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M. Buora and V. Roberto


Fig. 1. The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, with the location ofAquileia.

Fig. 2. The map of Aquileia by L. Bertacchi (2003). It includes the

earliest Roman walls (F), the zig-zag of the Byzantine wall (H), the Forum (G), the Amphitheatre (F) next to the

SW wall, the Circus (F) next to the NW wall, and the grid of decumani
and cardines within the city (B).

Fig. 3a. Aerial orthophoto ofAquileia, July 2007.

New work on the plan of Aquileia based on aerial photographs and a GIS platform
Maurizio Buora and Vito Roberto
A joint research project at the Civici Musei of Udine and the Dipartimento di Informatica at the University of Udine has created a software platform to collec! catalogue, archive and compare data on the ancient city of Aquileia (fig. 1). The present article intend.s to summarize some of the new insights relating to traces of buried strucfures and their possible interpretation, in the context of previous work on the plan of the city.
We designed a software system named Antaeus, a GIS that is a node of the Intemet open to shared access by the users and capable of actively exchanging data with other sources on the Net. The first step was the design and realization of an open GIS platform. Next, a set of digital aerial images covering more than 1000 km2 and taken in both the visible and NIR (near-infra-red) multispectral bands by the regional government of FriuliVenezia Giulia was loaded and geo-referenced. This allows for a first, large-scale analysis of the data. Lr the future we plan to perform geophysical surveys at smaller scales in the areas where the large-scale analysis has provided promising results.
Earlier plans

The first overview of Aquileia dates to the late LTth c.: ancient ruins are interspersed with mediaeval and contemporary buildings. Then in the mid-18th c. Gian Domenico Ber-

toli attempted to make an outline of the archaeological map of the town centre. A new attempt was made in the Napoleonic era, and another in the second half of the 19th c. During the 20th c. several maps were proposed starting with the one by G. Brusin, which was updated until the 1950s, up to the most recent one (2003) by L. Bertacchil (fig.2). All of
these maps suffer from limitations since the picture as a whole had been created by assembling surveys and plans produced after each excavation that were not always precisely

positioned. Oblique aerial photographs were taken irr1934,1954,1982 and 1990 (the latter in colour for the first time), but efforts were not made to analyse the images systematically or to correlate them with the available data so as to update the map of the Roman city in a comprehensive manner. The digital images currently available, when georeferenced (even if there are slight distortions), provide a comprehensive framework in whictr to correlate the ardtaeological findings. This makes abundant new material open to comparison and

further analysis.
The GIS platfor:m,

Our open GIS currently includes digital data from multiple sources combined into a geo-referenced platform. For the latter, the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) system has been adopted. The fuse 33N was assigned the Gauss-Boaga coordinates (the local standard in Italian cartography). Accordingly, the position of a point is represented by a pair of coordinates expressed in metres, Easting (X) and Northing (Y), with an estimated position error of 8 m. The Antaeus system currently performs data visualizalonand georeferencing; network distribution of images and data; data exchange with other sources on
L. Bertacchi, Nz 2003). pianta di Aquileia (Associazione Nazionale per Aquilei4 Edizioni del Confine



M. Buora and V. Roberto

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: 5000. The circuit of the city is indicated by a dotted line. The numbers and small letters on the sides will serye for cross-referencing in the text. The capital letters on the map itself refer to significant sites which have been recognized on the ground.

New work on the plan of Aquileia


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Fig. 3b. Screenshot of the GIS Antaeus, showing the relating of images to data by means of georeferencing. In the cenfre is an aerial orthophoto ofAquileia taken in July 2007, with the modem town at the bottom; the main part ofthe Roman city lies just to the north. The grid ofRoman streets (cf. also fig. 2) has been georeferenced and superimposed.

the Net (e.g., satellite irnage repositories); data classification and the definition of thematic layers; and the insertion, query and retrieval of catalographic cards (fig. 3). Our basic reference map for the puposes of this paper is fig. 4 at a scale of 1 : 5000.

