14 December 2022
In 2019, colleagues from the British School at Rome, the University of Florence, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche and Newcastle University launched the ERC-funded ‘Rome Transformed’ Project. This five-year long project seeks to advance understanding of Rome’s development from the C1 to C8 CE through a comprehensive interdisciplinary exploration of the Eastern Caelian. Given the complexity of the project, which covers some 68 hectares of the City of Rome, the generous support of La Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Roma, Roma Capitale – Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali and the Vatican Museum, has been essential.
Though frequently treated as of marginal interest in studies of Imperial Rome the area of the Eastern Caelian underwent profoundly significant remodelling in the Severan period, a process which had far reaching implications for its later place at the heart of a new Christianised topography of the city.
This paper will review progress by the project team to date, bringing together several of the key approaches, from archival research to structural analysis, and from environmental assessment to geophysical survey, to show how our understanding is evolving. Long-established project work in the Lateran area has been developed and augmented, from the project perspective, by new collaborative work in the S. Croce Archaeological Area, together with fresh research on the Claudio-Neronian aqueduct and the Aurelian Wall. Below ground, our friends at Roma Sotterranea have also generously helped facilitate safe access to several key sites. The implications of all this work, and the project’s major new bore hole survey and ground penetrating radar research will be brought together as we reflect on the implications of successive transformations of the Eastern Caelian for Rome’s inhabitants.