Area 1

by | Mar 19, 2023

Excavation areas with Area 1 highlighted

Excavation areas

This area was selected because the GPR survey showed a macellum, or market for meat and other goods, here, and we hope to learn how this commercial space was connected to the city’s infrastructure, such as its street, water, and drainage systems. The structure, which measured about 29 x 17 meters in size, consists of an octagonal perimeter surrounding an open space with two small concentric structures at its center, presumably the tholos (round structure) and a base or fountain. Excavation efforts were concentrated in the northern area, where the GPR showed a series of six rooms. The five visible lateral rooms measured roughly 3 x 3 meters, while a central space was slightly larger.

The team opened a trench measuring 15 x 6 meters to expose the central space and two flanking spaces, probably the entrance corridor and two shops.

The walls showed several phases of construction. The earliest was represented by squared stone (ashlar) arranged in an opus quadratum pattern, which served as foundations for subsequent phases. The ashlars extended down over five meters deep, at which point excavation was stopped for safety purposes. At least two later phases were carried out in brick and opus vittatum (parallel horizontal layers of tuff blocks alternated with bricks), but these were not very well preserved.

In the northern limit of the trench, the team unexpectedly uncovered another, apparently earlier, structure made of rather poorly preserved tuff that was abutted by the macellum. This structure was not present on either the magnetometry or GPR surveys, but it proved to be very interesting. Animal bones, many showing cut and butcher marks, were found in abundance, and glass was a frequent find here as well.