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  • Pendici nord-orientali del Palatino
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Chronology

  • 800 BC - 2010 AD

Season

    • Investigations, comprising excavation and geophysical survey, have been conducted on the north-eastern corner of the Palatine in an area delimited to the north by the present Via Sacra, to the east by Piazza del Colosseo and to the west by the substructure of the Imperial palace and the so-called "Baths of Elagabalus". The archaeological evidence documents the evolution of this area which was connected to the road linking the valley of the _Colosseum_ to the Palatine, Velia and the _Forum_. The earliest phases are represented by a proto-Republican _bothros_ of cappellaccio stone, in a context relating to a cult that was active between the Orientalizing period and the mid-Republic, and a well, of later date, clad in peperino and filled by material from a sacred context. From the late Republic onwards the western area was occupied by a structure with an impluvium built in _opus incertum_ which was probably a house. At the end of the Republic this was replaced by a large _domus_, which included street front tabernae, built in _opus reticulatum_ with travertine pilasters. This building survived until the fire of 64 A.D. As part of the Neronian project for the _Domus Aurea_ the area became the site of a porticoed road which led to the Velian _Atrium_ and continued south, in the zone nearest the valley, to a terrace supported by corridors with parallel vaults. The Flavian dynasty completed the project, making slight modifications in the eastern area which survived until the late antique period. The western part was altered by the insertion of a series of structures of Hadrianic date, subsequently replaced by the "Baths of Elagabalus". In the early Medieval period the road leading up to the _Forum_ was still in use. During the Carolingian period a public building in brick, perhaps a church, was constructed along its course. It seems to have reused a small room below ground level, built in opus listatum and datable to between the 6th to 7th centuries A.D. The later periods are distinguished by large scale robbing, both above ground and in the galleries and finally by the building of several structures relating to the delimitation of the Palatine area between the 18th and 20th centuries.
    • Investigations on the north-eastern corner of the Palatine, between the present via Sacra, the Piazza del Colosseo, “Vigna B” and the “Baths of Heliogabalus”, envisage excavations and surveys (geo-electric and geo-radar). To date the evidence from the three areas (I to the west, II to the north-east, III to the south-east) ranges from the proto-Republican period up to the present day, documenting a monumental evolution which is closely connected to the road linking the valley of the _Colosseum_ to the Palatine, Velia and _Forum_. Evidence form the earliest period remains rare but of interest: 1) an _impluvium_ in cappellaccio (with cistern below?), 2) a proto-Republican _bothros_ with a votive deposit of the Orientalizing/mid-Republican period, 3) the remains of walls of probable _domus_, 4) a late-Republican well (the investigations are still in a preliminary phase) built in peperino which also contains a fill with material relating to a sacred context. From the late-Republican period the topography becomes legible: to the west of a tufa wall, which delimits a public complex, was a house in opus incertum with an impluvium and geometric mosaic pavements. This building was substituted at the end of the Republican period by a _domus_ constructed in opus reticulatun with travertine pilasters. It was fronted on the street by tabernae which evolved until the fire of 64 A.D. At this point the area became part of the project for the _Domus Aurea_, with the porticoed road leading towards the Velian atrium which delimits to the south the terracing built above parallel vaulted corridors. The Flavian dynasty completed the project making slight alterations and adding what was probably a small temple, faced in marble, situated towards the _Colosseum_. The eastern area of this complex survived until the late antique period, whilst to the west a complex was added in the Hadrianic period which was then substituted by the “Baths of Heligobalus”. After the fall of the Western Empire use of the road between the Colosseum and the Forum continued, alongside which rose a brick-built public building (church?) with a small underground room dating to between the 6th to 8th century A.D. There is evidence for large scale robbing (holes and tunnels) between the 13th and 18th centuries and finally, between the 18th and 20th centuries evidence of a few structures relating to the realization of the archaeological area.