Centuriation, roads and suburbs

Elements of the centuriation

As earlier scholars have noted, the orientation of the cardines of the centuriation was roughly 21' NNW. This corresponds with the orientation of the main road bisecting the city today (h9.4, the line running from squares b1 to d6), which itself traces the course of the Roman road for much of its length. In the imhediate surroundings of the town a number of lines correspond to traces of the centuriation. Belonging to the cardines (the NW-sE schema) are the following: o Close to the NW comer of the Late Roman wall there is a line running or c.168 m at a distance of c.409 m from the cardo maximus (hg. 4, the line running from squares 2b to
On the NE side of the city, beyond the mediaeval complex of Monasterq another stretch of centuriation czm be followed or c.16s m (it falls outside the area o. frg. 4). . To the west of the Early Mediaeval urban area are three stretctres of centuriation (fig. 4, from squaresSb to 5c). Belonging to tl:re decumani (the NE-SW schema) are the following: . A line2 running for c.L20 m at right angles to the others corresponds to the decumanus maximus itself (fig. 4 in square 4c). o To the south of the decumanus maximus is part of another cenfuriation alignment, some


Mup coordinates x 372488,0; y 5069968,00.


M. Buora and V. Roberto






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ffilN kl*:\,\"Jffi
--fr,tr *-i

Fig. 5. Detail of the area northwest of the Roman city 3b, 3c on fig. 4.


: 1000), corresponding to the squares 2a,2b,2c,3a,

r o

125 m in length (fr1.4,

from squares 5b to 5c).

To the south again is another centuriation alignmen! some 143 m long (fig. 4, from
squares 5b to 5c).

At a distance of

m is another centuriation alignment which coincides with an ancient road along whidr G. Brusinbrought to light a cemetery (fig. in square 5c).3
side of the

A main road and a suburb on the northeast


To the northeast of the Monastero bridge (on the right of frg. 4), excavated in the first half of the L9th c.,4 is a stretch of road which runs due east for c.650 m. Identified by H. Maionica as the aia Gemina, it was c.4 m wide.s On the N side of that road there is another road brandring off to the north. In this suburban district the roads are arranged in the shape of a fan, as was already supposed during the investigations carried out in the late 19th c. A few buildings can be recognized one of them being c.20 x L5 m in size. The buildings follow the orientation of the closest road.

A main road on the northwest


side of the

city (hg.4 in squares 3a-3b)

The road known as the oia Annia leaves the town just north of the N end of the circus. The aerial photographs show that the remains of the previous Republican city walls lie a few metres below their hypothetical position as it was marked on the archaeological map

G. Brusiru Nuooi monumenti sepoluali di Aquileia (Venezia 1941). G. Brusiru GIi scmti di Aquileia (Udine 1934) 30-32. H. Maionica, "Fundkarte von Aquileia, " in Xenia ,4ustriaca (= lahresberichte des kk. Staatsgymnasium inGr2,53; Wien 1893). Cf. M. Buora, trad. F. Tesei, lntroduzione e commento alla Fundkarte oon Aquileia di H. Maionica (QuaderniAquileiesi 5,2000) 121.

New work on the plan of Aquileia


of 2003 and earlier versions. Fronting this road outside the late-antique walls are funerary precincts, some 10 m deep (fig. 5, at lower left). From inside the urban area the same road crosses the line of the Republican walls and then heads precisely for the SE comer of the modern cemeterp which coincides with the N end of the circus where ttre carcereswill have stood. Inside the urban area the road runs at an angle of 99' NNE and is on a course some 15 m south of the position marked on the archaeological map of 2003 and earlier maps, whereas outside the walls it has a slightly different orientation (109" NNE) which does not match that of the stretch within (fig. 4 in square 3a).

