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The Roman Nymphaeum of Q. Mutius

Brief History

Since its discovery and publication in 1995, the nymphaeum of Q. Mutius has been known as one of the most important testimonies of Roman architecture of the late Hellenistic period. The monumental fountain is nearly perfectly preserved: it is composed of a small room, open towards the valley, with a series of niches on the lateral walls. Also extremely well preserved is the wall decoration: the niches are transformed into wild natural caves by a thick plaster, enriched with pumice stones, as well as sea shells and blue Egyptian glass.

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The importance of the monument, dated to between the late 2nd and early 1st century BC, is due to the presence in the very centre of the name of the architect responsible for the project: Q.Mutius.

Q.Mutius was one of the most important architects of the era who was probably born in Greece, and was one of a generation of artists who went to Rome and contributed to a new language of art and architecture in late Hellenistic period.

The Restoration Project

As part of the Segni Project, the Museo Archeologico Comune di Segni and the British School at Rome have begun a restoration project of the monument, which has recently been acquired by the Comune di Segni.

Phase 1: The laser scanning

In late June 2013 the first phase of work took place which involved a detailed laser scanning of the monument, to record its state of preservation and provide a precise plan of the nymphaeum. The work, undertaken by James Miles of the Archaeological Computing Research Group of the University of Southampton used a Faro Focus 3D laser scanner. An animation of the scanning can be seen below.

Laser scan animation of the nymphaeum at Segni, Italy from James Miles on Vimeo.

 

Phase 2: The excavation

The excavation of the monument, which is buried in the hillside up to a depth of 3 metres, is due to commence later this year. The excavation aims to free the monument of the modern structure which has been built on top and reveal the area in front of the nymphaeum.

Phase 3: The restoration

In parallel with the excavation, and following on after its conclusion, the monument will be consolidated and preserved in order to open the nymphaeum to the public.

Phase 4: Presentation to the public

The monument will be preserved for future generations by a light modern structure, and served by a small visitor centre and picnic area. Visitors to Segni will be able to enjoy guided tours of the museum and nymphaeum, as well as the other remarkable monuments at Segni, the Porta Saracena, the Temple complex of Juno Moneta and the monumental polygonal walls.

Phase 5: Future research

Alongside the excavation and preservation work, a series of geophysical surveys will be undertaken around the monument, in order to better place it within the topography of the ancient town.