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  • Sassogrosso
  • Vacone



    • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

      MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

      ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

      AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

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    Summary (English)

    • The site of the Roman villa at Vaccone (RI), known for the presence of two standing structures, was the object of rescue excavations in the 1980s by the Archaeological Superintendency of Lazio. In 2011, Rutgers University (NJ, U.S.A.) began preliminary investigations in the area between the two cryptoporticae (2011), followed by five excavation seasons between 2012 and 2017. The first campaign identified six rooms facing onto the portico that were built on top of the lower cryptoporticus, with well-preserved mosaic floors and painted wall plaster in the collapse and in situ.

      The second campaign, in 2013, continued the exploration of the rooms identified the previous year, investigated the so-called upper cryptoporticus that was revealed to be a cistern, and the area above the latter, where the Superintendency had identified a press and an opus spicatum channel. During this season, evidence emerged of an earlier occupation phase, datable to the late Republican period, and new elements came to light in the production area. The first part of a descending vaulted passageway linking the rooms on the terracing with the interior of the cryptoporticus was identified. Three adult male skeletons, at least two in secondary deposition, were found in the same room in which an infant’s skeleton was found last year.

      During the 2014 campaign, the excavation of several rooms facing onto the cryptoporticus and one abutting the cistern was completed. A north-south trench was opened, with the idea of linking the two groups of rooms. This led to the discovery of new rooms with mosaic floors. The excavation of the production area continued towards the east, confirming that the villa extended further in that direction. The relationship between the production area and the residential sector below it was investigated. New evidence for the villa’s late Republican phase and the large amount of terracotta/ceramic material that was recovered confirmed the latest date so far attested on the site to be the 2nd century A.D.

      The 2015 campaign furthered understanding of the villa’s plan, investigating the relationships between its various levels. The passageway leading from the residential level to the lower cryptoporticus was excavated, reaching floor level and identifying a small aperture that opened onto the room flanking it. A second entrance to the lower cryptoporticus was found at its western end. Excavation in the area in front of the entrance to the upper cryptoporticus identified at least three successive occupation phases. The excavation of the residential sector was completed, thus giving a better understanding of the villa’s plan.
      The excavation of the productive sector was extended thanks to the acquisition of more land by Vacone town council, and another wine press was found alongside those for oil.

      The 2016 campaign investigated the main terrace, the production quarter in the north-east sector of the villa and the lower cryptoporticus. Some of the rooms in the residential sector were freed of the collapse down to the floor levels constituted by mosaics with various types of decorative motif and which showed repairs made in antiquity. The excavation of the central part of the main terrace revealed a section of the stylobate of the central peristyle and of the surrounding portico. The north-eastern part of the villa presented a series of cement floors with a terracotta make-up, the earliest of which discovered to date was associated with a wine vat lined with waterproof mortar. The presence of a surface of bipedales to the east of the last room excavated showed that the edge of the settlement has yet to be reached on this side. The underground passage linking the main terrace with the underlying cryptoporticus was completely excavated and was seen to have been constructed in a phase post-dating the cryptoporticus. A lamp datable to the 5th/early 6th century A.D. in the abandonment layers of the sector adjacent to the upper cistern dates the abandonment of the villa to a period post-3rd century A.D.

      This season’s excavations were concentrated in four areas on the main terrace and in the lower cryptoporticus and not only exposed new sectors of the villa, but also led to the acquisition of important evidence regarding the post-Roman occupation of the site, which continued until the early medieval period.
      The surface excavations investigated a new part of the peristyle at the centre of the terrace, characterised by the presence of five columns on each side, made of local stone, and faced with stucco imitating marble.

      Excavation also continued in the rooms on the eastern and north-western edges of the same terrace in order to complete the villa’s plan and investigate the relationships between the various rooms. A new excavation area was opened up against the terrace wall of the production area, which provided new data regarding the spatial distribution of the rooms in this sector and important evidence about the phases of the villa’s reoccupation, attested by the presence of a kiln and burial of Lombard date. In the same area, the north-western perimeter of the portico’s east wing was uncovered. Paved in mosaic it formed an L-shape around the villa, including the south side.
      Work also continued in the lower cryptoporticus. The investigations were able to reconstruct its exact dimensions and acquired further data about the different construction phases, as well as about the post-Roman occupation phases. In fact, the abandonment layers contained a lamp dating to the 7th-8th century A.D. and a substantial accumulation of chippings from the working of Cottanello stone to be associated with the creation of new tesserae for the restoration of the damaged floors.

    • Dylan Bloy - University of Tennessee, U.S.A. 
    • Candace Rice - University of Alberta, Canada 
    • Gary D. Farney - Rutgers University, U.S.A. 



    • Tyler Franconi - University of Alberta, Canada
    • Federica Pollari, SISBA
    • Matthew Notarian, Hiram College - Ohio
    • Andrew McLean - University of Edinburgh, UK
    • James Page- University of Edinburgh

    Research Body

    • Rutgers University

    Funding Body

    • Rutgers University


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