ROME – A stretch of the ancient Via Latina has come back to light in the southernmost sector of the Villa di Sette Bassi in Old Rome, the extensive archaeological area between the Via Tuscolana, the Parco degli Acquedotti and the Lucrezia Romana district. This was announced by the Sapienza University of Rome, specifying that the discovery took place last week as part of the research conducted for some time on a building nucleus in clear separation from the most monumental sector of the remains, located in the southern area of the archaeological area .
The traditional name of this building, known as Dépendance, explain the archaeologists, was presumably influenced by the proximity to the Via Latina and the consequent interpretation as the first entrance to the Villa; the most recent studies indicate in these ancient structures a thermal building dating back to the 2nd century AD, early reused for the preparation of an early Christian place of worship.
The passage of the road at this point had long been hypothesized on the basis of the outcropping sections respectively in the park of the Aqueducts and in the area of the workshop depot of the Metro A of Osteria del Curato. However, the distance between these evidences, greater than 1.5 km, had not, up to now, allowed us to reconstruct with certainty the course of the road and the possible conditioning exerted on its development by the extreme proximity of the remains pertaining to the Villa.
The excavation activities, promoted and directed by the Appia Antica Archaeological Park with the coordination of the Responsible Officials, were based on the research in progress on the structures of the Dependance coordinated by Carla Maria Amici (professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Salento ) and by Alessandra Ten (professor of the Department of Ancient Sciences of Sapienza University of Rome), in agreement with the Appia Antica Archaeological Park, and made use of the collaboration of the Engineering Department of the University of Roma Tre which, under the scientific coordination of Andrea Benedetto, it made available the scientific skills and the most advanced technologies aimed at detecting possible buried evidence. The survey with the georadars limited the areas subject to surveys, where the archaeological pre-existences were then brought to light.
The discovery is important, Benedict emphasizes, “because in addition to providing a significant contribution to the understanding of the structure of the ancient road network and aspects related to the daily life of Roman society, it also provides solutions for many civil engineering applications when interference occurs between archaeological values and new infrastructures “.
The road, traced to a depth of about 50 cm, as foreseen by the surveys, was perfectly consistent with the straight path previously only hypothesized. In the portion brought to light the roadway is approximately 3.80 m wide; the paving is upset but well defined along the edges. Precisely these results, explains Alessandra Ten in turn, “direct the research perspectives of the universities involved and the Appia Antica Archaeological Park to probe the intersection point between the road and the branch of the private aqueduct of the Villa which, coming from south, he had to cross the Via to reach the cistern located near its eastern nucleus “, so as to increase the level of knowledge relating to the ancient route, plan its conservation and enhancement. The intervention on the Via Latina, concludes the director of the Appia Archaeological Park Simone Quilici, “initiates the rediscovery of the Sette Bassi villa through a series of projects that will be carried out in the coming months for the conservation of the heritage, the improvement of accessibility and the use and redevelopment and refurbishment of buildings “. Not only that: “The expansion of knowledge will also allow, after years of closure, to return to citizenship an extraordinary asset for all and a strong identity for the local community”.
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