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"Classics Presents..." Speaker Series

Friday, March 3, 2017
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Watson Hall
Room: 517
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Dr. Seth Bernard, Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of Toronto
Porta Esquilina, Anio Vetus, San Vito: Interpreting two millennia of Roman urbanism on the Esquiline Hill
This paper presents the results of an archaeological study of the Roman and Medieval structures beneath the fifteenth-century church of San Vito, not far from Santa Maria Maggiore and modern Termini Station, on Rome's Esquiline Hill. The church was built into the Esquiline gate, which permitted traffic to enter and exit the archaic city walls along a vital route connecting Rome with eastern Latium. The site was also near one of the city’s earliest major neighborhoods, whose growth was supported by the Anio Vetus, Rome's second earliest aqueduct. The location thus represented a crucial node in the pre-modern topography. More generally, I use this focused case study to show how small-scale archaeological documentation and investigation can reveal broader diachronic aspects of Roman urbanism. Rome was and is the Western world’s consummate urban space. Taken as a whole, the city is the most densely stratified archaeological site, showing extensive signs of occupation, abandonment, and reoccupation from the Late Bronze Age up to the present day. This investigation of San Vito's multiple phases from c. 500 BCE - 1500 CE will reveal aspects of the organizational logic, which helps us to make sense of Rome’s dynamic and complex urbanism over the long duree.

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