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Project Description: Study Session

AIRC is seeking 25-30 participants for the fifth campaign of an exciting multi-year project at Ostia Antica, the harbor city of ancient Rome. The project will take place in the Parco dei Ravennati, a public greenspace situated between the main archaeological site of Ostia and the Medieval borgo with the imposing Renaissance castle built by Pope Julius II. In collaboration with the City of Rome and the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome, and under the direction of principal investigators Dr. Darius Arya (AIRC Executive Director) and Dr. Michele Raddi (archaeologist, AIRC associate),  have obtained the excavation permit from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, the AIRC project thoroughly document materials from the two areas of the park for study, analysis, and publication:

Area A consists of an Imperial Roman structure in opus mixtum, part of which was redecorated in Late Antiquity with frescoes and an elaborate opus sectile (cut polychrome marble) floor; the opus sectile room was subdivided into a series of smaller rooms in the Middle Ages. Behind this space lies a vaulted structure with double apse and a niche on the southwest side, partially investigated in the late 1960s, dating to the 15th century and probably associated with the construction of the castle at the edge of the borgo. Exploratory work in 2012 revealed re-use of these spaces as recently as the Second World War.

Area B consists of a well-preserved stretch of a Roman road—likely the last major phase of the Via Ostiensis dating to the early Middle Ages—flanked by a small circular Late Republican mausoleum built in cement and travertine. In Late Antiquity the core of the mausoleum was converted into an octagonal structure, and in the Middle Ages it was re-used again as a place of burial.

See also the formal description of the project in Fasti Online.


The experience will include the following didactic aspects to which all participants will be exposed, all under the supervision of experienced professionals

  • strategy, techniques, and methods of stratigraphic archaeology, including pre-excavation topographic research and cleaning/defoliation
  • detailed architectural and functional study of the exposed remains involving both the traditional (hand-drawn) method and the latest technology (photogrammetry, total station, and CAD software);
  • cleaning, analysis/classification, and documentation of all classes of artifacts;
  • photographic documentation of artifacts, standing remains, and archaeological stratigraphy using digital cameras;
  • the history and physical condition of the site and approaches to conserving it for future generations.