    • In 2006 in Area I (to the west) stratigraphic sequences of early to mid Republican date were investigated. These levels preceded the construction of the _domus_ in _opus reticulatum_ and travertine pilasters that was identified between 2002 and 2004. The remains of two walls in _opus quadratum_ emerged, one (mid Republican) in yellow tufa and the other (late Archaic) in cappellaccio stone, probably relating to earlier houses. A stratigraphic sequence was also excavated relating to a series of rebuilds of the road leading to the forum (5th-3rd century B.C.) which can be tied in with the road phases known in the area of the Meta Sudans. Within Area II (to the east) the excavation proceeded on several fronts. In the North Sector (along the present Via Sacra) the road make ups of the latter ( 3rd-beginning of the 1st century B.C.) were investigated and a stretch of road paved in red tufa (end of the 4th century B.C.) was uncovered. Near the northern pavement the investigation of a mid 1st century B.C. “well” continued. In reality this contained sacrificial remains and ritual objects, below which were two stone caskets, one on top of the other. These were also filled with ritual objects and dated respectively to the 5th (but the research is ongoing) and beginning of the 3rd century B.C. In Sector W the continued investigation of the basement substructure of vaulted galleries built in the Neronian period showed how some of the spaces were abandoned in the 5th century A.D., whilst others were still in use in the early medieval period. During the year the conservation and study of a number of artefacts, found in 2005 in one of these spaces, identified them as a group of Imperial insignia, buried at the beginning of the 4th century and perhaps attributable to Maxentius. These have been on display in the Museo Nazionale Romano in Palazzo Massimo, Rome, since February 2007. Finally, in the Central Sector, where an enormous 17th century robber trench (identified in previous years and also extending into Area III) had drastically removed the above mentioned Neronian substructure, part of a complex sewer system of Imperial date (1st-3rd century A.D.) came to light, of which wells and lengths of drains remain. As regards Area III (to the south-east), in the West Sector the excavation was more or less completed of the fills in the 17th century robber trench. In the East Sector the stratigraphy relating to the rebuilding of a modern road was investigated. The road, known from many illustrations and dating to between the 18th and 19th century, curves towards the Palatine from the via di S. Gregorio. Rooms came to light arranged on a north-south alignment, open to the east-facing piazza dell’Anfiteatro, with pilasters that were partly blocked in. The structures showed a complex sequence of walls which went from the 1st ( _opus reticulatum_ ) to at least the 5th century ( _opus listatum_ and _incertum_ ). A patch of fresco with a white background and traces of a finely drawn draped figure dates to the latter phase.
    • _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.
    • _Areas I-III_ In 2008 work continued on the investigation of the complex drainage system of Imperial date (1st-4th century) in the central sector of Area II (eastern zone of the site). Two other stretches of conduit were identified, one of which was very large and may have already been in use in the late Republican period. South of the capellaccio stone wall identified in 2007 investigation continued of the phases relating to the Valley-Forum road reaching down to exceptionally thick stratigraphy of early Republican date (5th century B.C.). In the south-eastern corner of the area the only traces of the southern sidewalk came to light inside a small room. Between the capellaccio wall and the northern edge of the excavation work continued on the definition of the late archaic sanctuary situated on the south-eastern corner of the Velian hill. A paved ramp, rebuilt many times, led up from the road to the temple (outside the excavation area); within it there were two _bothroi_, that had already been identified, several cippi and a monumental altar of which the robber trench remained. Water drainage was ensured by a channel built in capellaccio beside the wall delimiting the road. Excavation of the smaller _bothros_ (still underway) produced some very interesting elements: a terracotta appliqué with a triton (?) and above all a small amphora and miniature cup in impasto dating to the mid 8th century B.C. In Area III (south-eastern zone) the resumption of the excavation of the massive land fills of the modern era, typical of the zone, aided the interpretation of the structures situated between the piazza of the amphitheatre and the eastern slopes of the Palatine. Linked to the Neronian-Flavian system of structures they formed corridors, with pilasters in _opus latericium_ and travertine heads, which gradually lost their function as passageways. Numerous blockings datable to the Trajanic-Hadrianic period ( _opus mixtum reticulatum/latericium_ ), to the middle and late Imperial period (diverse types of _opus latericium_ ) and to the end of the antique period (walls built of tufelli with a single course of bricks) delimited ever smaller rooms whose function remains unknown. _Area IV (“Baths of Helagabalus”)_ The continuation of investigations along frontage E of the complex and their extension along frontage N revealed new evidence regarding the _insula_ in which the Republican _domus_ stood. What came to light were the _tabernae_ facing onto the road, on a north-east/south-west alignment and all characterised by _opus reticulatum_ walls. The _insula_ was destroyed during the fire of 64 A.D. The extension of the excavation led to the identification of new spaces belonging to the Hadrianic _horreum_ which was built over the Republican _insula_ on a different alignment (N-S). The best preserved room, on E frontage of the complex, had undergone various alterations and preserved a latrine whose drain was filled, at the moment of its abandonment, by pottery that had probably been destined for sale. The conclusion of the excavation in the south-eastern corner of the _insula_ facilitated the reconstruction of the frontage of the Hadrianic and Severan substructures on the northern side of the Palatine. The Hadrianic substructures had two rows of rooms instead of a single row, therefore they projected further forward towards the north than was previously thought. The northern side of the Palatine was completely transformed in the Severan period when a new and more imposing substructure supporting wall was built, slightly set back to the south. The wall had a cement foundation, cast in formwork and surmounted by blocks of peperino, a number of which missed by a 13th century robber trench. The “Baths of Helagabalus” abutted the massive Severan supporting wall but seemed slightly later in date. Its construction involved the demolition of the Hadrianic _horreum_ and a substantial raising of the ground levels. In the area (W) adjacent to the eastern frontage a series of tanks recently came to light. Their presence will certainly help to clarify the function of this complex.
