American Institute for Roman Culture Roman "Post Aedem Castoris" Forum Excavation with Oxford and Stanford Universities
The American Institute for Roman Culture collaborated with Oxford and Stanford Universities on an excavation in the Roman Forum, beginning in 2003. The Italian Ministry of Culture (Italian Ministero per i Beni ed Attività Culturali) gave the Institute permission to explore and document this important commercial zone known as "Post Aedem Castoris," situated behind the Temple of Castor and Pollux, as well as the related area on the adjacent Vicus Tuscus.
In 2003, the American Institute for Roman Culture was awarded permission to undertake an extensive excavation in the Roman Forum, partnering with archaeologists and students from Stanford and Oxford Universities. The principal aim of the excavation was to examine the articulation of public, religious and commercial space on the edge of the Roman Forum in the Republican, Imperial, and late Roman periods, specifically between the Temple of the Castors and the Horrea Agrippiana.
The Forum in Rome was the heart of the ancient city and the Roman empire. It constituted the political, religious, commercial, and legal center of the city.
The section that the American Institute for Roman Culture excavated includes is one of the central, high-rent shopping districts, located behind one of the Forum's most prestigious and noteworthy temples, the Temple of the Castors (the patron gods of the Roman knights), surrounded by important shrines.
Plentiful inscriptional evidence has described the area to be explored as a place in which luxury goods, such as jewels, incense, and dyes, were sold (Papi 2002).
The excavation complements previous exploration in the vicinity, tying into important work of other scholars and foreign institutions, including l’Università La Sapienza di Roma, the Norwegian School in Rome, the Finnish School in Rome, the British School in Rome and the American Academy in Rome.
The project analyzed the commercial activity in the Forum through stratigraphic excavation and explored the interactions of the commercial, religious, and political spaces there. Through detailed documentation of the various building phases, the project also addressed important topographical issues in an area known to be filled with important shrines and monuments, but exact locations had remained elusive.
In 2004, the American Institute for Roman Culture and Oxford and Stanford Universities continued with the second season of the the 'Post Aedem Castoris' excavation in the Roman Forum. The team examined the area between the Temple of the Castors and the Oratory of the Forty Martyrs, and the area in the Horrea Agrippiana. The focus of the project included:
A. Claridge, Rome (Oxford, 1998).
E. Papi, “La turba inpia: artigiani e commercianti del Foro Romano e dintorni (I sec. A.C.- 64 d.C.),” JRA 15.45-62, 2002
M. Steinby, Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae (Rome 1993-1999) VI vols, with articles on various sites, including, Aedes Castoris, Lacus Iuturnae, Porta Romana, Scalae Grecae, Signum Vortumni.
L. Richardson, Jr., A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Baltimore 1992).
The American Institute for Roman Culture continues to raise funds in support of this important project.