NCAS-led Archaeological Field School Makes News in Italy

Lawrence Lerner

A summer archeological field school led by Rutgers University–Newark History Professor Gary Farney has gotten favorable press in Italy this summer.

While excavating a Roman Republican villa site at Vacone, in the Upper Sabina Tiberina region of Italy, about 40 miles northwest of Rome, Farney and his team of students and experts have unearthed preserved mosaic floors and decorated plasters on the walls, among other finds. The floors contain geometric polychrome that are unique to sites in the area.

The project, part of Farney’s Upper Sabina Tiberina Archaeological Field School, is in its second year and is playing an integral role in educating undergraduate and graduate students from NCAS, the Newark and New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers University, and other universities across the U.S.

The project, which will span several years, is attempting to discern Roman settlement and land-use in this region during the middle and late Roman Republic (third to first century B.C.E.), which may have served as a model for later Roman expansion and exploitation in the rest of Italy and Europe.


* See the original article, in Italian, complete with photos of the discoveries, in Il Messagero.

* See the Google English translation below.

* See our original article on the Upper Sabina Tiberina Archaeological Field School here.



Vacone, emerges from the excavations a Roman villa
The villa in use since the first century BC

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 10:54

VACONE - A Roman villa that is emerging among olive trees in Vacone. It's another archaeological discovery in the area around Rieti, that is coming to light with the coordination of the official of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Lazio, with responsibility for Rieti, Giovanna Alvino through teza excavations at Rutgers University in New Jersey Neawark under the guidance of the project director, Gary D. Farney, director of the field, Dylan Bloy and Director of site, Giulia Masci.

The villa, which seems to have been in use between the first century BC and the second century AD and have preserved floor mosaics with geometric polychrome that are unmatched in the other sites of the area and decorated plasters still hung on the walls. The living space on an artificial terrace of Mount Thighs, is delimited downstream by a criptoportico, a sort of indoor warehouse, which was to be built on a porch that offered to the inhabitants of the house a panoramic view of the valley below. From the porch, gave access to rooms decorated, intended for the reception of guests, while behind had to extend the more private, that have not yet been excavated. Upstream, the area is bounded by a cistern for collecting water. On the upper terrace, what appears to be an ancient "terma" left gave way, in a later stage of the life of the villa, in a production area for the pressing of the olives, two presses and the settling tanks are still visible today.

The excavation is also an opportunity to study and learning for kids from every part of the United States this year, has achieved a record number of 40 participants, including students and staff, who can count on the support of the mayor of Vacone, Roberto Renzi, and interest of all the inhabitants of the country. The villa Vacone promises to unveil yet many surprises and we hope we will one day also give a name to the owner, who did make mosaics and decorations and that tradition has always identified with Horace, to the point of inducing someone to make false entries in his name and hide in the soil of the site hoping thus to convince the research.