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Eremo Santa Lucia Project

Eremo Santa Lucia, 1969, excavation under the direction of Prof. Alfonz Lengyel, Wayne State University, and Prof. George T. Radan, Villanova University. Santa Lucia probably originated as a hermitage well before the tenth century, the period from which comes the earliest dating evidence; the dating is based on the analysis of bones excavated from the burial ground during the 1969 research season. The site was officially designated an Augustinian hermitage under the Great Union of Monastic Orders in 1256. The hermitage remained active until the late 17th century, when the numbers began to dwindle. It was abandoned in 1785 during the reign of Joseph II, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1765-90, whose religious reforms abolished hereditary and ecclesiastical privileges. The site yielded much historical and architectural information about the old structures and about the life of the monks. Excavation also produced pottery, coins of Emperor Henry II of A.D. 940, and an iter sacrum – a pilgrimage route – that continues indefinitely under the shifting mountain. The mountain, even today pressing on the walls of the building, may have covered the original Etruscan settlement, if there was one, with an immense slide of earth. Publication of the excavation material appears in G.T. Radan and A. Lengyel, “The Eremo di Santa Lucia: Archaeological Documentation of an Augustinian Hermitage,” Etruscans III (1974) 5-33.