Rome Transformed is an ERC advanced grant achieved by prof. Ian Haynes and provides the first comprehensive study of the eastern Caelian, a vitally important quarter of Rome from the 1st to the 8th centuries. It does this by introducing a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates periods and specialisations normally examined in isolation. Three fundamental claims lie at the heart of the project’s approach:
The first is our view that, as cities and their suburbs are themselves 4D entities (the fourth dimension understood here as time), methods must be employed that allow the visualisation and interrogation of four-dimensional data. Traditional approaches, which tend to approach and present these spaces through two-dimensional plans risk obscuring vital aspects of their story.
The second is the belief that our research should have a long-term legacy not only for students of Rome, but also for city planning and heritage protection in the city. One of the important advantages of applying our methodology to Rome, including incorporating isolated elements of structural archaeology into the wider context of the city’s topography, is that it will become easier to predict and detect unexplored deposits, making city planning and future research easier. Rome Transformed is exploiting the possibilities offered by this new methodology to develop an innovative collaboration with Rome’s archaeology management system ArchaeoSITAR.
Our third claim is that attempts to advance key themes and debates in the development of the Rome and her suburbs must be grounded in a mastery of archaeological, architectural, historical and topographic detail. Not only does this require the comprehensive reappraisal of excavated sites, and a consistent pattern of documentation and analysis, it also demands extensive geophysical and bore hole survey of unexcavated areas of the search area. Only then, we believe, will it be possible to attempt the major new analysis of transformation we seek to deliver.
Fig.1 – Drone survey of the first-century imperial Roman aqueduct at Villa Wolkonsky.