Posted by: lukelavan | August 15, 2010

2010 Season Begins

Welcome to Late Antique Ostia 2010.

Over the next six weeks I will be blogging about the Kent-Berlin Late Antique Ostia Project, bringing you news of our efforts to uncover the fragmentary late antique phases of the ancient port town of Rome. We will be attemtping to re-study the hurried excavations of Mussolini, by cleaning and drawing monuments in the city centre. We are lucky to have the support of John Beale of Museum Selection, along with grants from the University of Kent, and other generous private donations, which help keep us afloat.

This year we will initally focus on the Western entrances of a 4th c. market building and the palaestra of the forum baths and attempt to tease out some details on the early medieval occupation of both squares. Later in the campaign we hope to focus more on the later development of the streets of the city in late antiquity: can we detect decline or rather change? We will also investigate some monumental water features and try to reconstruct the late antique decoration of the main street of the city.

Right now I have an empty suitcase in front of me, as I prepare to leave. Meanwhile, Helen Harrington and Bill Laing have survived a freak weather event driving our bus over the Alps, and are now holed up in a hotel in northern Italy recovering. They have had the dubious pleasure of driving this year’s kit across Europe to arrive in Rome early Tuesday. We will then set up camp and greet new arrivals, with the first day of digging on Wednesday.

Here in Canterbury it is 16 degrees whilst in Rome it is 30. Each city is about ten degrees cooler than it should be – I wonder if the autumnal storms will come early? Hopefully we will be better prepared to deal with flooding this year.

Keep yourself updated on our progess over the next six weeks, as we survey, devegetate, excavate and record the urban life of the 4th to 7th c, AD in one of the best-preserved and most-extensively excavated ancient cities in the Mediterranean.

Luke Lavan 15/08/2010

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