Research-2014

Forum Cassii, Lazio

The magnetometer survey results from Forum Cassii shown in relation to the location of earlier finds.

Forum Cassii lies on the ancient Via Cassia, approximately 60km northwest of Rome, on the lower western slope of the volcanic crater known as Monti Cimini. Geophysical survey was conducted here in 2003, funded by the AHRB as part of the Roman Towns in the Middle and Lower Tiber Valley Project. The survey was undertaken by The British School at Rome.

The aim of the survey was to contribute to an understanding of the topography of this important Roman and early Medieval pilgrim site which is known from the Tabula Peutingeriana, the Antonine Itinerary and the Ravenna Cosmography, but has never been systematically explored by archaeologists.

The survey at Forum Cassii confirmed that the settlement activity here was both small and dispersed in character. Work in the northern part of the site, previously identified by scholars as the main focus of the settlement, was disappointing as it failed to locate any further structures. However the absence of major buildings and a complete lack of surface finds suggests that the site was not a large settlement centre. The survey results in the southern area revealed a major terrace and the line of the Via Cassia, together with a possible amphitheatre and series of funerary monuments running alongside the road. An enclosure near the church of Santa Maria di Forcassi could perhaps also provide evidence for activity in the early medieval period when Forum Cassii acquired a significant ecclesiastical focus.

Bibliography

Johnson, P. Keay, S. Millett, M. 2004. Lesser Urban Sites in the Tiber Valley. Papers from the British School at Rome. Vol. LXXII. Oxford. pp.79-85