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14 Jan 2018

Aquae Tauri, le projet Acheloous

Acheloous (Roman floor mosaic-Zeugma, Turkey)

On the hill of Ficoncella, about 4 kms from the centre of Civitavecchia, you can still admire the remains of the ancient Roman town called Aquae Tauri.
The city was built on an older Etruscan town long before the famous Roman baths of Aqua Taurine had been built. The first evidence for this antique Roman city was the discovery of a large bathing tub with steps, probably the caldarium (hot water bath) of a large bathing complex built in the neighbourhood of the spring of Fioncella from which water was bubbled up. The bathing complex should been used from about 70 BC till the reign of the emperor Trajan when they started to built a new harbour and harbour city called Centumcellae and the nearby Terme Taurine were enlarged with, as it is called today, the Terme Imperiali. From the summer 2017 on new escavations of the old Roman city of Aquae Tauri will be executed. During the coming time we will report the results of these investigations that bears the name 'The Acheloous Project' after a river divinity from the Greek mythology.
Hereby the first report of Professor Massimiliano David from the University of Bologna and Professor Francesca Romana Stasolla from La Sapienza, the University of Rome.


TOWARD THE DISCOVERY OF AQUAE TAURI. THE ACHELOOUS PROJECT

Volunteers are doing fieldwork at Aquae Tauri

It is a huge building (almost 160 x 100 meters) the one located around the large pool of the ancient Roman town of Aquae Tauri on the hill of Ficoncella (Civitavecchia), recently cleaned up by the volunteers of the Civitavecchiese Historical Society. Its discovery represents the most important result of the new archaeological research started last summer and carried out jointly by the University of Bologna and the Sapienza of Rome in the territory of Civitavecchia.
This impressive structure, revealed by the prospections of Archeores and the first excavation campaign of the last summer, has been presented on December 18th 2017 in the conference room of the Civitavecchia Municipal Library.
The project, called Acheloous Project by the river divinity of Greek mythology, was born in 2016, with the support of the Municipality of Civitavecchia, the Superintendence, the University and the citizens. Thanks to new technologies such as geomagnetic prospecting applied to the archaeological survey, we have had the opportunity to identify around the pool this large building, whose existence was until now unknown.
We are talking about an area of considerable dimension, an entire city now brought to light thanks to new technologies. In this case, we can certainly speak of a perfect example of public archaeology, that has greatly involved all the institutions and that bases its strength in the participation of several actors. This will allow, if there are adequate economic funds, to dig and study for many years.

Massimiliano David
Francesca Romana Stasolla

Professor Massimiliano David in the middle surrounded by his working students from the University of Bologna

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