The discovery of an underground tunnel connecting the Ceramic Museum to the ancient kilns in Deruta, Italy, unveils a remarkable chapter in the history of ceramic production. This archaeological area, known as the kilns of San Salvatore, was unearthed in 2008 during the development of a public parking lot in the historic center, near the castellan walls where the church of San Salvatore stood until the early 20th century.

The archaeological investigation, completed in 2010, revealed a sequence of structures dating from the late 13th century to the early 18th century. This excavation brought to light a significant number of ceramic finds, including majolica, engobed and scratched ceramics, and glazed terracottas.

In the northern part of the site, a section of the medieval walls dating back to the late 13th century is visible. Nearby, an environment built between the late 13th and early 14th centuries was discovered, initially likely serving as a storage area for clay and raw metals, and later used as a "butto" (dump). Adjacent to the current walls, two kilns with well-preserved prefurnaces dating from the late 14th to the first half of the 15th century were found.

The main production facility, operational from the second half of the 15th century to the early 18th century, comprised various interconnected spaces centered around two kilns, a clay settling tank, and the remains of a melting furnace. The smaller of the two kilns, square in shape and positioned at a higher elevation than the main kiln (which is circular), is believed to have been used for the production of lusterware ceramics.

This fascinating discovery highlights Deruta's long-standing tradition in ceramic production, showcasing the advanced techniques and craftsmanship that characterized the region's artisans. The underground tunnel serves not only as a physical connector between the museum and the ancient kilns but also as a metaphorical link to the past, offering a tangible connection to the historical processes that contributed to Deruta's renown in ceramic artistry.


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