Rubi antiqua, Galerie Colbert, ph SaraRania
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The archaeological finds discovered on the Peucetian territory of Ruvo di Puglia, in Southern Italy, have aroused the excitement of European antique dealers in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth century. In Ruvo collections were made which enhanced the local heritage (Giovanni and Giulio Jatta, Caputi, Lagioia) while other finds from Ruvo went to enrich the Royal Bourbon Museum of Naples. In France, importations and sales at auction of collections which included antiquities from Ruvo first supplied the private collections (Duke of Blacas, Edme Antoine Durand, Joseph Tôchon), and subsequently the public museums. Moreover the evaluation of the French decade in Naples, and the work carried out  at the Institute of Archaeological Correspondence in which France played a major role, had a decisive impact on Italian archaeology in the Nineteenth century.

The Rubi Antiqua project wishes to renew interest in nineteenth century archaeology and collecting in Italy and France using  Ruvo as a privileged observatory. While some previous and isolated studies have dealt with the subject, nowadays the lack of a scientific catalogue and a proper historical study of the rich Jatta collection, 20 years on from when it became a museum, are a serious lacuna, and to this we intend to add a scientific overview of archaeology in Ruvo and its impact on Italian and French collecting. Whereas up until now the bibliography has been characterised by a biographical approach, we will start from the history of the archaeological site, considered as more suitable for the analysis of a global, trans-disciplinary and European phenomenon. The study of unpublished archive sources (private Jatta archive and public Italian and French archives) and the scientific analysis of the restored finds, will enrich our knowledge of the Jatta collection and of the other collections from Ruvo, and ultimately of the restoration of antiquities of the Nineteenth century.

The outcomes of this study will be disseminated in different forms, for different types of public. For the experts an on-line database will publish the final results, that will be also be summarised in scientific publications. The research staff will present the works on the occasion of a meeting organized by the National Institute of Art History of Paris. For the general public, a documentary will show the several phases of the research highlighting the importance of the site of Ruvo in the history of European archaeology. Finally, an exhibition hosted by an important Parisian museum will deal with the phenomenon of the archaeological collections of the Nineteenth century, through the example of the Jatta family and of other important families, making some famous finds and unknown masterpieces available to the general public.

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