Discovery of a 1st century AD Roman amphitheatre and other structures at Forum Novum by GPR

Vincent Gaffney, D Goodman, Y Nishimura, S Piro-

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    A Roman marketplace and town called the Forum Novum, initially began construction in the 1(st) century BC and flourished well into the 4(th) century AD. At present most of the town remains is below ground. The site is situated next to a completely restored 1(st) century AD church and a partially reconstructed marketplace. Ground penetrating radar surveys have been conducted at the Forum Novum during 1998 through 2001 field seasons to remotely detect buildings of this ancient town. Using 300 and 500 MHz radar antennas and closely spaced radar profiles, time slice and 3-D volume analysis of the reflection data were computed. GPR surveys in the area detected a large oval-shaped structure 45 meter along its major axis. This structure is from a 1(st) century AD Roman amphitheater. Subsequent excavations from one of the eight entrances reveal that the internal amphitheater oval is nearly a meter thick and is composed of a cemented stone wall buried 60 cm below the ground surface. The time slices revealed completely different top layer reflections from structures associated with a destroyed mausoleum, which could also be seen by the naked eye as crop marks. Archaeologists often reconstruct subsurface archaeology based on crop marks. In this case however, radar was able to detect structures near the surface-and a much different set of structures lying deeper using time slice analysis. Other structures detected in the GPR surveys include a large building complex found next to a reconstructed marketplace, and believed to be living quarters adjacent to the central market area. A large Roman villa was also imaged in one area and later excavated to reveal internal walls that include a garden atrium.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-41
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


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