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Location: Genzano di Roma , RM, IT
Season: July 2, 2023 to July 29, 2023
Application Deadline: April 15, 2023
Deadline Type: Rolling
Center for Heritage and Archaeological Studies (CHAS) and Department of Classics & Humanities, Montclair State University
Dr. Deborah Chatr Aryamontri and Dr. Timothy Renner
In summer 2023 the Villa of the Antonines Project will continue its multi-year project of exploring and documenting the remains of a second century CE Roman imperial villa in Genzano di Roma, between the Via Appia and Lanuvio in the Alban Hills region, 18 miles from the center of Rome. On the basis of ancient literary references and the 18th century discovery of several fine marble busts of emperors–now on display in the Capitoline Museums in Rome—we identify the site with the important residential property of the Antonine dynasty that is said by the Historia Augusta to have been located in the vicinity of ancient Lanuvium. This identification is strengthened by the 18th century find of a water-pipe probably bearing the name of Faustina the Younger.
In earlier seasons we partially excavated a small amphitheater provided with a system of passageways and rooms beneath the arena which make it stand out from most smaller structures of this type. Adjacent to a substantial bath complex, it is perhaps identical with the amphitheater “at Lanuvium” utilized by Commodus for beast-killing exploits, as asserted in the Historia Augusta. In another sector of the site, we continue to devote attention to a series of rooms, floored with black-and-white mosaics with geometrical, vegetal, and myth-inspired designs, that we characterize as a reception and possibly a residential quarter. Although much of the site has been heavily damaged by agricultural operations and by modern development, making it a special challenge to study, the numerous fragments of marble opus sectile and frescoes (a selection of the latter recently restored under a grant from the Delmas Foundation) give a vivid indication of the level of luxury that was present here in the Antonine age. Interestingly, there is also evidence that the site played a role in military operations during World War II when Allied forces invaded Italy.
During the four-week program participants, while working onsite or at the museum, receive hands-on experience in all components of archaeological practice under the close, experienced supervision of the co-directors and several Italian professionals, each of them specialized in a specific aspect of archaeological practice and cultural heritage management. These include not only methods and requirements of systematic field investigation, such as excavation techniques, archaeological drafting and photorectification, photographic and airborne documentation with drones, field survey, and mapping, but also laboratory activities. The students, who also work together with the restorer, assist in cataloguing and studying the artifacts (such as marbles, glass, and mosaic tiles) from the site, learning about preliminary cleaning and cataloguing, graphic and photographic documentation, digital data processing and rendering, and analysis of artifacts. Additionally, participants get exposed to conservation and cultural management practices. At the same time, participants will be exposed to the rich ancient history of Italy through excursions to historical and archaeological sites in the region. Included is also a visit to the Museo delle Navi Romane, 2 km distant, which houses artifacts pertaining to the famous but now-destroyed ships of Caligula that once floated on the Lago di Nemi. In their free time, students are encouraged to explore the contemporary life of Italy, especially the friendly town of Genzano di Roma (population 24,000), where numerous eateries are available, or by going to Rome, readily reachable by public transportation.
Period(s) of Occupation: Roman Imperial
Roman Imperial villa excavation; architectural remains; amphitheater; black-and-white mosaics; decorative marbles; Harris matrix; landscape archaeology; archaeological drafting; restoration and conservation principles.
Project Size: 1-24 participants
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks
Minimum Age: 18
Experience Required: No prerequisites or prior field experience are required, although participants who have had coursework in archaeology or Classics are especially welcome. Participants must also be aware that this program will require long hours of work in hot weather conditions that can be physically demanding and mentally challenging.
Room and Board Arrangements:
Participants will be housed at a hotel. Each room accommodates from 2 to 4 people and has a private bathroom, free wi-fi, and a TV. Laundromat facilities are available nearby. The program cost of $3,800 covers hotel rooms, breakfast and lunch five days per week, excursions, group dinners at beginning and end of program, a one-day weekend field trip, pick-up and drop-off at Fiumicino Airport or in Rome, and all necessary equipment. Breakfasts will be taken at the hotel, while lunch will be eaten at the excavation site. On Saturday and Sunday breakfast will be provided at the hotel. Not included in cost: tuition fee, airfare, dinners, lunch on weekends.
6 credits offered by Montclair State University for undergraduate students; graduate students and returning students should consult the co-directors for details. Modest scholarship funds may be available.
Deborah Chatr Aryamontri, Department of Classics
1 Normal Ave.
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