Alba Fucens, Abruzzo

Ground-penetrating radar survey underway at Alba Fucens


There is continued evidence for the occupation of the site at Alba Fucens from its foundation in 303 BC to its abandonment due to an earthquake in the 4th Century AD (Potter, 1987: 69; Galadini and Galli, 2004: 893). Alba is a carefully planned frontier town that is located on top of a hill top in the Abruzzo (Potter, 1987: 69). Excavations at Alba first began 1949 (Potter, 1987: 10) and have been successful in identify significant structures and the layout of the town. Between the 1st Century BC and the 1st Century AD several of the important public structures were erected including the forum and amphitheater (Patterson, 2006: 13; Mierse 1999: 98).


The survey at Alba Fucens was carried out on the request of Dott.ssa Maria Josè Strazzulla (University of Foggia) in May 2012. Both gradiometer and GPR survey techniques were used and results were successful in identifying structural remains to the north-west of the Roman town of Alba Fucens.


Geophysical results display the continuation of the Roman road which can be observed in the excavation directly to the southeast of the area targeted for geophysical survey. There appears to be structures both the north-east and the south-west of this road.  Modern activity appears to have disturbed the archaeology to the southwest of the road, making the interpretation of the structural remains problematic. Whereas, walls to the northeast of the Roman road have a greater definition, which suggests they are better preserved. However, the relationship between different walls to the north-east of the Roman road is complex and difficulty lies in determining if there are several separate structures or one structure within several internal rooms.


A time-slice from the GPR results showing some of the structures adjacent to the Forum


To the north of the survey area there are a series of regular parallel walls. These walls are likely to represent a series of arcades, potentially used as the foundations for a podium. The top of the podium is not evident in the geophysical survey results, but directly north of these walls a large rectilinear feature is present in the gradiometer results, signifying the remains of a more substantial structural.


Bibliografia / Bibliography

Galadini, F and Galli, P. (2004) The 346 AD earthquake (Central-Southern Italy): an archaeoseismological approach. In Annals of Geophysics. 47. 2/3. 885- 905.


Mierse, W. E. (1999). Temples and Towns in Roman Iberia: The Social and Architectural Dynamics of the Sanctuary Designs, from the Third Century B.C. to the Third Century A.D. London. University of California Press.


Patterson, J. R. (2006). Landscapes and cities: Rural Settlement and Civic Transformation in Early Imperial Italy. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Potter, T.W. (1987). Roman Italy. London. British Museum Press.