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Excavation

  • Pendici nord-orientali del Palatino
  • Roma
  •  
  • Italy
  • Latium
  • Rome
  • Rome

Summary (English)

  • Areas I-III

    In 2007 excavation of area III (south-east of the site) were suspended. In Area I (to the west) the excavation of the scant stratigraphy below the mid-Republican road levels in the Valley-Forum road, datable to the 5th century B.C., were definitively concluded.

    In Area II (to the east) work continued on several fronts. In the central sector work continued on the identification of a sewer system of Imperial (1st-4th century) date and the removal of the late and mid Imperial stratigraphy. This led to the identification of a further seven foundations of the Neronian terrace, delimiting three parallel rooms (from east to west: rooms 5, 6, 7). In these rooms excavations reached the late to mid Republican levels of the Valley-Forum road thus demonstrating that almost until the middle of the 4th century B.C. the road was narrower (or further south) than the later rebuilds and was delimited to the north by a wall of capellaccio tufa blocks. This wall represented the limit of the south-eastern slope of the Velia. North of the wall the remains of stone paving and beaten earth surfaces attested the presence of a sanctuary with an open area, in which the two bothroi already known were sited and where, from at least from the 5th century B.C. a temple stood (on the hill and thus outside the excavation area). Both caskets found last year inside the smaller bothros, a receptacle for sacrificial remains and ritual objects, were excavated. Below them another phase was visible, probably still dating to the 5th century B.C.

    Area IV

    In 2007 MiBAC’s extension of the excavation and research permit to include the building known in archaeological literature by the name of the “Baths of Helagabalus” led to the opening of Area IV of the excavation.

    Uncovered in 1872 the complex known as the “Baths of Helagabalus” dating to the 3rd century was probably a horreum. It comprised a series of rooms arranged around the north, east and west sides of a rectangular courtyard whose south side abutted the substructures on the northern slope of the Palatine. All that remains of the late antique restructuring are a small balneum, created in the south-western side of the complex (hence the name “Baths of Helagabalus” given to the entire building) and two apsidal fountains on the short sides of the courtyard, which led to the suggestion that the structure was transformed into a schola.

    The first excavation campaign concentrated on the eastern half of the complex and brought to light evidence from diverse periods:

    - late Republican period: opus reticulatum walls belonging to the domus already identified in Area I; – Julio-Claudian period: restructuring of the domus (internal walls and frescoes); – Neronian period: the destruction layers of the domus relating to the fire of 64 A.D.; – Hadrianic period: a series of rooms forming a grid on a north-south alignment and paved in opus spicatum.
    The building, in all probability a horreum, filled the space between the temple of Venus and Rome to the north, from which it was separated by the Valley-Forum road, and the substructures, also Hadrianic, on the northern side of the Palatine. It was separated from the latter by a basalt road heading towards the Via Nova. The road was served by a large drain, also Hadrianic, which also came to light in Areas I and II; – Severan period: destruction of the Hadrianic horreum and the construction over its remains of the “Baths of Helagabalus”. These interventions were almost contextual with the containing wall delimiting the Vigna Barberini to the north, with the consequent destruction of earlier Hadrianic substructures. In precisely the north-eastern corner the excavation uncovered the substantial foundations of the new Severan wall; – 4th-5th century: interventions in the courtyard area of the “Baths of Helagabalus”: paving in large white marble tesserae and new limits to the courtyard crossed by the channels feeding a small apsidal fountain; construction of a monumental apsidal fountain at the western end, flanked by two square rooms open to the east with a colonnade; construction of a large staircase which from the courtyard intercepted, to the west, an archaic cistern with a dolium inserted into its floor. The modest balneum, perhaps created in an earlier phase in the area behind this fountain, seemed to still be in use in this period; – 6th-7th century: three burials were inserted in the rooms along the eastern side of the “Baths of Helagabalus”; – medieval and renaissance periods: robbing: between the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century the large Severan wall delimiting the northern slopes of the Palatine was removed; in the renaissance period a complex system of pits and cuniculi ran across almost all of the area investigated.

  • Sabina Zeggio - Roma Capitale-Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali 
  • Lucia Saguì - Sapienza-Università di Roma 

Director

  • Clementina Panella - Sapienza-Università di Roma

Team

  • Daniele Botticelli
  • Emanuele Brienza
  • Antonio Francesco Ferrandes - Sapienza-Università di Roma
  • Arianna Santelli
  • Francesco Quondam - Sapienza-Università di Roma
  • Giacomo Pardini - Sapienza-Università di Roma
  • Nicoletta Saviane - Sapienza-Università di Roma
  • Viviana Carbonara
  • Matilde Cante
  • Giovanni Caratelli
  • Lucia Saguì - Sapienza-Università di Roma
  • Sabina Zeggio - Roma Capitale-Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali
  • Salvatore Piro - Istituto tecnologie applicate ai beni Culturali CNR
  • Antonia Arnoldus Huyzendveld - Società Digiter-Roma
  • Maurizio Necci - Sapienza-Università di Roma

Research Body

  • Sapienza - Università degli Studi di Roma

Funding Body

  • Sapienza - Università degli Studi di Roma

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