Map of The Vatican Necropolis - Scavi

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Tomb of St Peter by M. Guarducci

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(Click on the areas for more detail, a list is given at the bottom of this page)

South of St Peter's Basilica, on the ground is a marker designating the place where the obelisk once stood in the circus of Nero. Today this same obelisk is in the middle of St Peter's Square.

Here, in fact, iuxta obeliscum, Saint Peter was crucified upside down, as ancient tradition testifies, and buried in a simple rock tomb in the necropolis that extended a little north alont the via Cornelia. Just to the right of the Sacristy under another archway is the entrance to the Scavi, or excavations, of the basilica leading to the remains of the via Cornelia; from there one can approach the place where Saint Peter was buried.

With the construction of the Constantinian basilica the tomb and the surrounding necropolis disappeared from sight and eventually from consciousness. However, both the Constantinian and the present basilica were built in such a way that the papal altar is situated directly over the original tomb, making it the axis for the two massive basilicas that eventually arose over the modest original tomb of Peter.

It is due in great part to Pope Pius XII that the original tomb was discovered and the necropolis excavated during 1940-57. The most important part of the necropolis is the area that contained the body of Peter, called Field P (the archaeologist identified the areas of excavation with letters). It lies in the western section containing many other burial sites from the first and second centuries alongside that of the apostle.

Saint Peter and The Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes. Art Services International, 2003





Necropolis Areas
A. C. Polilius Heracla
B. Tomb of Fannia Redempta
C. L. Tullius Zethus
D. Opus Reticulatum
E. Aelii
F. The First Tomb of the Caetennii
G. Teacher
H. Tomb of the Valerii
I. Chariot
L. Caetennia Higia
M. Cristo Sole
N. Aebutii

O. Matucci
P. Field P
- Red Wall
- Shrine of St Peter (Trophy of Gaius)
- Graffiti Wall G (Bones of St Peter)
Q. Area for inhumation
R. Tomb R
S. Tomb S
T. Traebellena Flaccilla
U. Luicfer
V. Tomb V
Z. Tomb of the Egyptians
Tomb of the Marci



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