Currently Leonard is setting up a new archaeological fieldwork project in the center of Rome, in collaboration with colleagues at Rome’s Archaeological Superintendancy. Located near major monuments such as the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, the Palatine, and the Via Appia, San Gregorio is home to active monastic community that perpetuates the memory of pope Gregory the Great who founded a monastery at this very site in the late sixth century A.D.
Our new project serves to pursue several goals. Through controlled archaeological excavations we will study the transformation of Rome from a multi-cultural pagan to a Christian city. We also want to use archaeology to gain a glimpse of what daily life was like in a late antique and early medieval monastic setting in Rome (we know of many monasteries in Rome, but not one has been studied through archaeology). The project has an important heritage aspect also as it will provide crucial information to help restore the current baroque church of San Gregorio. Last but not least, this project will serve to train students so that they may become familiar with the intricacies of inner-urban archaeology while working in the most beautiful city on the planet.