The Segni Project 2012-14

The BSR’s Archaeology Officer Stephen Kay updates us on the Segni Project‘s recent excavations and events.

Over the past three years the BSR and Archaeological Museum of Segni have been conducting a joint research project examining the early history and urbanisation of the Latin colony of Signia, now a beautiful medieval town of the eastern edges of the Monti Lepini, 50km south of Rome.


Excavations at Piazza Santa Maria, Segni.

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Piazza Santa Maria, Segni.


Polychrome mosaic with a tangent windmill motif discovered in Piazza Santa Maria (detail).

Building on the research of the local museum, the project has conducted three seasons of excavations between 2012 and 2014. Assisted over the years by 70 students from a number of UK universities and local volunteers, the project has revealed previously unknown parts of the Republican and medieval town.

Guests enjoy the exhibition at The Segni Project 2012-2014: Segni in the light of recent discoveries, April 2015. Photo: A. Palmieri.

Guests enjoy the exhibition at The Segni Project 2012-2014: Segni in the light of recent discoveries, April 2015. Photo: A. Palmieri.

In April this year the BSR hosted a one-day workshop to discuss the results of the excavations, inviting leading specialists to examine the evidence from the excavations at Prato Felici, which revealed a large 2nd century BC pool, and Piazza Santa Maria where rooms of a possible Roman domus were found, along with evidence for the early cathedral of Segni.

The workshop concluded with a public lecture, given by the BSR’s Archaeology Officer Stephen Kay and Dott. Francesco Maria Cifarelli, former director of the museum. The opportunity was also taken to display a selection of the archaeological material recovered during the excavations, ranging from Bronze Age pottery through to fragments of medieval painted frescos. These were juxtaposed with the work of the project artist Leontina Rotaru, whose work is inspired by the archaeological process.


Spindle whorls. Photo: A. Palmieri.

wall on wall, mixed media, 2013

Leo Rotaru, Wall on wall, mixed media on cotton canvas, 70 x 130 cm, 2013.

On display for the first time were ten photographs of Segni from the BSR Photographic Archive taken by Thomas Ashby. The BSR is grateful to Denny and Karen Custer for supporting the digital preservation and printing of these photographs. Shortly afterwards, on the Night of the Museums the photographs were also displayed to the general public in the Archaeological Museum of Segni.


Segni, view of the city with polygonal walls, 25 March 1895, BSR Photographic Archive (Ashby Collection).



Segni, City wall and Porta Foca, May/June 1912, BSR Photographic Archive (Ashby Collection).


Photographs by Thomas Ashby from the BSR Photographic Archive on display at Museo Archeologico, Comune di Segni, for the Night of the Museums, May 2015.

The research conducted at Segni has had a major impact on our understanding of the Latin town, challenging the assumptions of its first habitation and colonisation, as well as discovering hitherto unknown monuments within the town. Work will now concentrate on the final publication, as well as working with the museum to share the results of this research.

Stephen Kay (BSR Archaeology Officer)

Useful links: Segni Project | Archaeological Museum of Segni | Segni Project Flickr account | BSR Digital Collections | Leo Rotaru