Area 5 is located near the northwestern corner of Falerii Novi’s central forum area, to the northeast of Area 4, and ca. 30 meters to the east of the town’s cardo maximus, the Via Amerina. The position of the trench was chosen based on the presence of several anomalies visible in the geophysical data, interpreted as a series of tabernae lining the northern flank of the forum. This promised to tie Area 5 particularly well into Areas 1 and 3 by continuing investigation of the town’s economic, commercial, and everyday life over a lengthy temporal span. The central location of Area 5 also provided the opportunity to improve our comparative vision of urban development between center and periphery. Excavations undertaken to the northwest by the Soprintendenza in 1993 (De Lucia Brolli, 1995) revealed promising stratigraphic sequences and relatively good levels of structural preservation providing additional justification for further excavation in the central-northern sector of the town.

A trench of 15 x 15 meters was opened to capture the southern half of a hypothesized east-west road along with almost three entire tabernae.

East-West Road

This road was located at a shallow depth and was found to be paved along the 15-meter length of the trench. Some indications of preparation layers for a sidewalk were also recorded, along with modern damage where basalt pavers have been removed at several points.

Room 1 (west)

A rectangular space defined by a north-south opus quadratum wall in dressed tuff blocks on its eastern limit and the foundation in opus caementicium of a wider wall along its western limit. Its southern side is formed by a return of this latter caementicium foundation. Several other smaller walls were recorded inside this space along with a small rectangular structure in opus caementicium. Within this structure, deposits included fragments of mortar, tile, painted plaster, and several iron objects. A sondage (trial trench to examine stratigraphy) along the larger space’s eastern limit revealed a deposit of large chunks of opus sectile floor preparation, probably taken from the adjacent room (below), as well as the upper section of a collapsed cistern built underneath the taberna.

Room 2 (central)

A second rectangular space (10.5 x 4.9 meters) immediately to the east of room 1 has western and eastern walls of tuff opus quadratum, the latter of which was built over in opus vittatum at a later stage. Its northern edge is defined by a large opus quadratum tuff wall running parallel to the east-west road and probably extending across all three tabernae. A large floor of opus sectile preparation lies in the center of this space, with its marble veneer robbed but decorative regime still clearly visible, defined by a curving brick wall on its northern edge, of which two courses survive. In the northeastern corner of this room sit three large rectangular tuff blocks with finished flat upper surfaces resembling a pavement and continuing under one of the later vittatum walls. Under one of these blocks, a built cavity with four sides constructed of dressed tuff blocks was excavated to a depth of 1.3 meters and then appears to widen, perhaps indicating an access point for a drainage system or cistern.

Room 3 (east)

This space shares the eastern wall of room 2 and the same north wall that runs across all three tabernae, preserved here at its highest elevation. A large part of the southern area of this room was covered by a cocciopesto floor, some of which bore traces of mosaic paving including 17 in situ fine, white tesserae. Several features constructed in tuff were located at the midpoint of this room, built into the floor and perhaps benches or counters of the original taberna. The northern area of this room was found to be badly disturbed with substantial rubble deposits from which were recovered a bone hairpin, glass, nails, large quantities of ceramics, tile and animal bone, and other metal objects including a defined deposit of 201 iron hobnails.

Large Apsidal Structure

A large apsidal wall of opus vittatum was constructed in a later period spanning rooms 1 and 2. It has a substantial foundation of at least 1.3 meters and was built directly on top of several of the other structural features in these rooms.