Discoveries at the 'Villa of the Antonines'

- Posted Nov. 2016

On Thursday, Nov. 10 in the Cohen Lounge, the "Villa of the Antonines" Field School collaborated with the AIA (American Institute of Archaeology) to run an informational lecture about the history, recent discoveries, and future prospects of the "Villa of the Antonines." The field school is a Montclair State and Center for Heritage and Archaeological Studies project that is reliant on student and MSU faculty involvement.

"The Villa of the Antonines" is an archaeological field site in Genzano di Roma, Italy, about 18 miles southeast of metropolitan Rome. It is an imperial villa believed to have belonged to the Antonine family, an imperial dynasty of the 2nd century. The ruins of the villa consist of two distinct areas; Area 1 includes a standing bathhouse, the most recognizable of the features, and a curvilinear structure now identified as a modestly sized amphitheater. Area 2 contains a complex residential quarter, including rooms with partially surviving mosaic floors. One possibility, supported by artifactual and archival evidence, is that Commodus, who is well known for killing wild beasts, may have used this very amphitheater as a practical arena. Many methods of research are employed at this 2,000-year-old site, such as geophysical investigation, mapping, and manual excavation conducted by the team of archaeologists and students.

The lecture was attended by professors from multiple departments, as well as prospective students, and other interested parties. It featured a delectable caprese salad donated by local Italian Delicatessen Belgiovine, enjoyed by all. The project directors, Deborah Chatr Aryamontri and Timothy Renner, extended a warm thank you to all participating parties, and were delighted to have local support from the community of Montclair.

As for the future of the project, the team will continue to investigate for its eighth season during summer 2017. Interested students are encouraged to inquire of the project directors about getting involved. Dr. Peter Siegel, chair and professor of the Anthropology Department, noted that he is excited to see the bright future of the project, and hopes to see Roman archaeology address such anthropological questions as; "Who built the structures?" and "What were their lives like?." About the event, he also said "The food was great!"