The archaeological site of Carsulae in Umbria, central Italy, is one of the better examples of Roman urbanism fueled by the ancient Roman road of Via Flaminia (that extended from the Apennine Mountains to the coast of the Adriatic Sea). To that end, while the settlement gained prominence in late 3rd century BC, Carsulae grew into a prosperous agricultural town during the reign of Augustus – and it was known for its rustic settings that attracted rich tourists from all over Italy. And now, a significant portion of the city’s millennia-old legacy has been revealed with the conclusion of sixth excavation campaign in the area. The recent finds pertain to the discovery of the remnants of an important Roman temple, along with the ruins of a Roman domus with its set of mosaics.
Headed by archaeologists Luca Donnini and Massimiliano Gasperini, the researchers were able to identify the podium remnant of the Capitolium – which entails the most important temple of the city (still to be excavated), along with the foundations of a sacellum (shrine) and a paved road in proximity. This was complemented by the detailed assessment of an Augustan-era landfill in the North-East district of Carsulae. The studied ceramic fragments from the precinct do paint a picture of occupation and habitation patterns of the town in late 1st century BC to early 1st century AD.
The excavation project also covered the southern part of the ancient Roman city, which revealed foundations of a Roman domus (upscale residence) – pictured below. Interestingly enough, this is not only the first time that archaeologists have come across the ruins of a residential unit at the site, but also the first that they have found definitive mosaic artworks on the floors of the structure. In that regards, the researchers have identified at least five such mosaic floors, all dating from the Augustan era, thus suggesting how they were designed during the first phase of the domus.
According to an article in UmbriaOn –
The rooms identified so far are: a large atrium with a flooring in scutulatum (a sort of mosaic with black tiles with innumerable inserts of marble slabs and white calcite of various shapes and sizes); the west wing with mosaic flooring depicting a portico façade and geometric decoration in squares and rectangles in the central part; a cubicle with mosaic with geometric decoration with a gameboard pattern. Finally, an additional room possibly from a second domus has been identified. The latter, of which only a small part of about ten square meters has been excavated, measures about 10 x 10 meters and is decorated with a large mosaic depicting a walled enclosure with towers and blackbirds along the edge and a swastika in the central field.
Lastly, the archaeologists have also successfully cleaned and restored various smaller segments of the mosaic surfaces, while also carrying out a photogrammetric survey of the entire excavation area. Such maintenance-oriented exercises would help them with the continuation of their excavation project that is expected to start from next year.
All Images Credit: Carsulae Parco Archeologico via UmbriaOn