FS Group and the Ministry of Culture together to enhance archaeological finds at construction sites

Renewed Memorandum of Understanding between Archeolog ETS, a company composed of RFI, Anas and Italferr, and MiC

Rome, 2 February 2024

Restoring, preserving and enhancing archaeological sites and artefacts found during the construction and maintenance of railway and road works: this is what is envisaged by the Memorandum of Understanding just renewed between the Ministry of Culture (Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape Section) and Associazione Archeolog ETS, a non-profit organisation of the FS Group set up in 2015 and made up of the companies forming part of the RFI Infrastructure Unit, Anas with its subsidiary Quadrilatero Marche Umbria, and Italferr, whose purpose is to manage archaeological finds made during works on roads and railways and, to contribute to their restoration and conservation in synergy with the Superintendencies of the Ministry of Culture.

The collaboration bears witness to the parties' desire to continue along the path of combining infrastructure development and cultural heritage protection, transforming archaeological finds from a possible obstacle for the construction and maintenance of public works into an opportunity for the cultural enhancement of our country.

The renewal of the protocol between the Ministry of Culture and Archeolog ETS makes it possible to continue on the fruitful path undertaken so far of giving value to the archaeological treasures unearthed on the construction sites of the Italian railway network - said Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano - It is a perfect synthesis between the need to modernise the national transport infrastructure and the duty to protect our cultural heritage, which has already led to remarkable results. In this too, Italy demonstrates its uniqueness, making its development an opportunity to rediscover its past.’

The route taken will create a dialogue between the past, present and future thanks to the possibility of intervening quickly and effectively on the findings that the railway and road works bring to light.

As they constitute a common heritage, archaeological assets should also be valued and made accessible to the public in the most appropriate way. The collaboration between Archeolog and the Ministry is therefore aimed at identifying the most appropriate initiatives to improve the enjoyment of sites and artefacts, e.g. through exhibitions, forms of patronage and collections. In addition, a publication is planned that will illustrate the most relevant discoveries in a simple manner, with fact sheets accompanied by descriptive texts and images.

‘As FS Group we have the responsibility and, most of all, the honour, of contributing to what will be the Italy of the future - stated the Chief Executive Officer of FS Italiane Group Luigi Ferraris - but, at the same time, we are aware of the hidden wealth that our territory so steeped in history has still to show us. For years, FS Group, thanks to the construction of new railway and road lines, has been the protagonist of many historical and archaeological discoveries through the works carried out by RFI, Italferr and Anas. To deal with the many discoveries, FS created the non-profit association Archeolog, which aims to preserve, restore and value the archaeological heritage found during the construction and expansion of the infrastructure network. The protocol with the Ministry of Culture strengthens this daily commitment of ours.’

Two of the most recent examples of this collaboration are both to be found in the Lazio region. The first concerns the Pomezia station where, during maintenance work on a railway overpass, archaeological remains were found dating back to the 2nd-4th centuries AD. In particular, it is a road layout that preserves the ruts caused by the passage of carts, flanked by wall structures that are thought to belong to a rustic villa that was abandoned early, as can be deduced from a later setup of a necropolis with seventeen tombs of various types.

The second example concerns a hydraulic safety work project on the Rome-Pisa line, in the former station of Furbara, near Cerveteri. The remains of a production and commercial settlement emerged, as attested by an Etruscan-language inscription on a wine amphora recovered from the site.