Residents of Taurisano, a small village in Apulia, Italy, are fighting to prevent their local heritage from being razed by building works.

A series of 12th-century tombs associated with the Medieval church of St Lucia were revealed beneath the main square during sewage works in the 1990s.

Carefully covered over at the time, villagers now report that the tombs have been re-exposed by refurbishment in the same square, together with a 16th century cistern and olive press, and that these and other archaeological remains are in serious danger.

‘What was on the surface, about 30cm below street level, has been almost completely destroyed,’ Taurisano resident Salvatore Rocca said. ‘This includes the foundations of the old ducal palace, which were removed with a bulldozer, and the floor of the ancient church, which was partially taken away.’

Following protests by the villagers, committee members from the town hall contacted the Superintendent for Cultural Heritage to arrange a visit, and work on the site has been halted.

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