Artena is a small hilltown located approximately 40 miles southeast of Rome.
The Excavation Site
In this course, you will participate at the excavation of a Roman villa and its surroundings in Artena, a picturesque hill town approximately 40 miles south-east of Rome, under the direction of Temple University Rome faculty member and archaeologist Jan Gadeyne and his colleague Cécile Brouillard, who works for the French Institute for Preventive Archaeology (INRAP). The site, a large artificial terrace that was part of an early Republican settlement, has revealed the remains of a Roman villa and other buildings that were in use from the 4th century BC until at least the 7th century AD. About 13,000 sq. ft. of the villa that started out as a small farmhouse to become a more sophisticated residence, have thus far been excavated.
The complex comprises an atrium, a peristyle with several rooms around it and a small private bath complex. Parts of it were decorated with wall paintings and mosaic floors. An aqueduct and large cisterns supplied the villa with water. Underneath and next to the villa important remains of pre-existing buildings of the Republican age, including another aqueduct, have been discovered. After the villa was abandoned, new structures were built that partially reused the villa and its material from the 4th to the 7th century AD. A small treasure with four gold Byzantine coins ends for the moment the occupation of the terrace. The history of the artificial platform illustrates in an impressive way the transformation of a site near Rome from a Republican town to an Imperial age villa to a late antique and early medieval settlement covering an arc of time of more than a thousand years.