The excavations carried out in Spilamberto between 2007 and 2008 at the San Bartolomeo Hospital testify not only to a particularly intense and happy activity, also and particularly in the province of Modena, of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Emilia Romagna in the first decade of the new millennium, but above all they affirm an operational practice by now exemplary from the point of view of the intervention methodology, carried out in various closely linked phases, and which once again saw the full collaboration of the municipality of Spilamberto.
At first, after the first report of the well-deserving and historical Group of Naturalists of Spilamberto, a preliminary analysis was carried out with a series of trenches that allowed to highlight the archaeological potential of the site. As many as 17 trenches have brought to light the existence of medieval buildings and a connected necropolis.
Subsequently, the area was extensively excavated. The characteristics of a fully medieval religious complex were thus outlined, connected with the road network between the Modenese and Tuscany, and linked to the first phase of life of the center of Spilamberto, probably at the time of the foundation of the Castle by the Modenese in the 1210, if not earlier, at the time of the Marquis Bonifacio. It is a hospital connected to a church and rural buildings dedicated to St. Bartholomew and which continued to be used judging by the archaeological finds collected on the site until the fourteenth century. Of particular interest was also the excavation of the necropolis next to the church, with over 40 tombs, including two Iacobite pilgrims recognizable by the shell with which they adorned their clothing.
With this volume, which enriches the series of studies of the Superintendence, the whole excavation operation ends in some way with the publication of data by the excavators, professional archaeologists who have carried out their tasks with skill, with geological data and anthropological and with the critical contribution of Mauro Librenti for medieval archeology and the historical evaluation of the importance of hospitals in the Italian context and of Donato Labate, true deus ex machina of the archeology of Modena and my co-director of excavation at the period of the intervention, for the topographical analysis and historical and archival sources.
It is a pride of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Emilia Romagna to have continued in the promotion and enhancement of medieval archeology, which has had so much importance in Italy in recent decades for the systematic re-proposal of the stratigraphic method, according to the teaching of the late Riccardo Francovich and the work that Sauro Gelichi carried out in this region in the XNUMXs and XNUMXs as an archaeologist officer and in the decade that passed with the excavation concessions of the University of Venice.
Director General for Antiquities, Louis Malnati