An extramural ailla and production site to the north of the city (hg.4 in square 2c)
F. Coren recently detected the remains of this site by an aerial survy,6 and it is visible on our photographs, occupying about 90 x 60 m. The W limit of the site lies about 110 m (or 3 actus) east of the present main road (the so-calle d oin lulin Ar,tgusta) whichfollows the line of the cardo maximus of the Roman centuriation, and some 265 m (ot 7.5 actus) nofih of the Roman Republican walls (see fig. 5, upper right). The scattered ruins visible on the photographs indicates that the settlement ran in a roughly E-W directior; close to a river (now very narrow) which flowed to the east and south.T This area is also close to the Aqui-

leia aqueduct: in172'l' it was sketched at about this spot by Bertoli.s A road running at an orientation of about 20' NNE gave access to this site. About halfway along there is a building measuring c.20 x 10 m, perfectly aligned with the road (fig. 5, upper right). F. Coren has shown that there was a large brick-making kiln here; the site was investigated in the mid-19th c. by K. Baubela.e A possible villa rustica to the northwest of the city (frg.4 in square 2b)

On the opposite (W) side of tlrre cardo maximus, a scatter over a large area (c.50 x 45 m) probably relates to a ailla rustica.r0 Structures lie on both sides of one of the cardines of the centuriation mentioned above (hg.4, the line running from squares 2b to 3b); the structures also lie next to a decumanus oriented 69' NNE and are thus perfectly consistent with the centuriation, which suggests they were built early in the planning of the colony, perhaps during the first half of the 2nd c. 8.C., as their proximity to the cify also indicates. On the same line (fig. 5, the structure in the upper centre marked C) is the kiln complex of the "Lartari estate". Here lamps were produced in the Early Imperial period.l1 The area of the furnace lies about 190 m from the edge of the present road, probably on another alignmentl2 running parallel to the decumani and connecting the bridge (fig. 4 in square 3a but

o z s s 10 17 t2

Map coordinates x372726,28;y 5071257,21. See www.lswn.itlcomunicatilstampal200g/antica_

f omace_romana-rinvenuta_vicino_ad_aquileia.

Coren believes that it is the beginning of the Natissa river. On the scholar and this information see G. Vale, Gian Domenico Bertoli, fondatore del museo Iapidario di Aquilein e I' oper a sza (Aquileia 1946) 29. See K' Baubel4 lchnographia Aquilejae Romanae et patriarchalis (1863) at no. 36, with the annotation "Eine gro8e Menge von Thonbruchstiicken und Ausschuswaaren einer Tpferei" ("a huge amount of brick fragments and fumace wasters"). This information was then taken up by Maionica (supra n.5) 13, republished by Buora (supra n.5) 41. Map coordinates x 372158,28; y 5071018,21. E. Di Filippo Balestrazzi, Le lucerne del Museo Archeologico di Aquileia, II. Le lucerne figurate (Pordenone 1988) 17-18, with references. This is likely to be the trace of an earlier centuriation of Aquileia. Besides its orientation, which is perpendicular to the road which forms the cardo maximus, the road is exactly one mile from the one along which Brusin excavated part of a necropolis and it presents the same orientation


M. Buora and V. Roberto

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Fig. 6. The Marignane villa (socalled Imperial Palace). Within

the rectangle the dotted lines indicate new profiles detected by the

orthophotographs; the continuous lines are those already on existing


off the map) of the


Annia wlfhthe cardo maximus. in square 4c; hg. 6)

The Marignnne oilla (the so-called imperial palace) (fig. 4

To the west of the circus, the villa of Marignane, partially excavated by Brusiry is clearly visible.l3 lts rientation is consistent with that of the centuriation. The photographs show more walls than were known previously, as part of a complex of buildings (perhaps with a consistent function) stretching beyond the Anfora river to the south. In the adjacent field, traces of glass manufacturing were found, presumably part of an industrial area. The location of the Marignane villa close to the circus, yet the absence of any clear relationship to the circus (other than the fact that in the period of the 1st-3rd c. both lay outside the city walls), should exclude the notion that it was the imperial palace of Aquileia - if indeed of 69'NNE. G. Brusir; Aquileia. Guidastorica


e artistica (Udine 1929)72, hg.43;id., "Le ultime scoperte archeologiche ad Aquilei4" Aquileia chiama 1954.3,47-49; P. Lopreato, "La villa imperiale delle Marignane in Aquileia," AntAlt 30 (1987) 137-49; M. Buora" "Due tipi di cimiteri tardoantichi di

Aquileia," Quad. Friulani


Arch.11 (2001) 51-64.

