Open Conference Systems, Kainua 2017

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Reconstructing the ancient urban landscape in a long-lived city: the project Ausculum between research, territorial planning and preventative archaeology
Federica Boschi, Enrico Giorgi, Michele Silani

Last modified: 2017-03-21


The project Ausculum started in 2012, mainly as a project of urban archaeology and preventative archeology in a long-lived city.

A proper integrated methodological approach, adopted since the first steps of the research, derives from the complex nature of the context of study, which poses special challenges for archaeological investigation and use of non-invasive prospection methods.

The combination of a wide range of data, including that gathered from geophysical surveys (mostly ground penetrating radar mapping), archaeological digs, historic cartography, bibliographic and archival data, is leading to a reconstruction of the cityscape during the Roman Age and its development over the centuries. The understanding of the ancient urban landscape also includes a detailed morphological study aimed at the reconstruction of the Roman paleosol, carried out using data derived from coring samples and stratigraphic digs. In parallel, a particular attention is reserved to the modern tridimensional documentation of the historical buildings of the city, by means of laser scanner and the analysis of the stratigraphy of the preserved walls. The new surveys covered, in particular, the still surviving Roman buildings, as the temples incorporated by the churches of San Venanzio and San Gregorio Magno, as well as the substruction walls at the Colle dell'Annunziata.

The last acquisitions allowed the outlining of the overall layout and local patterning of the town during the Roman Age, as well as cast new light on the conformation of the ancient landscape at the time of the oldest Piceni settlement.

Within the operating practices followed by the project, one of the most interesting aspects lies in the interaction of all the match's players involved in the process of archaeological impact assessments carried out in advance of modern transformations, in the way to conciliate the needs for preservation and research with the aim of a sustainable urban development.