Aquileia Roman baths: UNIUD to start a new excavation campaign
The second part of the archaeological excavation campaign under the leadership of Marina Rubinich, Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage of the University of Udine, started at the end of August at the site of Grandi Terme romane in Aquileia.
The campaign includes the first preservation and valorisation interventions and it will be carried out thanks to a concession granted by the Directorate-General of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism to the Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage of the University of Udine, in close collaboration with the local Superintendence and the manager in charge, Paola Ventura.
During this new intervention on the Great Baths of Constantine which, extending over 25,000 square meters are one of the largest public thermal areas in the Roman Northern Italy, an important restauration will be carried out – funded by Fondazione Aquileia and in agreement with the Superintendence for Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia – aimed at preservation and valorisation in order to restore the plan and arrangement of the Bath salons.
According to the Director of the excavation, this intervention will contribute to restore the shape of the trench where the separation wall ran between the frigidarium and calidarium salons, restoring the containment of mosaic floor stone and cotto tiles with geometric motif to avoid degradation.
The intervention area was also chosen on the basis of a greater visibility by the public that will not have access to the entire archaeological area where excavation work will continue.
The other area where the excavation campaign activities will be carried out this year is located within the Northern perimeter wall and is of exceptional scientific interest: despite the spoliation that occurred until the beginning of 1900, three overlapping phases have been identified. The most ancient area hosts a monumental fountain-nymph, with round and rectangular pools that are the remains of a canalization for water supply and disposal covering at least 180 square metres. The excavation will try and identify the boundaries of the fountain to understand if it dates back to the first bath construction phase or earlier.
The educational archaeological excavation, which will last 5 weeks overall and also include several interventions of restoration and area arrangement, will involve 25 trainees of the university course in Cultural Heritage of the University of Udine and 2 students of the Inter-University School of Specialization in Archaeological Heritage.
The President of Fondazione Aquileia, Antonio Zanardi Landi, and the Director, Cristiano Tiussi, in close cooperation with the University of Udine and Superintendence, are preparing a scientific project for the progressive promotion of the site which will be conducted while the essential excavation surveys, to give a magnificent and important building like Bath of Constantine finally back to the public.