Work undertaken in 2016 at the site.
In 2016, we undertook a pilot season of documentation, geophysics and conservation at the site, with promising results. Our primary aims were to acquire an overview of the topography of the site and the varying stratigraphy at key point across it, with a view to planning future campaigns. We also wanted to fully understand and, where possible, conserve those structures that had already been excavated. With this in mind, we mapped the already-excavated baths, the layout and history of which are only now beginning to be understood. Beyond the baths, a second area of interest was a large public building, initially excavated during the early 2000s and conventionally identified as a nymphaeum. Our work in this area in 2016 suggested that rather than a nymphaeum this was in fact the city’s theatre, or possibly a covered odeon.
Some of the most important results from the 2016 campaign came from the geophysical survey. Two hectares of the site were subjected to intensive GPR (ground-penetrating radar) survey and the picture acquired is extremely exciting. A major road, perhaps the Via Appia, flanked by public buildings, was identified at the northern end of the site, just to the east of the exposed baths. Behind our proposed theatre we were able to identify large semi-circular walls, which seem to confirm our hypothesis about the identification of this structure. While at the southern edge of the site, to the west of the macellum, we were able to identify further public buildings and an enormous open piazza, possible with its paving still preserved in places. Further work will be needed to confirm the identity of this space but a working hypothesis is that this is the city’s forum.