    • _Area II_ In the northern sector of Area II the excavation investigated the earth dumps relating to structural interventions (the ramp in cappellaccio slabs and the two _bothroi_ situated at the eastern and western extremities of the ramp) identified in the part of the Velian sanctuary which falls within the excavation area (cf. report for 2007-2008). The eastern _bothros_ appeared as a parallelepiped of cappellaccio blocks with a small square opening in the centre. Below it another structure (votive?) in cappellaccio blocks had begun to appear. The finds from the layers removed so far confirm the dating to the late archaic/early Republican period for this construction phase, but the cult site is certainly earlier, as attested by the ex voto found inside both wells. In the central sector excavation was undertaken to the south of the cappellaccio wall identified in 2007 which separates the Velian complex from the valley-Forum road, working on the area occupied by the latter. Substantial dumps of tufite and sandy beaten surfaces datable to the end of the 6th-beginning of the 5th century B.C. were excavated, all relating to rebuilds of the road. Investigation continued of the complex sewer system of imperial date, constituted by three parallel drains of diverse periods (Augustan, Neronian/Hadrianic and Flavian) which, coming from the west and south-west, consented the disposal of water from the buildings standing on this side of the hill. With the exception of the oldest drain, they continued to function until at least the end of the 4th century. _Area II “extension”_ In June 2009 following the felling, for safety reasons, of two examples of _pinus marittima_, it was possible to open a further large excavation area in the zone between Area II and Area III. The newly begun investigations have produced the first traces of elements which can be connected with the evidence already identified and excavated in the above mentioned areas: the modern roads between the Colosseum valley and the Palatine, an enormous ditch of 17th century date already excavated in previous campaigns and above all part of the collapsed vaults of the basement structures relating to the Neronian/Flavian terrace connected to the sanctuary at the north-eastern corner of the Palatine. (cf. 2005-2009).(Sabina Zeggio) _Area IV (“Baths of Elagabalus”)_ In Area IV (“Baths of Elagabalus”) the investigation was extended on the northern front opposite the present via Sacra, and in the area occupied by the courtyard onto which the structures of the Severan _horreum_ faced. The best documented phases are those of the late Republican and imperial periods, but evidence of prehistoric, archaic and Republican date also came to light. The late Republican _domus_, below the Hadrianic and Severan _horrea_, already partially excavated in Area I and Area IV (cf. 2007-2008), was renewed in the second half of the 1st century B.C. with a series of _tabernae_ facing onto the valley-Forum road and with a residential zone behind them. Between the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius the façade of the _tabernae_ was extended to the west and the domus was restructured (one room now had heating). The layers from the fire of 64 A.D. which destroyed the _domus_ were exceptionally well preserved. The excavation provided new data regarding the construction and demolition of the Hadrianic _horreum_ which faced north onto the valley-Forum road and south onto an internal road which continued the alignment of the via Nova. The complex was destroyed in the Severan period, at the same time as the construction of the new front of the substructures of the Vigna Barberini and of the new _horreum_ (the so-called Baths of Elagabalus), up against the base of the Vigna, with rooms on three sides of a rectangular courtyard (cf. 2007-2008). During the building site phase which preceded the actual construction of the complex, part of the area was occupied by masonry built tanks, for the slaking and working of lime. The new data on this building regards the transformation in the late antique period, when the courtyard was occupied by a peristyle paved with large marble tesserae. On the east and west sides two absidal fountains were built. The presence of fountains and ample practicable spaces indicates that this was a public building. (Lucia Saguì)
    • _Area II_ In the northern sector of Area II of the excavation investigations looked at the part of the sanctuary on the Velian hill which lies within the excavation area (see 2007-2009). The fill of the eastern _bothros_, a parallelepiped comprising eight courses of _cappellaccio_ blocks with a small square panel at the centre, was completely removed. A careful examination of the structure showed that the two upper courses had been dismantled and then rebuilt, respectively in the first half and second half of the 5th century B.C., on a base of six courses built at the end of the 6th-beginning of the 5th century B.C. the votive deposits contained within the structure are contemporary with the life and rebuilds, but also contained earlier _ex voto_, which date the beginning of cult activity in this area to the middle or second half of the 8th century B.C. The shrine rests on a crown of _cappellaccio_ slabs, on which an altar may have stood. In the central sector excavations took place to the south of a _cappellaccio_ wall, identified in 2007, marking the border, from the end of the 6th-beginning of the 5th century B.C., between the sanctuary on the southern slopes of the Velian hill and the valley-forum road. Here, the excavation of the late Republican stratigraphy relating to the construction of the wall and of the archaic layers predating the building of this structure was completed. _Extension_ In this area the intervention largely involved the removal of the terrain covering the great ditch of 1600, whose excavation stopped, along the east and west front of the excavation area, at the