Posted by: lukelavan | September 6, 2008

04 Sept 2008 – Devegetating the Plaza: Instant Discoveries and an Environmental Protest

Welcome to the foro della statua eroica after two days of work !

Work on the plaza has continued to advance. We have devegetated around one third of the square, revealing a range of features just below the surface. The foundation (stylobate) of the Late Roman west colonnade has become visible along the full length of the forum, and numerous phases of paving have appeared.


preserved paving slabs revealed by cleaning
Kent student Bonnie Knapp gets stuck in

Bonnie Knapp gets stuck in


Some of the paving was regular, and of a homogenous stone type. Other areas were paved with re-used material, including blocks of architectural ornament cut down to fit.

re-used paving slabs

re-used paving slabs

There were also inscribed blocks, one bearing a large letter ‘A‘, from an enormous monumental inscription, all incorporated into the plaza paving during late antiquity. It has also been possible to trace a series of Roman numerals scratched into the paving, which probably represent mason’s marks: cut in order to prove how much paving a given builder had laid in a day.

monumental inscription reused as paving

monumental inscription reused as paving

Our enthusiastic devegetation of the plaza is not without its critics. Quyen Lavan, the wife of Dr Luke Lavan, visited the forum this afternoon, and was enchanted by the cypress trees along the road and the great noble Roman pine, that so generously covers the diggers with its shade for part of the day. She was also taken by the delicate grass buds which we are steadily removing – and even made a bouquet from a clump about to be sacrificed. What rotters we are, she noted. However, even we have an environmental strategy. The trees we are leaving untouched, surrounding them with a safe perimeter of yellow string. Hopefully, even the grass buds will have no difficulty re-seeding the plaza in our absence over the winter.

Quyen's bouquet

blog by Luke Lavan 05/09/2008


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