New work on the plan of Aquileia


there was one.la To the north of the Marignane villa are the remains of further buildings on the same orientation.

A ailla

close to the Terzo riaer west of the modern town centre

Another building, c.30 in width, lies about 750 m (about 21 actus) west of the cardo maximus.rs Oriented according to the axes of the centuriation, it has a simple E-shaped plan, with side wings about 25 m in length and a central one about 15 m long.

Walls Thi tate Roman znalls on the W side of the city, beyond the Republican walls (fig. 4c; tlgs.Ta-b)

in square

The photographs reveal two towers leaning against the th-c. wall that have not been previously published (cf. fig. 7 at the lower left). One of them lies on top of the so-called Temple of Jupiter found in the 19th c.16 It looks quite differenf both in sze and in shape


1s 76

This problem was first discussed by N. Duvaf "Les palais impriaux de Milan et d'Aquile, ralit et mythe" AntAlt 4 (1973) 151-58; id., "Existe-t-il un ,,structure palatiale,, propre l'Antiquit tardive?" inLe systme palatial en Orient, en Grce et Rome (StraJbourg 1gB^ 4h-g0. C ft9 imperial palace, see also the discussion by C. Sotinel ldentit ciaique el christianisme. Aquile ilu lIIe au VIe sicle (BEFAR 324, 200n 17-24. Map coordinates x 372301,32; y 5069743,11. It was so called because inside it was found a re-used capital with a Republican-era inscription


M. Buora and V. Roberto

Fig. 8a. Partial orthophotograph of the Byzantine zig-zagwall. Fig. 8b. The same area with reconstructed profiles. Traces ofearlier buildings appear within rectangular boxes. In the box at lower left are those appearing on the aerial photographs taken in 1954; in the box at upper right are those detected by the present work.

from the towers, which were constructed later up against the same face of the wall circuit.lT This prominent structure stood close to the road and it may well have been a temple, subsequently incorporated into the late-antique defenses of the city.
The Late Roman walls are quite well recognizable on the photographs in the area close to the circus. Directly north of the so-called Temple of Jupiter a tower can be seerl and there are two more further to the north. On the archaeological maps of the city one of them is shown with a semicircular shape. Another with a corner-shaped end is clearly visible on the aerial photographs (fig. 4 in square 4c).

Further to the south one can just see a building partially excavated by Brusin, which he interpreted as a gateway.ls Contrary to what one of us had proposed,le a stretch of road

t7 18 rg

Kenner and A. Hauser, Mittheilungen der Central-Commission I (1877). G. Brusin, "Porte di difesa della romana Aquileia e di Aventicum," in E. Sdrmid, L. Berger and P. Buzgiu (edd.), Proaincinlia (Basel 1968) 234-39. This was on the basis of a comparison with a strucfure at Diaporit near Butrint, for which see
See F.

W. Bowdeo R. Hodges and K. Lako, "Roman and late-antique Butrint: excavations and survey,

New work on the plan of Aquileia


visible a little further to the west, which aligns with the town's decumani, runs exactly through the centre of the builditg i^ question, showing that it is undoubtedly a gateway.
The Byzantine zig-zag city wall near the ancient city centre (fig. a in square 4d, labelled D)

The Byzantine zig-zagwall (cf. fig. 2 above), dated to A.D. 552by L. Bertacchi,2o is clearly visible on the photographs. The photographs also provide evidence for the layout of the urban centre prior to the construction of this wall (figs. 8a-8b). The wall itself was built on top of the earlier structures almost without damaging them, since no foundation trenches were dug. The earlier structures are visible over an area of about 165 x 60 m.

Fig. 9a. The district northwest of the macellum. is a large public building west of the macellum;
rectangle are private houses(?) west of the forum.