height of the levels of late antique and medieval collapse and abandonment already reached in Area III and in Rooms 1-4 of the Neronian/Flavian terrace (Area II). This intervention provided useful data for the reconstruction of the underground rooms of this structure. At the centre of the sector, where the ditch continued to descend, the remains of walls in _opus vittatum_ appeared. These were difficult to interpret due to the poor state of preservation. A wall in _opus latericius_, dating to the 6th-7th century A.D. and already partially uncovered during previous campaigns, was interpreted as a dividing wall in a large building which reoccupied the Neronia/Flavian platea in this period. _Area III_ In the north-eastern sector of this area a mosaic floor and its make up, dating to the Severan period, was identified below the medieval abandonment layers. _Area IV (“Baths of Elagabalus”)_ In area IV, the so-called Baths of _Elagabalus_, excavations were carried out in Rooms 6-10 and in courtyard 15. More rooms belonging to the late Republican _domus_ below the imperial complexes were identified. Important evidence regarding the imperial (Hadrianic and Severan _horrea_ ) and late antique remains was documented. The finds in the courtyard area (pools, flowerbeds, fountains, pathways) were of great interest as they showed the new use of the building from the 4th century onwards ( _collegium, schola_?). The excavations were then extended to the westernmost rooms of the complex behind the apse of the _nymphaeum_/fountain (or _stibadium_), where a vast bath complex (end of the 4th century?) was discovered. The discovery of a number of burials in amphorae dating to the end of the 6th-7th century concluded this campaign.
    • The fill from the large, 17th century ditch was completely removed. The ditch cut the semi-interred rooms of the Neronian complex abutting the north-eastern slope of the Palatine. The excavation of this stratigraphy documented the late antique (abandonment at the end of the 5th century) and early medieval (collapses in the 9th-10th century) phases of these rooms, which together with the small temple, were part of the restored Curiae Veteres in the Flavian period. The phases of occupation of the entire insula were also investigated, documented by a succession of paved floors and beaten earth surfaces which in the 3rd and 4th century replaced those of the 2nd and 1st century. The excavation of the medieval robber trenches, also cut by the 17th century ditch, provided new data about the layout of these structures. What emerged was a complex that between the Flavian period and late antiquity saw its main parts demolished and rebuilt, the construction of dividing walls and reinforcing piers and reductions in door apertures. The discovery of the foundations of the rooms constructed in a comb-shaped arrangement downhill from the late Republican/Augustan domus (investigated during previous campaigns) confirmed the hypothesis that they were part of the Augustan or Julio-Claudian phase of the sanctuary of the Curiae Veteres, which burnt down in 64 A.D. Following the fire, the Neronian builders demolished the walls, undercut and repaired the pre-existing foundations and built a new network of structures. _Area III_ The eastern strip of the area, looking onto the Piazza del Colosseo, was investigated. In the northern sector, following the removal of the early and mid imperial levels, important structures relating to the sanctuary of the Curiae Veteres were revealed, including at least two rooms, one paved in opus scutulatum and the other in black mosaic. A third space, paved in opus spicatum, opened towards the Piazza del Colosseo and was probably open-air (exedra?). In the southern sector, a metalworking structure, datable to between the 5th and 6th century, came to light below the medieval abandonment layers. Inside, work surfaces and circular pits and small holes for the installation of small furnaces and were preserved. The installation was built directly on top of the massive Neronian dump post-dating the fire of 64 A.D. and was preceded by the robbing of the imperial paving date, dating to between the 1st and 4th century A.D. Structures relating to the ancient Curiae were also identified in this sector. _Area IV (so-called Baths of Elagabalus)_ The investigations looked at the western sector of the courtyard and the rooms alongside the late antique exedra, whose function as a _stibadium_/fountain is now clear. Next to them, the remains of two superimposed huts, datable respectively to the Laziale IIIB (circa 800-720 B.C.) and IIIA (circa 850-800 B.C.) were identified. In the late Republican and early imperial periods, the eastern half of the complex saw the enlargement of the _domus_ frontage with the _tabernae_ facing onto the valley-forum road (investigated in previous campaigns), and in the western half the construction of two new insulae. All of these buildings were destroyed in the 64 A.D. fire. New perimeter walls of the Hadrianic _horreum_, demolished in the Severan period, emerged across the western area. Three new piers, completing the series on the northern front of the substructures, were uncovered. The excavation of the _calidarium_ of the late antique baths, which developed at the western end, was completed and two new _praefurnia_ were identified. To the east of the baths, in the area characterized by the apse delimiting the _stibadium_ /fountain, the reused marble floors of the north and south triclinii were exposed. The archaic well situated in the area in front of the _stibadium_ /fountain, reused in the late antique period with the addition of masonry steps, was almost completely emptied, thanks to help from the Roma Sotteranea Association. A _dolium_ was recovered from the well, which was part of a device installed in the late antique period. A lime-kiln, datable to the 10th century, was uncovered in the room on the northern side of the _stibadium_ /fountain.
