LULP is back in Italy!

Back in April we made the executive decision to push back the beginning of excavations until summer 2023 due to a few unfortunate circumstances. But we are back in Italy and continuing our work on Libarna. We are welcoming our new Associate Director, Prof. Alexis Christensen. And this summer we are documenting one of the most important collections from Libarna, the Capurro Collection held in the Museale of Serravalle Scrivia. We will be crafting an online exhibit so everyone can enjoy this beautiful collection and the story behind it!

Heading the work this year is Nicole Inghilterra, a curator for the Idaho State Historical Society. Also joining us are Joseph Bradshaw, the talented illustrator who drew LULP’s beautiful banner, and Zoe Yamada Stave, who has been researching the environmental history of Libarna (whose blog post you can read here: https://libarnaarchproject.org/2021/05/23/libarna-as-an-agricultural-stronghold/).

(From left) Associate Director Alexis Christensen, Joseph Bradshaw, Zoe Yamada Stave, and Director Katie Huntley

Gianfrancesco Capurro was a local priest and scholar back in the 19th century. He was an innovator and a man ahead of his time. While most collections at the time were private and for people of means, he wanted to create a museum of artefacts from Libarna for all the people to enjoy. The local legend goes that he went around to local landowners to ask them to donate the artefacts that they found on their land to his new museum. If they refused he would return and offer to pay them for the artefacts. If they still refused, he returned with his shotgun! This is just a legend, but it speaks to what an important figure and local hero he is in the community today.

Gianfrancesco Capurro (Image from Associazione Storico Culturale Serravallese)

To create this exhibit we are digitizing the entire collection. We have been working tirelessly to photograph all the artefacts and creating 3D images of the most interesting pieces in the collection. We are also having Zoe and Joseph creating scientific illustrations of some of them. Finally we will be collecting stories and oral testimonies about the collection and some of the individual artefacts to bring to life their importance to the history of the region.

It feels fantastic to be back and working again. But perhaps the best part has been the warm welcome we have received from all our dear friends and collaborators here in Arquata and Serravalle Scrivia, Associazione Libarna Arteventi, and the Soprintendenza Archeologia. So we want to thank everyone, but a special shoutout to our Field Director Melania Cazzulo, Iudica Dameria and Antonio Santopietro, and Libarna’s funzionario archeologo Dott. Simone Lerma.

Nicole Inghilterra photographing one of the columns in the collection (Photo by Melania Cazzulo)
Joseph Bradshaw and Zoe Yamada Stave illustrating a marble column capital featuring a sea deity (Photo by Melania Cazzulo)
The team working on databasing and illustrating artefacts in the collection (Photo by Melania Cazzulo)

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