In the top rectangle there houses(?); in the bottom

Urban buildings A district near

the Forum west of the REublican

macellum (fig. 4 in square 4c, labelled E)

On the air photographs a large building can now be identified directly west of the Late Republican macellum2l (figs. 9a-b). It is rectangular in shape (c.37 nwide by c.45 m long, or about 125 x 150 Roman feet). It has a complex plan with a kind of exedra on its E side. The exedra recallq the Eumachia building at Pompeii, although the latter faces the Forum


2000-2001.,' I RA 1.5 (2002) 211 -L2. On the walls see C.lggi, "S. Ilario in Aquileia: eine friihchristliche Memorie in ihrem Stdtenbaulidren Kontext " AqNos 60 (1989) 297-306; Bertacchi 2003 (supra n.l) 19-26, especially 24. F. Maselli Scotti, "Nuove scoperte nella zona a nord-ovest del foro di Aquileia" AntAlt 42 (1995) 157-69.


M. Buora and V. Roberto

directly. Something rather similar was found south of the Natissa river in a structure excavated by L. Bertacchi.22 In the present case the compound is created by rooms aligned in a double row on its N and S sides (possibly there is an apse there too), with larger rooms down the W side. Access to the complex seems to be from the west. It may be another kind of market building.
To the south of this complex one.can distinguish a few rooms arranged in a row. They may be part of another building of a commercial nature. The W side of this building seems to be closed, and it does not abut other buildings. Perhaps the land was left empty up to a road (visible on fig. 9b). Beyond that road, traces of more walls continue those brought to light (and marked on the earlier archaeological map) by L. Bertacchi during municipal sewer works in the late 1960s.
The area near the circus

(h9.4 in square 4c; hgs.7a-b)

On the E side of the circus are seen 12 bases of piers, irregularly spaced. The land allotments in this area, whidr follow the orientation of the centuriatiory probably preserve the alignments of Roman structures which were built into the grid.

Near the N end of the circus, directly south of the modern cemetery. which was established in 1915, are visible a number of buildings which have nothing to do with the circus itself (fig. 8). Some may have been houses which were destroyed at the time the circus was

South of and close to the first decumanus north of the forum is visible a large building between the gateway mentioned above and a modern house (it did not appear on the aerial photographs taken in 1934). It was probably a public building. In the interior is some kind of circular space, with a kind of exedra to the south. A rectangular area resembles a large courtyard. The total area of the building is about 140 m long and more than 50 m wide.

Built-up districts beyond the walls

The districts east of the riaer port (fig. 4

in squares 2d and 3d)

Beyond the walls, to the east of the excavated section of the port on the E bank of the Natissa river, there lies an area of intense urbanization, part of which was already excavated in the 19th c. A few areas with a major concentration of structures can be detected on the photographs. They seem to have their own orientation following the decumanus maximuq which presumably crossed the district (fig. 4 in square 4d). When Brusin excavated part of
the E bank hereabouts two stairs were exposed and recorded on the archaeological map. At that time it was supposed that two roads branched off from them on the alignment of
t}:re decumanl, but the aerial photographs now indicate that a structure measuring c.80 m long and 5 m wide (perhaps a dock) occupies the line of one of the supposed roads.

The same photographs show a rectangular building (c.28 x 15 m) with thick walls and a curved building at the right end of the fagade (fig. 10a just below the centre; fig. 10b at the bottom); it may be a temple. In the same district in 1901 was found the base o a signum dei

L. Bertacchi, 'Aquileia: il grande mercato pubblico a sud della Natissa," Aquileia chiama23 (Dec. 1976) 12-L6.See also the further remarks in F. Maselli Scottiet al., 'Area occidentale dei cosi detti mercati a sud del fiume Natissa: scavo 1998," AqNosT0 (1999) 398-406.

New work on the plan of Aquileia


Fig. 10a. Orthophotograph of the E bank and port on the Natissa river. Fig. l0b. The same area on the plan. Newly-identified buildings seem to be oriented according to the centuriation. In the square are possible stores;
in the bottom rectangle is a temple(?).

Neptunirestored by Decius (A.D.249-251). L:r 1934, a dedication to the same god, by a seair of the towry was found embedded in the defensive works of the river port.z3
The district on the S bank of the Natissa riaer south of the town centre

(hg.4 in square 6b)

Within the Tuzet estate a large villa with baths was excavated between the two World
Wars.2a Its first phase dates back to the end of the 1st c. B.C. Subsequently it was interpreted as an imperial residence.2s Lying about 250 m to the west are a number of buildings which

are partially aligned with the early phase of the

villa (fig. 11).

