Ancient Roman Street re-emerges close to Colleferro
In the working field for the completion of a purification installation on Via Ariana (between Colleferro and Artena, near Rome, in Italy), an intervention of preventive research meant to verify the presence of archaeological remains along the outline of the drainage conduct has been foreseen by the Environmental department of the Municipality of Colleferro, by the Municipal Archaeological Museum and by the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of Lazio.
It’s thanks to this focused planning that, at the height of the bridge “Ponte delle Pagnote”, located at the 6.500th kilometer from Artena, a segment of the roman “glareata” street has been detected.
The street has a length of twenty-three meters with a pavement made of lime cobblestone; on the north side, the street has been partly damaged by the seasonal plowing, whilst the south one has been perfectly conserved and on several segments you can still see larger masses of retaining wall and the basis, made of sandy limestone, conserved for over 50 centimeters.
The visual report makes us imagine a continuation of the street heading to Fosso Gavozza in the direction of the remains of “Ponte delle Pagnotte”, an ancient roman bridge unraveled during the 1980s by the local “Toleriense” Archaeological Group and unfortunately collapsed following the snowfall of January 1985. Of the bridge, however, one of the original shafts, more or less complete still stands.
The street must certainly be linked with the topographic arrangement of the ancient Via Latina and of its deviations, if not interpreted as a remnant segment of the ancient arterial street linking Rome to Capua from North to South, whose construction seems to precede that of Via Appia.
The direction of the street segment, in the actual status of archaeological emergency, seems to lean towards the hypothesis stating that the path of the street is to be considered linked to a deviation of Via Latina.
Its outline is being reconstructed from “Ponte delle Pagnotte”, where the street would separate from Via Latina, and, intersecting what is now the path of Via Ariana, would head eastwards, over the hill and passing close by the remains of a rustic villa. Then, by repeating the path of the actual Via degli Abeti, it would head towards the cemetery. The street would go down the valley, following the same route as Via Fontana Bracchi, with a parallel path but more internal; once the modern Traiana was crossed, it would let in an ancient track that today is reconstructed by Via Carpinetana.
This path is otherwise confirmed with precise details on a color topographic map from the XVIII century, conserved in the Doria Pamphili archive in Rome, on which “Castello di Colleferro” and “Ponte delle Pagnotte” are also represented.
The work is composed of highlighting the street segment, in which Dr. Rosaria Olevano, Dr. Tiziano Cinti and Dr. Mauro Lo Castro decided to engage. This has made the initiatives of documentation possible, sorted conveniently in collaboration with the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of Lazio, (Dr. Marisa De Spagnolis), the Management of the Civical Museum of the Territory of “Toleriense” (Dr. Angelo Luttazzi); at the same time, together with local authorities with the Works Management (Eng. Roberto Passetti) and the Environmental department of the Municipality of Colleferro (Eng. Alessandro Priori), a new, more appropriate, technical solution has been developed to guarantee at the same time the continuation of the exposure caused by the pipes and the best conservation of the roman route.
The foreseen strategy consists in making a perforation under the old carriageway of the street and the following insertion of piping for the draining system.
Considering the conservation conditions of the street, the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of Lazio has planned to evaluate the hypothesis of scheduling a later potential operation for preservation and the process of turning the remains into museum items.
Greeting this proposal, the Environmental department of the Municipality of Colleferro through the intervention of Managing Director Dr. Mario del Prete has succeeded in finding some monetary funds that will allow the creation of a space for placing in a museum, with the covering of the street made using canopy, green covering, illustrative posters and a small space for resting. Everything however depends on the availability of the SECOSVIM firm, owner of the terrain which would grant this small area, otherwise unused, to the Municipality of Colleferro, so that the works for the arrangement can begin and to offer a present to the community of Colleferro.
Text of Dr. Angelo Luttazzi. English translation by Think Archaeology
Director of the Archaeological Museum of the Territory of “Toleriense” in Colleferro (Rome)