Open Conference Systems, Kainua 2017

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Reshaping the urban space: Bakchias in Ptolemaic and Roman times
Ilaria Rossetti

Last modified: 2017-03-21


The scientific expedition of the Bologna University has excavated at Kom Umm el-Atl, the ancient Bakchias, in the north east of the Fayyum, for over twenty years; particularly the latest studies, accomplished in collaboration with Sapienza, University of Rome, have revealed several new elements useful for reconsidering the urban development of the kome.

The latest on-field activities, have brought to light numerous structures, both public buildings and private houses. In particular, the investigation have been focused on a domestic well-preserved quarter, a productive district near an ancient canal where a granary, a kiln and a Roman bath complex have been uncovered, and the sacred areas of the ancient settlement. In fact, in the centre of the city six different temples have been recognised, built in two sacred areas, of different chronology. The research work here has permitted to understand the urban evolution of the site and the transformation of the main axes of the town.

The archaeological research was completed by a topographical survey, aimed firstly at the creation of an up-to-dated map of the whole area, extended over about fifty hectares, and secondly at the monitoring of the state of conservation of the ancient building, mostly built of mud brick. The complete recording of the surviving structures of the town, the analysis of the wall building technique and the study of ceramic finds have allowed us to date some of these edifices.

The archaeological, surface-survey and papyrological data were merged in a GIS platform, that allowed us to draw a series of thematic and phase maps of the Bakchias site. These were obtained through the spatial analysis and construction of queries requested by the system. The execution of these diachronic plans representing different chronological phases of the town, allows us to evaluate the historical development of the site and urban plan transformations.