    • _Area II_ The investigations in Area II, which completely occupied, from the late Neronian period onward, by a terrace on two levels, excavated stratigraphy dating to between the Hadrianic and modern periods. The first chronological horizon produced evidence of a major restoration of the sewer system, the construction of a number of _opus mixtum_ walls to divide several of the Neronian-Flavian rooms, and the re-laying of the floors. About a century later, the building was consolidated by the construction of brick pillars to reinforce the roofing; new floors were again laid, including a high quality black and white mosaic with geometric motifs. The basement rooms went out of use between the second half of the 3rd century and beginning of the 4th century, when a paving of _basoli_, and other reused stone, was created immediately east of room 4. In the 5th century, a short sector (Room 1) of the Hadrianic sewer coming from Area IV and crossing Area II in an east-west direction was restored. Lastly, the excavation of the post-antique robbing was almost completed, with the removal of medieval trenches and cuniculi and the definitive elimination of the vast 17th century robbing which entirely occupied this sector of the excavation. (cf. 2011 report). _Area III_ The excavation investigated the eastern side of Area III, facing the present day Piazza del Colosseo, where the removal of the late antique, mid imperial and Neronian stratigraphy revealed new evidence relating to the late Republican, Augustan, and Julio-Claudian phases of the _Curiae veteres_. In the Area’s northern sector, the excavation examined the substructures underlying the room paved in _opus signinum_ decorated with basalt _crustae_ (defined as _opus scutulatum_ in the 2011 report), datable to the beginning of the 1st century B.C. A small drain containing two _fistulae_ stamped _Ti. Cutius Ciltius_, consul _suffectus_ in 55/56 was uncovered. The intervention is to be linked to the Claudian and Neronian (pre 64 A.D.) building activities that are well-documented in the area of the _Meta Sudans_. The piping, coming from the south, probably fed the “exedra” situated downhill from this room, already identified in 2011, also datable to the Claudian or proto-Neronian period. Two large foundations, dating respectively to the 1st century B.C. and the Claudian period, on a more or less east-west alignment, found beneath the robber trenches and post-64 A.D. Neronian levelling can be attributed to the _Curiae_. Lastly, little remains of the structures of the _Domus Aurea_, disturbed, as in Area II, by the construction of the pillars, dividing walls and blockings that articulate the history of this side of the Palatine hill from the Flavian period until the 4th-5th century. _Area IV_ (so-called Baths of Helagabalus) In the “Baths of Helagabalus” the excavations concentrated on the courtyard and western end of the Severan building, occupied at the beginning if the 4th century A.D. by a _balneum_ and a hemicycle with _stibadium_ and _lacus_ in front. The marble floors were robbed from all of the rooms in the medieval period, but in some cases it is possible to reconstruct the design thanks to the traces preserved in the mortar make up. The courtyard of the Severan complex was restructured in the same phase with a paving made up of large marble tesserae, pools, and fountains. Almost the entire late antique layout has been brought to light. The emptying of numerous medieval and modern ditches revealed parts of the structures that preceded the construction of the Severan _horreum_ , adding to knowledge of the plan of the late Republican and Hadrianic _insulae_. Lastly, excavation of the early Iron Age (Latial phases IIA-IIB1) hut investigated during previous campaigns was completed. Underlying the occupation levels was a substantial group of natural deposits of eroded material, in direct contact with the geological substratum.
