Pontifical Academy of Archaeology

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The Pontifical Academy of Archaeology (or Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia) is an academic honorary society established in Rome by the Catholic Church for the advancement of Christian archaeological study. It is one of the ten such Pontifical Academies established by the Holy See.[1]


In the 17th century, Pope Benedict XIV responded to public and Church interest in archaeology by establishing an association of students of Roman archaeology. Antonio Bosio work on the Catacombs had drawn the attention of international archaeologists to the early history of Christianity.

In 1816 Pius VII, on the recommendation of Cardinal Consalvi, gave official recognition to the "Accademia Romana di Archeologia" and the Academy became an important international centre of archaeological study. The Academy's foreign members and lecturers included Niebuhr, Akerblad, Thorwaldsen, as well as sovereigns, Frederick William IV of Prussia and Charles Albert of Sardinia.

Later during the 19th century, the Academy became involved in a series of property rights disputes. The academy was determined to prevent damage to monuments by restricting the rights of residents in low-cost housing near the Pantheon in Rome. The Academy succeeded in obtaining, from Pope Pius IX, a decree for the demolition of the houses on the left side of the Rotonda (Pantheon), and also protested against the digging of new holes in the walls. In 1833, an attempt was made to remove the tomb of Raphael, but the Academy protested to Pope Gregory XVI and was again successful. Later, through the efforts of one of its members, the academy was responsible for the restoration of the Tabularium on the Capitoline Hill.

As a result of these efforts, Pope Pius VIII gave the Academy the title of "Pontifical Academy".

Modern operations[edit]

The Academy operates with the guidance and direction of the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology.[2]

The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church is the Academy's "protector" and oversight. It has a membership of one hundred, thirty of whom are ordinary members; the others are honorary, corresponding and associate members. Its meetings are held in the palace of the Cancelleria Apostolica. The seal of the Academy represents the ruins of a classical temple, with the motto: "In apricum proferet" (It will bring to light).

In July 2010, the Academy celebrated its 200th anniversary.[3]

Academy publications[edit]

  • Leggi della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia (Rome, 1894)
  • Omaggio al II Congresso Internazionale di Archeologia Cristiana in Roma (Rome, 1900)
  • Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana of Giovanni Battista De Rossi (to the end of 1894) passim
  • Il Nuovo Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana (Rome, 1894–1906)

See also[edit]



External links[edit]