Sebastiano Tusa

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Sebastiano Tusa
Sebastiano Tusa.jpg
Councillor for Cultural Heritage for Sicily
In office
11 April 2018 – 10 March 2019
Preceded byVittorio Sgarbi
Personal details
Born(1952-08-02)2 August 1952
Sicily, Italy
Died10 March 2019(2019-03-10) (aged 66)
near Bishoftu, Ethiopia
Spouse(s)Valeria Patrizia Li Vigni
Alma materSapienza University of Rome
OccupationArchaeologist, professor, politician

Sebastiano Tusa (2 August 1952 – 10 March 2019) was an Italian archaeologist and politician who served as councilor for Cultural Heritage for the Sicilian Region of Italy from 11 April 2018 until his death on 10 March 2019.[1] Tusa also served as a professor of paleontology at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples.


Sebastiano was the son of archaeologist Vincenzo Tusa. He had a degree in literature with a specialization in Paleontology from Sapienza University of Rome. As the manager of the Sicilian Regional administration since 1993 he was responsible for the archaeological section of the Regional Center for Design and Restoration.[2] In 2003, during excavations he conducted in Pantelleria three Roman imperial portraits were found.

Abandoning field research, Tusa dealt with the administration of cultural heritage in the roles of the Sicilian Region, leading the superintendency of Trapani.[3] In 2004 he was appointed as the first Superintendent of the Sea by the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Sicilian Region. He organized archaeological missions in Italy, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq.[4]

In 2005, he led the excavations at Motya, bringing to light, the submerged road that leads to the island, as well as structures identifiable as quays. In 2008 Tusa and Folco Quilici made a documentary film on the prehistory of the Mediterranean at Pantelleria.[5] The excavations he promoted, and conducted in the field by Fabrizio Nicoletti and Maurizio Cattani, also confirmed the role of Pantelleria as a "crossroads for merchants" in ancient times.[citation needed]

In January 2010, he was named honorary member of the National Archaeologists Association. In 2012 he returned to head the Superintendence of the Sea of the Region.[6][7] In March 2012 Tusa was a candidate for the Palermo city council in the list of FLI but lost the election.[8] After leaving the Superintendency of the Sea, on 11 April 2018 he was appointed councilor for Cultural Heritage by the president of the Sicilian Region Nello Musumeci, replacing Vittorio Sgarbi.[1]


Tusa was one of 157 people killed in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, on 10 March 2019. The plane was flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. He was heading to Malindi, where he had been invited to attend a conference organized by UNESCO.[9][10][11] He was 66 years old at that time.

Tusa was survived by his wife, Valeria Patrizia Li Vigni, the director of the Palazzo Riso Museum of Contemporary Art in Palermo.[12]

Academic work[edit]

From the 2000s until his death, Tusa was a professor of Marine Archeology during a three-year degree in Marine Biology, based in Trapani, University of Palermo. He was also a professor of Paleontology at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples and a lecturer at the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Bologna.[13] In the academic year 2015-16 he was a contract professor at the Philipps University of Marburg in Germany.[14]

Published works[edit]

  • La preistoria nel territorio di Trapani, Marsilio, 1990.
  • Mozia, Publisicula, 1990.
  • Sicilia preistorica, Dario Flaccovio Editore, 1994. ISBN 88-7758-227-8.
  • La Sicilia nella preistoria, Sellerio, 1999, ISBN 88-389-1440-0.
  • Archeologia e storia nei mari di Sicilia, Magnus, 2010. ISBN 978-88-7057-252-0.
  • Selinunte, L'Erma di Bretschneider, 2011. ISBN 978-88-8265-592-1.
  • Sicilia archeologica, Edizioni di Storia e Studi Sociali, 2015. ISBN 978-88-99168-05-6
  • Primo Mediterraneo. Meditazioni sul mare più antico della storia, Edizioni di Storia e Studi Sociali, 2016
  • I popoli del Grande Verde. Il Mediterraneo al tempo dei faraoni, Edizioni di Storia e Studi Sociali, 2018


  1. ^ a b "Soprintendenza del Mare - Struttura" [Superintendency of the Sea - Structure]. (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  2. ^ "Ethiopia, eight Italians among the victims of the crashed plane: among them also an assessor of the Sicily Region". Archy Worldys. 10 March 2019. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Pantelleria, il volto del passato fu la grande isola del commercio" [Pantelleria, the face of the past was the great island of commerce]. (in Italian). Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  4. ^ "patrimonio sos: in difesa dei beni culturali e ambientali" [sos heritage: in defense of cultural and environmental heritage]. (in Italian). Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  5. ^ (PDF) (in Italian)'oro+26-09-08.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ (in Italian) Retrieved 13 March 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Sebastiano Tusa lascia la Sovrintendenza di Trapani, e ritorna alla Sovrintendenza del Mare" [Sebastiano Tusa leaves the Superintendence of Trapani, and returns to the Superintendency of the Sea]. (in Italian). 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  8. ^ "sebastiano tusa archeologo" [Sebastiano tusa archaeologist] (in Italian). Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Schianto Boeing Etiopia, assessore Tusa a bordo. Dal Kenya: "Nessun sopravvissuto"" [Crash Boeing Ethiopia, assessor Tusa on board. From Kenya: "No survivors"] (in Italian). La Sicilia. 10 March 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Aereo precipitato in Etiopia, ecco chi sono le otto vittime italiane" [Plane crashed in Ethiopia, here are the eight Italian victims] (in Italian). La Stampa. 10 March 2019.
  11. ^ Badshah, Nadeem; Lyons, Kate; Jacobson, Seth (11 March 2019). "Who were the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  12. ^ Patrizia Li Vigni, Valeria (2019-03-10). "Sebastiano Tusa: il dolore della moglie" [Sebastiano Tusa: the pain of his wife]. TGR (in Italian). TGR Sicily. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  13. ^ "UniboRubrica - Università di Bologna" [Unibo Rubrica - University of Bologna]. (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  14. ^ "Geschichte und Kulturwissenschaften" [History and Cultural Studies]. Philipps-Universität Marburg (in German). Retrieved 2019-03-10.

External links[edit]