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The Great Baths of Constantine in Aquileia: Excavation, Reconstruction, Preservation and Valorisation


ARCHAEOLOGY

The Great Baths of Constantine in Aquileia: Excavation, Reconstruction, Preservation and Valorisation

Coordinator: Dr. Marina Rubinich
Members: Prof. Matteo Cadario, Dr. Stefano Magnani, Prof. Simonetta Minguzzi, Prof. Ludovico Rebaudo, Prof. Andrea Saccocci, Prof. Patrizia Verduchi

The group supports a bigger "container project" aiming at improving the knowledge of one of the greatest public thermal baths in Northern Italy (4th–5th century AD) through stratigraphic excavations, the analysis of the findings, assessments and documentation of structures and floors unearthed both during the recent activities of the University of Udine and during the missions carried out by the local Superintendence during the 1900s.

The stratigraphic excavation and the analysis of the findings also allow to reconstruct the significant interventions that the building underwent after its disuse (modifications for habitation purposes during the Early Middle Ages, collapse and reduction to source of inert materials, eventual plundering from the 13th–14th century) until the change of use of the site, which is today an agricultural landscape of great historical interest. At the same time, the knowledge and documentation – through traditional methods and new technologies – are the basis for a rigorous virtual reconstruction of the roman bath complex and for its valorisation, which could coincide with the possibility to gradually open the archaeological site to the public, and to provide it with next-generation educational material. Of course the valorisation implies also important restoration works, as well as consolidation and securing measures. This challenge may, however, allow the application of innovative and exemplaries solutions to the problems.

The project is progressing through gradual stages, based on the concession for the excavations from the General Direction ABAP of Mibact and on scientific agreements with Fondazione Aquileia (which manages the area) and the local Superintendance. The coordinator, Dr. Rubinich, who is also the Director of the excavation (for the research, reconstruction, planning and logistic part, as well as for the educational one) is supported by a large research group for the study of the numerous and diverse classes of materials, which require speficic scientific expertise. Other departments of the University of Udine are (and will be) involved, and collaborations with other Universities and Institutions operating in Aquileia are already in place.

Graduating, Postgraduating and Ph.D. students also participate to the group activities.

LINES OF RESEARCH

  • Archaeological stratigraphic excavation (inclusive of documentation and assessments)
  • Analysis of the archival and material documentation of the previous excavations
  • Study of the structures, and of the floors and basis for the virtual reconstruction
  • Development of advanced technologic solutions for activities tied to the archaeological investigations, restoration and conservation works
  • Study of the findings under the supervision of the coordinator and the other group members, in accordance to their respective competences
  • Organization of the collected data in a GIS
  • 3D virtual reconstruction on sound and rigorous basis
  • Scientific and popular publications, preparation of educational materials in view of the museum display