The 2017 season focused on three excavation areas: i) a large, contiguous section in the “Agricultural Zone” of the villa; ii) a colonnaded area located adjacent to and immediately outside of the bath complex of the villa’s “Residential Zone;” iii) the area of the bath’s praefurnium inside the “Residential Zone” of the villa. Two ongoing projects continued: mapping the site via Geographic Information Systems and the PyArchInIt application; and preparing a catalog of artifacts from the most recent field seasons (2013 – 2017) and the artifacts from initial excavations 1989 – 1994. This season, a microseismic and geoelectric survey was conducted to investigate a circular structure of travertine blocks inside the bath complex that likely pre-dates early-Imperial modifications of the site. This structure is interpreted either as a large basin, a well / cistern, or the foundations of an industrial structure. The data from this survey are still being processed.
In the “Agricultural Zone” excavations continued investigating the connecting walls of a late-antique structure (Structure B) built on the edge of a huge depression that measures approximately 20 m in diameter. This building itself is rectangular (ca. 10.5 × 5 m) and constructed of reused, medium-sized stones, without mortar, only a few courses in height, and without foundation trenches. The construction of Structure B is hypothesized as ongoing and multi-phase, with activity and the building’s form regularly modified. Activity inside Structure B itself dates to the Late-Antique period, during which time a dismantling of the “Residential Zone” occurred. The depression adjacent to Structure B contains a large amount of carbon, domestic waste (ceramics, animal bones, glass, glass scoria, and fragments of iron, lead, and bronze), and discarded building material from the “Residential Zone” (fragments of brick, limestone, and travertine). The oldest layers within the depression date to the 2nd C CE.
Excavations in the villa’s “Residential Zone” investigated the first phases of habitation at the site datable to the 1st C BCE. A foundation trench of the villa’s perimeter wall was identified, and adjacent to this wall is a squared masonry structure, currently interpreted as a base for the wall. In the same location there is a 1st C BCE portico with columns of stone and brick and an “L”-shaped feature, likely a water duct of the bath complex. At a later phase, the area was modified to add a door opening from the bath complex onto the porch. In the praefurnium area of the bath, surface layers show episodes of periodic leveling of residue from firing and cleaning. The soil contains charcoal and ash with alternating red layers of concotto. Slightly later in date is also a squared ditch framed by two wooden beams in the opening of the hypocaust. These beams created a contained area for the furnace’s residue. Here, there is also a masonry floor used as a storage space for equipment and fuel, and a circular pit formed by an amphora base used to hold water.
The results of the 2017 season support the following hypotheses: a) the construction of the villa, in its monumental form observable today, occurred in the early 1st century BCE and was completed by the 1st century CE; b) the site was abandoned during the 4th and 5th centuries CE; c) the area to the east of the villa was organized for agricultural and craft production prior to the abandonment of the villa’s Residential Zone; d) the Agricultural Zone was in full swing during the late 4th and 5th centuries CE, first with active agricultural production and, later, with spoliation of the villa and recycling its architectural materials.
- C. McKenzie Lewis – Concordia College
- Fausto Berti - Museo Archeologico e della Ceramica di Montelupo Fiorentino
- Francesco Cini – Cooperativa Ichnos
- William Ramundt – University of Iowa (Iowa City, USA)
- Andrea Violetti - Cooperativa Ichnos
- Anna Mastrofrancesco – Cooperativa Ichnos
- Cassidy Phelps – State University of New York at Buffalo
- Giulia Gallerini – Cooperativa Ichnos
- Kurtis Butler – University of Wyoming (Laramie, USA)
- Lorenzo Cecchini – Cooperativa Ichnos
- Rachel Olson – Concordia College
- Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota (USA)
- Cooperativa Ichnos, Montelupo Fiorentino, Toscana
- Sistema Museali di Montelupo Fiorentino, Toscana
- University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming (USA)
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