    • _Area II_ Excavation within Area II investigated stratigraphy dating to between the 4th century B.C. and the modern era. The first chronological horizon showed the radical transformation of the occupation levels of the sanctuary of the _Curiae_ _Veteres_. Throughout the 4th century B.C., a series of earth dumps containing abundant pottery raised the previous floor levels. Earlier finds (end of the 6th-5th century B.C.) appeared within this stratigraphy, certainly belonging to the sacred area: large painted vats made of augitic terracotta, one of which decorated with the head of a young man that was preserved intact (470-460 B.C.), red impasto _dolia_, fragmented but almost complete. A drain built in _cappellaccio_ datable to the 4th century B.C. indicated the level of the mid Republican floor levels. In addition to identifying the southern sidewalk of the road leading from the Forum valley in the 3rd century B.C. phase, part of the Augustan sewer below this road was uncovered together with part of the late Republican (Caesarian) network of foundations reached from the cut in the slope undertaken during the Neronian period after the fire of 64 A.D. The network was formed by walls running north-south, enclosing the internal spaces of the sanctuary in a system not unlike the later Neronian constructions that partially reused them. _Area III_ In the northern part of Area III, facing onto the present day Piazza del Colosseo, a series of vaulted structures was investigated below the room paved in _opus_ _signinum_ decorated with basalt _crustae_ dating to the early years of the 1st century A.D. In the southern part of the area, the excavation of several modern robber trenches revealed a succession of walls dating from between the Republican and late antique periods. The north-western corner of the presumed temple restored by Claudius within the _Curiae_ _Veteres_ appeared below a network of late imperial and Severan foundations and the travertine floor of the pillared Neronian corridor that was part of the Domus Aurea. The presence of a _piaculum_ close to this structure seems to suggest that the cult site was also part of the restructuring dating to the beginning of the 1st century B.C., documented during the excavation of the Meta Sudans. _Area IV (so-called Baths of Helagabalus)_ In the area occupied by the Severan monument known as the “Baths of Helagabalus”, the excavations revealed the foundations of a Julio-Claudian _insula_ situated immediately east of the “temple of Jupiter Stator” which, cut by the Neronian porticoed street, continued towards the north-east in the area of the present Via Sacra. The western structures of the complex and their alignment are indicated in Lanciani, F.U.R., tav. 29. In the western part of the Severan courtyard the late antique floor make up was preserved in several places. Constituted by marble and travertine fragments, it indicated the original presence of the floor of large white marble tesserae, found in other parts of the same courtyard. The foundation of a wall that reused a considerable quantity of late antique sculpture fragments. Among the reused sculptures were a double herm of Hermes (only the half with the young Hermes is preserved), a portrait of Septimius Severus, and the portrait of a young girl of Severan date. The abandonment phase (5th-7th century A.D.) was attested by an amphora burial (Samos cistern type).
    • Area II-III The excavation revealed evidence from several chronological horizons (from the archaic to the late antique periods), of which the stratigraphy of the early and mid Republican periods produced the most materials, documentation and data. A foundation that appeared to be oval, faced with red tufa chippings bonded with clay and an _emplecton_ of the same material can be attributed to the late 6th-early 5th century, although the interpretation is uncertain (cellar of an _oikos_, a structure buttressing the slope?). The wall was probably made with wattle and daub, as attested by the remains of baked clay mixed with carbonized wood found in the 4th century B.C. layers, when the structure seems to have been destroyed by fire and not reconstructed. Traces of burning appeared in the mid Republican stratigraphies, which showed a substantial rise in the floor levels in the _Curiae_ _veteres_ following a fire (traces of the Gallic sack of Rome in 390 B.C.?). The reconfiguration of the slope was carried out by positioning dumps of soil containing abundant pottery, buttressed by low walls made of reused, small blocks of capellaccio stone and chippings of red tufa. The finds showed that this intervention had at least three phases, dating to between the 4th-early 3rd centuries B.C. Also present in the dumped material were elements from the terracotta facing of one or more buildings that may be suggested related to the _curiae_ in the archaic and early Republican phase (imbrices and ridge tiles, tegulae, and painted facing plaques, antefixes) and furnishings from the sanctuary ( _arule_, _pithoi_, _louteria_ ), in some cases ritually buried ( _piacola_ ). Drains made of capellaccio stone or tiles were the only 4th century B.C. structures found, which remained in use until the Caesarian and/or Neronian period. At this time a large north-south drain in _opus latericius_, and a well (that could however be of Archaic date), were built in capellaccio slabs, then restored in _opus incertum_ at the beginning of the 1st century B.C., and abandoned in the Augustan period. Later interventions cut into this sector of the Palatine with all types of walls. However, on the analogy of what happened in the successive period, it seems possible to confirm that, between the 4th and mid 1st centuries B.C., the western part of the sanctuary (which falls in Area II) appeared as a large open space, behind the _naos_ situated to the east, at the foot of the hill (Area III). Area IV (so-called Baths of Elagabalus) The excavation of this area concluded in 2013. In 2014, a small intervention was undertaken in the building with a courtyard of Severan date, perhaps a 6th century A.D. foundation (see 2013 report), which reused extraordinary white marble sculpture fragments as aggregate in the concrete. The portrait of Septimius Severus and a young girl of late-Severan date had already been found. In 2014, more statue fragments were recovered: four other members of the Imperial Severan and late-Severan families (only one may possibly be a mid 3rd century A.D. emperor), a double herm and a three-headed herm probably of Hadrianic date, a headless statue of Hermes, seven busts and a fragment from large high-relief with a loricate figure.
