New entrances and luminaria were opened; roads built; oratories and basilicas built on the surface; and sometimes services such as hospices, baths and custodians’ houses provided. The Gothic wars in Italy and political and military upheavals elsewhere contributed to making burials in cemeteries far from cities increasingly rare but did not disrupt the flow of pilgrims to the sanctuaries created in those places. Popes and bishops continued to restore them and encourage devotion. Guides were even written for visitors from distant lands: 7th- and 8th-c. Cote d’Ivoire Map Tourist Attractions examples of these survive in the itineraries of the Roman sanctuaries. These topographical documents are very valuable to archaeologists, because in the 9th c., after repeated sacks by the Longobards Lombards and Saracens, the sanctuaries were gradually abandoned and the relics of the martyrs translated within the city walls. That marked the end for all the catacombs and for some of the sub divo cemeteries: the churches above ground, no longer restored, gradually crumbled, and the entrances to the galleries disappeared under rockfalls and vegetation.
A few decades after the last translation, the very existence of most of these places, once so famous and so frequented, was unknown. IV. Archaeological research. In the Roman catacombs we can see signatures of sporadic visitors already in the 15th c., including those of the fellows of the famous Academy of Pomponius Leto. Systematic research was prompted by the chance discovery in 1578 of the cemetery of Via Anapo, near the Via Salaria, which aroused great enthusiasm among the learned. The paintings were copied and published, creating a desire to find more. Antonio Bosio 1575 1629 was the leader of these searchers; he alone discovered some 30 catacombs and, in particular, established the basis of scientific study by topographical analysis of monuments in the light of documentary evidence. Unfortunately, 17th- and 18th-c. archaeologists did not follow Bosio’s topographical method: they started removing epigraphs and sarcophagi to museums and churches and opened a great number of tombs as they searched for presumed bodies of martyrs, whom they believed could be recognized by the presence of a vase with traces of vermillion. Local vinedressers completed the work of destruction by removing building material. Vast cemeterial regions then assumed the aspect of devastation in which today’s visitor sees them. In the 19th c., G.B. de Rossi 18221894 resumed scientific research and traced the main outlines of Christian archaeology. His studies aroused a ferment of research, gradually extended to other parts of the ancient world. Today in all the nations of Europe, Mediterranean Africa and the Near East, the research and study of early Christian cemeteries makes up a very important part of archaeological excavations and publications.
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