Bolsena, Lazio

Between the 17th and 18th January 2007 a geophysical survey was carried out in Bolsena, Viterbo, Lazio. Bolsena is a medieval town situated approximately 100 km due North of Rome on the north east shore of the Lago di Bolsena, an extinct volcanic crater. The surrounding landscape is rich in archaeological heritage with significant occupation evidence from the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Etruscan periods. Notably Bolsena is located only 500 metres to the north of the important Roman town of Volsinii Novi, founded 265BC, and the modern settlement has reused significant quantities of the ancient town in is construction.

The magnetometry survey was conducted on behalf of the Studio Cempella at the request of the Soprintendenza di Etruria Meridionale. The survey was carried out to determine the potential for archaeological remains on a small site due for development in the modern town about 200 metres from the lake shore.

However the one hectare area surveyed presented a series of problems for clearly identifying archaeological features: the space was limited by highly magnetic structures and surface material, which also created high readings, making more ephemeral features difficult to identify. The results obtained did not produce any clear archaeological features, although some fragmentary responses which may represent elements of ancient structures were identified. Geological factors may have also added to the ephemeral nature of the archaeology; erosion and deposition may have meant that any archaeological features present were obscured by topsoil that lay deeper than the machines were able to penetrate.


W. Harris, 1965, The Via Cassia and the Via Traiana Nova between Bolsena and Chiusi, in Papers of the British School at Rome XXXIII: 113-133.
P. Tamburini (ed.), 1998, Un Museo e il Suo Territorio Vol. I. Dalle origini al periodo etrusco, Bolsena.
A. Timperi, I. Berlingò, 1994, Bolsena e il Suo Lago, Roma.