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Sant’Omobono, Italy*


Nicola Terrenato, University of Michigan

Paolo Brocato, University of Calabria

The Sant’Omobono Project is a multiyear, international program of research aimed at investigating one of the most remarkable and least understood archaeological sites in Rome. Previous work in the area has revealed an extremely complex depositional sequence, comprising Middle and Late Bronze Age materials in secondary deposition, in situ traces of wattle and daub structures from as early as the seventh century BCE, and substantial evidence of continuous cult activity beginning in the late seventh and early sixth centuries BCE. The site thus offers both an important glimpse at the earliest phases of occupation at Rome in the latter half of the second millennium and an unparalleled opportunity to study the development of a major cult area in relation to the processes of urbanization and state formation from the eighth to the sixth centuries.

The site of Sant’Omobono is located just east of the Tiberine Island, near the heart
of modern Rome. Throughout much of early Roman history, this area (known as the Forum Boarium, or “cattle market”) served as a nodal point for interregional networks of trade, which relied on the nearby island and on natural fords just south of it as crossing points of the Tiber. Thus, the Forum Boarium became established early on as a privileged locus of cultural contact and exchange, where Latins, Etruscans, Sabines, and other central Italian groups interacted with traders from throughout the Mediterranean.