    • The excavation of Area I was completed in 2007 and Area IV in 32013/14. This season, excavations took place in Areas II and III, situated between the present via Sacra and the Piazza del Colosseo, which from the “Romulean” period have been the site of the _Curiae_ _veteres_. The excavations uncovered evidence from various chronological horizons (from the archaic to late-Republican periods), and the late-archaic/proto-Republican stratigraphies were the richest in materials, documents, and information. In particular, the excavation revealed a system of substructures on the Palatine slopes, which from the mid 5th century B.C. saw the building of terraces supported by buttresses, in turn abutted by soil. These dumps of soil artificially raised the occupation levels. Hearths and pits bordered and covered by stones were present on the surfaces, together with the remains of food, and fragments of vessels relating to the ceremonies that took place in the sanctuary (_louteria_, dolia, jars, cups, and beakers). Also present were fragments from roofing elements (slabs, tiles, imbrices) and architectural decorations from one or more buildings under reconstruction or restoration (_oikoi_, banqueting halls), which already in the 6th- early 5th century B.C. were probably present here. The most spectacular discovery was the remains of a bovine sacrifice, to be associated with the construction in the mid 5th century B.C. of a terrace that involved the entire western slope of the Palatine explored thus far. Within the stratigraphies on the south side of the hill, close to the present Piazza del Colosseo, the formations of the paleo-Tiber were identified below the late-archaic cuts and dumps, adding to the geo-morphological knowledge of the hill. Lastly, the 2015 excavations clarified the function of a series of early Republican walls, which enclosed the slope, creating a series of boxes supporting the terraces and evening out the changes in height. However, a hypothesis had been put forward for the “oval” structure of room 4 that suggested it might be the wall of a room of this shape (for example the base of an oikos). This hypothesis cannot be completely rejected as the curved form of the wall is not very comprehensible, whereas the other substructures appear to be rectilinear and continued on the same alignment in subsequent phases, when further substantial rises in the floor levels of the _Curiae_ occurred. These two proposals are not contradictory, as the “oval” wall could preserve the line of a structure with a curved wall (ancient hut?).
