MUTSEU: A Subterranean World under the Church of St Eulalia

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Archaeological Area, Area archeologica, Cagliari, Sardinia

The St Eulalia complex in the medieval district of Marina in Cagliari, is a curiosity.  There is a church round the back and there is a treasury upstairs from the archaeology site.  The whole complex is referred to as MUTSEU.

The archaeological area of St Eulalia doesn’t just date from one period – it spans from the 4th century BC to the 19th century.  The most impressive and obvious part of the site, though, is Roman, with a cool road slicing its way through the stones.

In the Late Punic age (4th/3rd century BC) the area of St Eulalia was situated on the outskirts of Krly, the attractive Punic name for Cagliari. Around the 4th/5th century AD, the area became residential but in about the 7th century most people abandoned their homes due to piracy.  Gradually, the whole area was abandoned.  It was with the arrival of the Catalan-Aragonese in 1326 that the area was redeveloped.  During this period a small church was built, dedicated to Barcelona’s patron saint, St Eulalia.

Extensions carried out in the 17th century led to the discovery of a well, used during late antiquity.  In the 17th and 18th centuries, crypts were built under the floor of the church.  It was the re-discovery of these, in 1990, that led to 20 years of excavation.

So In Summary

There is something quite exciting about entering an archaeological site under a modern city.  The last time I did that was in Naples, again under a church, and although this isn’t as big, or as impressive, as the Greco-Roman streets under the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore, it is fascinating.  And, if you visit when there’s not really anyone else there, it’s kind of eerie…

Further Information & How To Get There

Please click here for the information on my MUTSEU post.


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