2s 24 2s

Brusin (supra n.4) 85-86. G. Brusiry 'Aquileia. Scavo di terme," NSc ser. 6, vol..5 (1929) 109-38. M. J. SfiazzulIa, "Sstemi decorativi privati di et augustea. Una villa imperiale ad Aquilea?,"
AnnPerugia 20 (1982-83) 465-87.


M. Buora and V. Roberto

rl Ir- - e-'-d'l





Sketch plan of the area south of the Natissa river. To the east are the so-called Terme Tuzet with the newly-discovered westem side and some parallel walls (a porch or porticus?). Onitre W side are newlydiscovered buildings.



Tombs along the

via Annia northwest of the town (fig. 4 in square 3a at point F)

At a distance of c.580-770 m26 from the Roman gate (see above h1.7b) and c.180 m from the bridge crossing the Terzo river (here flowing to the north), one sees a number of funerary precincts on the S side of the Roman road (ig.12). Note in particular the arrangement of three precincts in a rectangle c.13 m wide, so that each precinct is about 45 feet wide and 60 feet long. The precincts are further subdivided in the middle by a line creating 6 equalsized units. It is not unusual to find burial allotments at Aquileia. Facing the road are the rectangular bases of funerary monuments, probably three ossuary altars. To the east and west of these precincts there are either seemingly empty spaces or isolated monuments without traces of precincts or more precincts arranged more or less regularly. Ditches line the road further to the west but without further signs of funerary precincts. At a distance o c.2 km from the modem cemetery whose western border coincides with the Late Roman city walls there are more precincts (fig. 13).27 They stretch for a distance of c.80 m and occupy a depth of c.40 m on both sides of the road. One of these precincts, set perpendicular to the road, is of a common size at Aquileia: L6 feet frontage and 32 feet depth. Directly northeast of the city on the so-called aia Pedrada,which runs from the Mainizza bridge towards the river Isonzo (fig. 4 in square 3d), funerary precincts were first observed by Bertoli in the 18th c.; the Roman road is also marked on the Tabula Peutingeriana.Excavations were conducted here at several moments.28 The photographs show a number of precincts within a restricted area which is apparently intact.

26 27 28

Map coordin ates x 37 17 60,1,L, y 5070772,32; x 371979,61, y 8070696,32. The map coordinates for this zone are x 370588,08, y 5071165,62 andx370665,58, y 5071,1,65,62. E.g, Brusin (supra n.4) 197-231; F. Maselli, "Nuovo apporto alla conoscenza della necropoli di levante," AqNos 40 (1969) 15-32.

New work on the plan of Aquileia



Fig. 12. Necropolis along the ancient via Annia near the town.

Fig. 13. Extension to the west of the necropolis along the ancient via Annia.


M. Buora and V. Roberto




A monumental necropolis reveald by Brusin2e is still partly visible to the west of the town centre (fig. in squares 5b-5c). Further tombs were recognized on the W side of this sector, and the photographs taken in 2003 allow us to identify its continuation to the west (fig. 1a). In the new sector the precincts are arranged in at least three rows parallel to the course of the road. They are partly concealed by modern buildings.
Conclusions Up to this point our research has been performed mainly on the aerial images. It needs to be confirmed and complemented with data acquired from other sources, sudr as geophysical prospection, laser scannin& and excavation. It is to be hoped that the collection of data on this GIS platform will also help to focus future excavations (always the most expensive and the most destructive solution) on those areas where there is the most to be

maurizio.buor@uniud.it Dipt. di storia -


e tutela dei Beni Culturali, Universit di Udine Dipt. di Matematica e Informatica, Universit di Udine

We are grateful to the following researchers who helped us desigrr the GIS Antaeus supporting our work: Stefano Ansoldi, Massimiliano Hofer, Dan Nelu (University of Udine) and Giorgio Denis De Tina (Civici Musei, Udine). We are also grateful to Gerald Moore for revising our paper in English.

Brusin (supra n.3).

voLUME 23