This field-school project has been excavating the site of a Roman town along the Via Flaminia in Umbria over the past six years. The Vicus Martis Tudertium completely disappeared by the medieval period, but several inscriptions, a medieval church, and some ancient itineraries pointed the way to its location.
This season we are planning to finish excavation of a large, 25m long apsidal building on the site. (See the main photo for what we uncovered in 2012.) Apses were put only a few types of buildings, and we hope to discover which kind we have here. Some signs point to a late-antique church, which would be the earliest evidence of organized Christian worship in this part of Italy. Others suggest a bath complex or public building in the basilica style.
To add to the excitement, this apsidal structure was built right on top of an earlier building of similar size, but lacking an apse. Other buildings already partially explored have not been well preserved, so we are hoping that the apsidal building sealed that earlier building better than the others.
Our more tantalizing finds from earlier seasons include numerous fragmentary remains of wealthy buildings, including marble architectural pieces, painted wall plaster, and mosaic tesserae. A few fragments of architectural terracottas also point to a richly decorated building, which may be this large apsidal one...or the one beneath it!
Since the project is run as a field school, we have a new team of students that join the core group of American and Italian scholars every year. A special visitors program has brought adult "post-students" to the site for periods ranging from one to three weeks. These visitors have been a great addition to the team, providing students with life experiences beyond their own. For their part it has been an excellent way to experience ancient and modern Italy, and to have a good base for travel in what the Italians like to call the "Green Heart of Italy"!
Given the amount of work to be done this year, we are looking for support to enable us to have a larger staff and student crew that can fully excavate the area around the apsidal building. In previous seasons we have been limited to excavating a few smaller areas at a time. We have great support from the local community too, but that is limited to the logistical parts of the project. A "dig angel" could give us the capability of making a large contribution to the understanding of the evolution of small communities along the Flaminian Way, as well as - potentially! - the spread of Christianity in this area that was to become the home of a medieval Christian revival. (Assisi is 35 minutes north by car.)
Please have a look at our publications in the bibliography, browse over to our website, or contact the director for more information.
The earliest finds to date are from the late Roman Republican period in the second century BC. Most of the finds come from the early empire, from the late first century BC to the third century AD. The end of the site as a habitation area seems to have come near the end of the 3rd c. AD, but it continued to be used for burials, it seems, until the fifth century. Part of the goal of this coming season is to clarify this chronology.Duration of project: