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Excavation campaign Ostia ReLOADed 2023

From 9 July to 6 August 2023, the 'Ostia ReLOADed' archaeological dig campaign took place, co-organised by the universities of Louvain and Namur as part of the OsTIUM project, under the coordination of Marco Cavalieri, Julian Richard, Martina Marano and Paolo Tomassini.

The project's archaeological activities focused on a specific area of the ancient city, the parcel of land IV, VI, 1. Strategically located on Ostia's main street, the decumanus maximus, between the Forum and the sea, the parcel of land offers a valuable opportunity to follow the transformations of the western district of the city over nearly five centuries, from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD. The site was occupied successively by two buildings: the Domus del Portico di Tufo (1st c. BC - 2nd c. AD), the largest and one of the richest patrician houses in the city, and the Caseggiato a Botteghe (2nd - 4th c. AD), a commercial building with flats on the upper floors.

In July-August 2023, excavations focused on the southern part of the site. This is a particularly important location for Ostian history, as the area had never been excavated before, unlike the northern end of the area, which was partially excavated in the first half of the 20th century. A completely new part of the area and of the town was therefore uncovered. It was also one of the first times that it had been possible to excavate stratigraphically the layers of destruction and abandonment of the city. Previous excavations, most of which were carried out in the 1930s, had paid no attention to these layers, which are nonetheless essential for understanding the last phases of the town's life between the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

We would like to thank the Parco archeologico di Ostia antica for its support, as well as the various authorities who kindly visited the site, in particular Prof. Elena Calandra, Director of the Istituto Centrale per l'Archeologia, and Prof. Geneviève Schamps, Vice-Rector of the Humanities Sector at UCLouvain.

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