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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Roman towns in the Tiber Valley

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This project is analysing the full range of urban settlements in the middle and lower Tiber valley of central Italy, ranging from the larger privileged centres down to the smaller agglomerations and roadside sites.

The rationale of our project stems from our growing recognition of the need for systematically collected data for the study of Roman urbanism. It also forms part of the broader Tiber Valley Project of the British School at Rome, under the direction of Dr Helen Patterson.

The aim of our project is to gather information on the nature and extent of the full range of nucleated sites in the middle Tiber region and not just the major Roman towns. This will involve an examination of individual towns themselves in the broader context of their landscape. The study area itself was defined to ensure that we would have a sufficiently broad selection of town sites to enable a regional study to be worthwhile. It takes in the whole of the Tiber valley downstream from the modern town of Orte to its mouth at Ostia.

Systematic surface-survey and large-scale geophysics have much to contribute to our understanding of Roman urban topography. Both techniques are relatively easy to use and allow archaeologists to cover substantial areas in a relatively short space of time. Clearly, therefore, they are ideally suited to characterising the extent, organisation and chronology of the large urban sites typical to central Italy and other parts of the western Mediterranean. Our project builds upon these experiences and attempts to further refine the non-destructive exploration of Roman urban landscapes

Related research groups

Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton (APSS)
Classical and historical archaeology
Roman towns
Roman towns
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