About the Project
AMP is a comprehensive, community-focused archaeological excavation project that strives to be both academically rigorous and culturally engaged.
The American University of Rome (AUR) launched the Aventinus Minor Project (AMP) in 2019 in partnership with St. Stephen’s School, an international high school in Rome, and the Istituto Santa Margherita, the convalescent home housed in the convent of Santa Balbina that owns the excavation site. Through this collaborative effort, AMP committed to being culturally responsible, academically rigorous, and community-minded stewards of not only the archaeological site but of the surrounding neighborhood.
During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, AMP conducted a remote research season, completing six weeks of preliminary archival, cartographic, and topographical research on the Aventinus Minor Hill with AUR’s Scientific Director Dr. Giulia Facchin. Under the direction of Site Supervisor Dr. Piermatteo Barone, the students then created a GIS database of the results, combining historical maps with archaeological reconstructions and modern georeferenced maps. The database was expanded to include all known ancient road systems, wall circuits, water infrastructure, housing, and religious buildings, compiled through known literary, archaeological, and especially epigraphic evidence, and was supplemented with metadata including photos, coordinates, and bibliography.
In addition, in 2020 AMP conducted a one-week online summer school course at St. Stephen’s School for all interested high school students, parents, and local community members. The course was pitched at a public level and topics included local myths, history, and archaeology of the Hill in addition to introductory lectures on the field of archaeology, archaeological technology, and the scope of the Aventinus Minor Project itself.
In the 2021 summer season (May 17-June 23), AMP conducted its first on-site activities, focused on producing a comprehensive non-invasive geophysical survey in preparation for excavation. A team of AUR Archaeology and Classics undergraduate students and Sustainable Cultural Heritage graduate students were led in numerous survey techniques to map, document, and draw the site. A combination of technologies were employed, including ground penetrating radar, GPS mapping, drone photography, 3-D photogrammetric modelling, and GIS database mapping. At the close of the season, the AMP team presented the results of the current survey and research to the local community with a series of lectures and posters, presented in both Italian and English.
In the fall and winter of 2021, AMP continues to process and disseminate the 2021 season results. AMP submitted geophysical survey results to peer-reviewed journal Remote Sensing (currently under review for final publication) and plans to submit an Italian version of the results to FASTI Online Documents and Research in 2022. On December 7, Sustainable Cultural Heritage undergraduate and graduate students presented a series of posters dedicated to the religion, housing, and leisure of the area (link here). In addition, AMP delivered an interim field season report at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (Session 4L: City of Rome) which was held remotely from January 5-8, 2022. AMP continues to strengthen its community outreach with a community cultural heritage exhibition dedicated to the San Saba neighborhood and is currently establishing a community service and neighborhood clean-up projects. Fundraising efforts for AMP began in early summer 2020 and was first led by St. Stephen’s School and AUR. Traction has since slowed due to the Covid-19 pandemic but with renewed onsite work, both AUR and St. Stephen’s have increased their fundraising outreach.
Meet The Team