    • In 2007 the excavation of Area I was completed, in 2013/14 that of Area IV, and in 2015 that of Area III. The 2016 campaign investigated Area II, where the _Curiae_ _veteres_ of the “Romulean” period was situated. The excavations uncovered evidence relating to situations and activities of different date (from the archaic to Augustan period), within which the late archaic and proto-Republican stratigraphies were the richest in materials, documents and information. The pre-anthropological horizon was reached in all three excavation areas (formation of the Fosso del Torrino, 430,000-400,000 B.C.), cut by interventions dating to the full historical period and/or thrown into the great dumps of soil used to periodically reconfigure the sanctuary’s spaces. The 4th and 5th century B.C. levels confirmed the logic that governed the development of settlement on the site, which consisted in creating _plateae_ supported by buttresses, abutted by great masses of soil and stones. As in 2014 and 2015, hearths and pits bordered and covered by stones, and sacrificial remains (predominantly bovine) were found on the surface of these dumps, which artificially raised the occupation surfaces. However, the most important discoveries uncovered this season were the elements relating to the roofs and architectural decoration of one or more buildings, which between the late 6th and during the 5th century B.C. were being rebuilt or restored (slabs of the Veii-Rome-Velletri system and the Caprifico di Torrecchia system, painted tiles and imbrices). The discovery of the west enclosure wall, probably datable to the mid 6th century B.C. is of fundamental importance for the reconstruction of the sanctuary’s boundaries in the Regia period. The structure of cappellaccio blocks, similar in construction technique to the northern _temenos_ found in the excavation area of the _Meta_ _Sudans_ in the 1990s, formed the western part of the wall surrounding the _Curiae_ _veteres_. It remained in use until the mid/second half of the 5th century , when an intervention to raise the ground level in the area led to its demolition, and the rear wall of the complex was moved back towards the west. The fact that only a few traces of “constructions” were uncovered by the excavations suggests that the _Curiae_ _veteres_ was a large open space until the age of Caesar. It may have been fronted by a _naos_ (to which the architectural decoration found in secondary deposition in the 5th and 6th century B.C. dumps may belong), to be positioned – by analogy with what occurred in the subsequent period – on the eastern part of the hill (between Area III and the present Piazza del Colosseo). The sanctuary was only fully occupied by rooms and corridors in about the mid 1st century B.C., remaining largely unchanged, with the exception of the continuous rebuilding of the sewer system, until the fire of 64 A.D. These are proposals made _in_ _absentia_, which must take into account the destructive impact of the constructions of the imperial period, in particular those of the Neronian-Flavian era, which left deep and extensive marks on the site.
    • La campagna del 2017 ha interessato nell’Area II alcuni ambienti del complesso delle Curiae veteres nella sua fase di età neroniana, e nell’Area IV un vano dell’edificio a cortile di età severiana (“Terme di Elagabalo”). Lo scavo ha riportato in luce evidenze spettanti a situazioni e ad attività di diversa cronologia (dall’età protostorica all’età augustea). L’orizzonte geologico è stato raggiunto quasi ovunque (formazione del Fosso del Torrino,430.000-400.000 a.C.), tagliato da interventi di piena età storica e/o ributtato nei grandi riporti di terreno volti a riconfigurare periodicamente gli spazi del santuario e da età antichissima la pendice settentrionale della collina. Gli elementi di assoluta novità riguardano l’insediamento capannicolo già intercettato in precedenti campagne nei Vani 10 e 12 dell’edificio severiano, ma ora più ricco di documenti (buchi di palo, concotti, piccoli terrazzamenti, focolari), i quali consentono di risalire per l’occupazione di questo tratto del Palatino alla prima età del Ferro (fase Laziale IIA). Nell’area delle Curiae lo scavo ha confermato la logica che ha regolato a partire dalla prima metà del VI secolo a.C. gli interventi edilizi all’interno del santuario: un taglio sistematico nel “vergine” per consentire la messa in opera di strutture murarie in pietra. Ciò ha comportato l’eliminazione, almeno nei settori in cui siamo intervenuti, delle stratigrafie più antiche (di età protostorica ed orientalizzante). I muri in cappellaccio riportati in luce e i loro piani d’uso poggiano direttamente sul banco argillo-limoso del Paleotevere. Tre ritrovamenti vanno segnalati: un ceppo di olmo le cui radici penetrano nella stratificazione geologica: l’albero fa riferimento ad un _lucus_, quasi certamente abbattuto al momento della realizzazione del recinto occidentale del santuario (prima metà del VI a.C.); una cava di argilla, probabilmente utilizzata nella fase edilizia di età regia per gli elevati delle strutture; il riempimento di età augustea di un pozzo arcaico che ha restituito nei suoi 9 metri di profondità una quantità impressionante di oggetti, soprattutto brocche con iscrizioni dipinte sul collo riferibili a _gentes_ importanti della tarda repubblica, ma anche oggetti in osso, astragali, monete, pesi da telaio. Si tratta, come riscontrato in altri casi simili (i pozzi del Foro scavati da Giacomo Boni) di un rito di espiazione per la dismissione di un elemento fondamentale nella vita dell’area sacra. Nel 2017 è stata inoltre ampliata la ricerca in un nuovo settore presso la radice orientale della pendice NE del Palatino (Area V) che prosegue verso sud le precedenti aree II e III. Nel corso della prima campagna di indagine le operazioni hanno avuto come unico obiettivo quello di portare a termine tutte le lavorazioni necessarie all’allestimento dell’area di scavo per consentire l’inizio delle ricerche.

FOLD&R

    • Michele Asciutti. 2015. Restauro, riqualificazione e valorizzazione di aree di scavo archeologico: Valle del Colosseo/Palatino nord-orientale . FOLD&R Italy: 2.

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