Skip to comments.ANCIENT NECROPOLIS FOUND BENEATH VATICAN
Posted on 10/09/2006 9:03:15 AM PDT by NYer
The history of this dig may be found here.
AP - Mon Oct 9, 10:40 AM ET
In this undated photo provided Monday, Oct. 9, 2006 by the Vatican Museums, a general view of an ancient necropolis unearthed at the Vatican is seen. Vatican Museums officials and archaeologists on Monday unveiled the necropolis, which was unearthed three years ago during the construction of a parking lot for Vatican City employees and vehicles. Visitors to the Vatican will soon be able to step into the newly unveiled necropolis likened by archaeologists to a ''little Pompeii'' of cemeteries which were the final resting place of the rich and not-so-affluent inhabitants during centuries of Roman imperial Rule.
AP - Mon Oct 9, 10:41 AM ET
In this undated photo provided Monday, Oct. 9, 2006 by the Vatican Museums, a detail of an engraving in an ancient necropolis unearthed at the Vatican. Vatican Museums officials and archaeologists on Monday unveiled the necropolis, which was unearthed three years ago during the construction of a parking lot for Vatican City employees and vehicles. Visitors to the Vatican will soon be able to step into the newly unveiled necropolis likened by archaeologists to a ''little Pompeii'' of cemeteries which were the final resting place of the rich and not-so-affluent inhabitants during centuries of Roman imperial Rule.
Reuters - Mon Oct 9, 8:19 AM ET
A sarcophagus adorned with a woman and victory wings lies at the site of a Roman necropolis in the Vatican in a photograph released October 9, 2006.
Reuters - Mon Oct 9, 8:17 AM ET
Figures which adorned the tomb of a baby lie at the site of a Roman necropolis in the Vatican in a photograph released October 9, 2006.
Check this out...
This is where the ostensible bones of St. Peter were found and the candidate for the "troparion" or trophy of Gaius. Constantine had gone through a massive amount of effort to put the basilica on top of the Vatican hill, and to align its main altar directly over a grave in the Roman necropolis.
Thanks so much NYer.
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I thought everyone knew the Vatican was built over an ancient Roman Cemetery, where Peter was buried after he was crucified head down.
Great post and photos!
You're right. This is not the best title. The original news story (linked above) is to Bloomberg which is a blocked source. They entitled their news story: Vatican Necropolis Gives Up Secrets After Escaping Construction
I searched other news sources but the best I could find were the photographs released by the Vatican which are posted above. CNN and USA Today are now catching up. BTW - those terracotta pipes projecting from the ground, are funnels where visitors would pour honey and other foods down to the deceased.
Here's one more photo.
In this undated photo provided Monday, Oct. 9, 2006 by the Vatican Museums, a mosaic floor is seen in an ancient necropolis unearthed at the Vatican.
The bloomberg headline reads like a bad babblefish translation of pravda.
I rather think that Peter was a myth.
Romans died long before the Xians came. They took many of their burial practices from the Etruscans, who had very elaborate burial chambers that can still be viewed today.
The Romans also took from the Etruscans their eating practices (lying down on couches). I always thought of the last supper as the disciples lying 4 and 5 to a couch (crowded: 3 to a couch was optimum). Gives an insight to John lying in Jesus bosom....
The myth of Peter as head of the church was not promugated until the 4th century, and was never accepted by the Orthodox. Many of the supports of that myth are either ridiculous, or fraud.
Constantinius had reasons for moving his capital away from Rome, the Romans being part of that.
From the photo in post #1, my guess is that the dig is at site # 65.
Why do you think that? There's more independent evidence (not to mention a contemporaneous epitaph on the site of his former burial place) for the existence of St. Peter than most of the Romans of the time.
I rather wonder why you think so, except some vague assumption that it couldn't *possibly* be true simply because it is has been maintained for 2000 years straight.
There is of course, no question that the Romans and the Etruscans borrowed many practices. Or that Romans buried their dead in necropoli (I have, in fact, been to the most famous Etruscan one at Cerveteri).
But what that has to do with St. Peter being a myth, I have no idea. To say nothing of the NT, the historical sources--*from the 2nd century* are unanimous in putting Peter in Rome. We have found his name scratched on graffiti in that necropolis below the cathedral.
Do you expect us to believe that an entirely different person of an entirely different name--both lost to history--headed the Christian community in Rome? A person apparently totally forgotten by everyone? And instead the Christian writers of the 1st and second century, who could name the succession from Peter to Linus to Clement and on, (oops!) just accidentally ascribed the founding to a made-up Galilean fisherman?
*Sigh*...how I tire of this modern fetish of "debunking".
Thanks for the info about the necropolis....didn't know this was a new one.
Sorry--I meant # 63.
There are many, many contemporaneous Christian writers from the first and second centuries A.D. who mention St. Peter as Bishop of Rome and head of the Church.
In order to believe that nonsensical geocities website, you have to ignore ALL the historical evidence (and there is plenty.)
You beat me to it!
According to this account in La Stampa via an italian blog site, it's located " alledificio dellAnnona vaticana e accanto alla fontana della Galea - si estendeva lungo le pendici della collina al lato della Via Triumphalis."
