Interior of the Sant’Ambrogio church at Montecorvino Rovella (Salerno)

The Byzantine expert who led the research project that re-dated the Sant’Ambrogio church at Montecorvino Rovella (Salerno) to the mid-ninth century is back in Italy to help secure wider recognition for the site.

During his visit, Dr Daniel Reynolds, Lecturer in Byzantine History at the University of Birmingham, along with his collaborators Prof. Chiara Lambert and Dr Francesca Dell’Acqua, Università degli Studi di Salerno, will meet with local stakeholders including the Commune di Montecorvino Rovella and the Archaeoclub.

His visit forms part of an upcoming application to have Sant’Ambrogio recognised by heritage organisation Europa Nostra. Dr Reynolds will also bring a group of PhD and undergraduate University of Birmingham students to continue research work on the Sant’Ambrogio site.

As Co-director of the project “At the Crossroads of Empires: the Longobard Church of Sant’Ambrogio at Montecorvino Rovella (Salerno)”, Dr Reynolds has contributed to a government-led economic regeneration project in the town, including a successful application to the European Union Regional Development Fund to the value of € 70,000.

Daniel continues to work to further establish Sant-Ambrogio on the historical and cultural map, as well as to encourage more external investment. He and colleagues Dr Andrea Mattiello, Dr Francesca Dell’Acqua and Prof. Chiara Lambert have been instrumental in securing continued funding, including most recently a Gerda Henkel fund that will be used for further excavations, as well as spectroscopic analysis on the wall paintings, and microscopic analysis on light in the church.

Dr Reynolds commented: “This upcoming visit is yet another opportunity to further build the case for investment in Sant’Ambrogio and other significant local sites. This remains crucial as some mainstream heritage organisations such as UNESCO ignore Lombard activity in Italy after the cut-off date of AD 775.

“Sant’Ambrogio is a hugely significant discovery in Byzantine heritage and a stunning example that illuminates this fascinating period in history. It deserves wider recognition so that more visitors to the Lombard region discover Montecorvino Rovella and its rich heritage for themselves.”

The British-Academy-Leverhulme-funded project has re-dated Sant’Ambrogio and its burials to the mid-ninth century, which established the site as a uniquely-preserved example of ninth-century Lombard architecture. It has been incorporated into the EU Cultural Heritage Route ‘Longobard Ways Across Europe’ through the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 Platform.

In addition the research has found the site to be a significant component of Carolingian conceptions of sacred landscape across Western Europe, and has now been linked it to the establishment of the cult of Saint Michael and Carolingian responses to Islam.

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