959–1960, but not published. The Vignale Archaeological Project (VAP) began new investigations in 2006 that aimed to answer the question of “What’s beyond the Etruscan bridge?” This publication focuses on the initial investigations of 1959–1960, augmented by new ground- and aerial remote sensing surveys.

The current volume is divided in six chapters. Through an introduction, and geological/topographic and historical/archaeological settings (Chapters 1–3), the reader achieves a general understanding of Vignale within a larger framework. The main archaeological studies of various features on the plateau, their function and dating are covered in Chapter 4, where Vignale from the Final Bronze Age to medieval times is approached with an emphasis on the Etruscan periods. The study of the latter investigates the connection to Vignale’s sister plateau (the Acropolis area), and the plateaus’ connection to the surrounding landscape. An intrinsic aspect of Vignale is the association with wine over time. Chapter 5 therefore elaborates on wild and domesticated vines with emphasis on production, ritual, and material remains, concluding with a summary and synthesis in Chapter 6. Two extensive appendices follow, one detailing the material remains and data connected to the southern Bridge Complex, and the other a treatise on the Etruscan awareness of their local mineral salt, alunite.


Front matter



List of abbreviations

List of illustrations

Chapter 1. Gemeral introduction. “Make bricks without straw”

Chapter 2. The Vignale plateau. Geological, topographic, and historical setting

Chapter 3. Archaeological studies on Vignale

Chapter 4. Remnants of the past. The structures of Vignale

Chapter 5. Vignale and the wine connection. Economic and religious prerequisities from Etruscan to medieval periods

Chaper 6. Final synthesis and chronological overview

Appendix 1. Catalogue and artecat analysis from the trenches on the southern Bridge Complex

Appendix 2. The Etruscans and the question of alunite

Appendix 3. Conservation of a Hellenistic altar, by Agneta Freccero



Back matter

Fasc. 4–5. Bengt Thordeman & Ratislav Holthoer 1967. The medieval castle of San Giovenale. Terrestial photogrammetric survey of the San Giovenale castle, Stockholm. (softcover: 94 pp.)

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