2016 “Villa of the Antonines” in Genzano di Roma Excavation and Field School

Location: Genzano di Roma , Roma, Italy

July 3, 2016 to July 30, 2016

Application Deadline: 
Monday, February 1, 2016
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Deadline Type: 

Flyer: PDF icon gnzvafinalbrochure2016.pdf

Program Type

Field school



Montclair State University

Project Director:

Dr. Deborah Chatr Aryamontri and Dr. Timothy Renner, Center for Heritage and Archaeological Studies, Montclair State University

Project Description

This field work project at the “Villa of the Antonines” will explore the remains of a Roman imperial villa located along the route of the ancient Via Appia, adjacent to the modern town of Genzano, in the Alban Hills region only 18 miles from Rome. The villa is believed to have been property of the 2nd century CE imperial family of the Antonines, on the basis of literary references and the discovery of several busts of emperors that today are on display in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. In spite of its importance, this villa has been only partly explored by archaeologists. In 2010 we started anew investigations of the villa, focusing on a curvilinear structure next to the bath complex. In 2012 we established that this is an amphitheater, perhaps that of Commodus, never previously located, which is mentioned by the Historia Augusta. The finds, which include numerous pieces of costly decorative marble, mosaic colored glass tesserae, and brick stamps dated to the Antonine period, are indicative of elite wealth and taste in the owners and contribute to validating its identification with the imperial residence of this dynasty at Lanuvium.  In 2014, in another zone at a little distance above the amphitheater, we excavated portions of walls, including a black-and-white mosaic with a close design parallel at Villa Adriana, which may be from one part of the villa's residential quarters.  In 2016 we will continue to better define the floor plan of the amphitheater, to clarify its topographical relationship with the nearby baths, and to explore some of its deeply buried architectonic and infrastructure features such as a spiral stairway. Furthermore, we will conduct geophysical survey in areas adjacent to the excavation with a view to locating possible remains of additional portions of the villa complex.

During the four week program each student will be introduced to all aspects of field archaeology and will receive hands on experience in on-site recordkeeping, documentation, and laboratory practice, including data management and the interpretation of archaeological evidence, especially ceramics. The field school will include also lectures by invited guests as well as workshops on geophysics applied to archaeology and on archaeological drawing Students will also be exposed to the rich ancient and contemporary ways of life of Italy through cultural activities and at least one weekend excursion to historical and archaeological sites.

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman Imperial

Roman Imperial villa excavation; architectural remains; geophysical survey; Harris matrix; topography; archaeological drafting; geoarchaeology; restoration and conservation principles.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No prerequisites or prior field experience are required, although participants who have had coursework in archaeology or Classics will be preferred. 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 four-star hotel overlooking a crater lake near the excavation site. Each room accommodates from 2 to 4 people and has a private bathroom, free wi-fi, a TV, a telephone, and a hairdryer. Laundromat facilities are available nearby (laundry service is not offered by the hotel). The program cost covers all meals five days per week. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken at the hotel restaurant, while lunch will be eaten at the excavation site.  On Saturday and Sunday breakfast will be provided.

Cost includes shuttling to and from site, tools/supplies at site and lab, guest lecturers, workshops on geophysics applied to archaeology and on archaeological drawing, at least one field trip

approximately $4,900

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Montclair State University
Number of credits offered 6
Included in the program cost for undergraduate students and volunteers; graduate students should consult the co-directors for details. Scholarships available.


Contact Information
Timothy Renner
1 Normal Ave.
New Jersey
Recommended Bibliography: 

L. Attenni and B. Premutico, 2001. “La villa degli Antonini,” in V. Melaranci, Genzano di Roma: la città, i monumenti, Genzano di Roma: 242-247

P. Baldassarri, 2008. “Ville imperiali e arredi scultorei: i ritratti dalla villa degli Antonini nell’Ager Lanuvinus,”  in M. Valenti (a cura di), Residenze imperiali nel Lazio. Atti della giornata di Studio (Monteporzio Catone, 3 aprile 2004) (Tuscolana – Quaderni del Museo di Monte Porzio Catone,2), Frascati: 101-116

N. Cassieri and G. Ghini, 1990. “La cosiddetta villa degli Antonini al XVIII miglio della via Appia,” Quaderni del Centro di studio per l'archeologia etrusco-italica 18: 168-178

D. Chatr Aryamontri, T. Renner,  “Villa degli Antonini” (“Villa of the Antonines”) in  FastionLine [seasonal summaries 2010-2014]

D. Chatr Aryamontri and T. Renner, 2014. “La villa degli Antonini nel sublanuvium ,” in Sulle tracce di Caligola. Storie di grandi recuperi della Guardia di Finanza (Roma,complesso del Vittoriano, 5 maggio-5 giugno 2014), Roma: 93-98

M. Lilli, 2001. Avanzi di edifici antichi negli appunti di R. Lanciani, Roma : 39-42

G. Pope, D. Chatr Aryamontri, L. Wu and T. Renner, 2014. “Deterioration of stone and mineral materials from the Roman Imperial Villa of the Antonines at ancient Lanuvium,” in Proceedings of the XII International Association of Engineering Geology and Environment (IAEG) Conference (Cham, Switzerland 2014): 495-501