I think Galea is a typo there & it's really the Fontana de Galera, or Fountain of the Sailing Ship (#17 on your map). The reference to the 'edificio dell'Annona' kinda throws me off though. It's not on vatican maps (Annonas are like ancient roman granaries, usually associated with municipal financial administration). I know that the Vatican Printing office bldg (#30 on your map) is sometimes referred to as "Spazzo Annonari". But the ancient Via Triumphalis (a short section of which is still called the Via Trionfale in modern Rome) that La Stampa refers to would probably extend over closer to the fountain.
My mom, who has spent a lot more time than I inside the walls of the Vatican & who has molto bene contacts there, thinks she heard it was way over by the vaticano railway station though. Sorry, I don't think she's right. I vote for this area right below (just SE of) the fountain where all the dusty white stuff is just inside the walls shown here on google maps.
Fontana della Galera
Thanks. I figured there would be someone on FR familiar enough with what's inside the Vatican City walls, to make an educated guess.
Eek! LOL. Not an educated guess, just a shot in the dark, and I fully expect to be proven wrong when they finally get around to telling us exactly where the new garage is.
Wow, neat !!!!
I just went through the above site: It confirmed my memory of my courses at Evangel College:
None of the First Century writers mentioned Peter as bishop of Rome. The mentions of him were either quotes from the gospel, or allusions to Peter as an apostle.
No surprise. The reason St. Peter's is located on the Vatican hill is because St. Peter was buried there. They actually found what are believed to be his remains buried in a spot which had a graffito which read "Peter is here" carved over top of it some 20 years ago.
. . . BTW, you keep changing the criteria - moving the target. You are the one who started with the 4th century, now you're down to the first century A.D. . . Our Saviour's death and resurrection didn't occur until half way through that century. That tells me you lack confidence in your sources . . . and that lack of confidence is well founded.
I wish I were familiar enough with what's inside the Vatican City walls to make an educated guess!! *sigh*
or it would imply that I don't have infinite amounts of time, and decided to begin with the first Century and work out from there.
You can't have read any of the early works and seriously hold this view.
Would you do me the great favor and tell me the names of one or two of the early Christian writers who name Peter as Pope or Bishop of Rome?
That would save me the trouble of hunting through everyone to convince myself of a negative, and then I would find that I had missed one.
St. Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, who, after Linus and Anacletus, succeeded St. Peter as the fourth in the list of popes. In his "Epistle to the Corinthians", written in A.D. 95 or 96, he bids them receive back the bishops whom a turbulent faction among them had expelled. "If any man", he says, "should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger" (Ep. 59). Moreover, he bids them "render obedience unto the things written by us through the Holy Spirit".
St. Ignatius of Antioch, ca. 107 A.D., in the opening of his letter to the Roman Church, refers to its presiding over all other Churches.
St. Irenaeus, a disciple of St. Polycarp, who had been appointed Bishop of Smyrna by St. John, in "Adversus Haereses" (3:3:2), cites the Apostolic tradition faithfully preserved by the Church from the twelve Apostles. He notes that the See of Rome is preeminent because of its descent from St. Paul and St. Peter.
When we get on into the 2nd and early 3rd century, the references to the primacy of Peter are so numerous (Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Dionysius of Alexandria, etc.) that there's no point in contesting it.
I'm an agnostic who has no dog in this hunt, but the comments weren't that Peter wasn't the head of the church in Rome, but that he wasn't considered the head of the movement after the death of Jesus.
As an agnostic, but a historian, I'm always open to new scholarship on the historical proofs of religion. I recently read "the Jesus Dynasty" which has some very interesting scholarship. Here are some excerpts found at:
Jesus' successors and legacy:
"Although the followers of Jesus reshaped themselves under the new leadership of James, and eventually returned to Jerusalem, there might well have been a period in which they retreated to Galilee in order to sort things out, and that is just what these gospel traditions appear to reflect. If that was the case then the more idealized account of the Jesus movement in the early chapters of the book of Acts is Luke' s attempt to recast things in a more triumphant way." (p. 238)
"There are two completely separate and distinct 'Christianities' embedded in the New Testament. One is quite familiar and became the version of the Christian faith known to billions over the past two millennia. Its main proponent was the apostle Paul. The other has been largely forgotten and by the turn of the 1st century A.D. had been effectively marginalized and suppressed by the other." (p. 259)
"The Nazarene movement, led by James, Peter, and John, was by any historical definition a Messianic Movement within Judaism. Even the term 'Jewish-Christianity,' though perhaps useful as a description of the original followers of Jesus, is really a misnomer since they never considered themselves anything but faithful Jews. In that sense early Christianity is Jewish." (p. 264)
"I would go so far as to say that the New Testament itself is primarily a literary legacy of the apostle Paul." (p. 270)
"There is no evidence that James worshipped his brother or considered him divine." (p. 280)
"...[W]hat we can know, with some certainty, is that the royal family of Jesus, including the children and grandchildren of his brothers and sisters, were honored by the early Christians well into the 2nd century A.D., while at the same time they were watched and hunted down by the highest levels of the Roman government in Palestine." (p. 290)
Great minds think alike :>)
Are you saying archeology is uninteresting or not useful, or...?