The "Villa of the Antonines" Project: New Discoveries and Future Prospects

by

Dr. Deborah Chatr Aryamontri,
Department of Classics & Humanities, and
Center for Heritage & Archaeological Studies, Montclair State University

 

Since 2010, a team of archaeologists from Montclair State University, in collaboration with Italian archaeologists and geophysicists, has been excavating and studying a series of remains in modern Genzano di Roma, Italy, near the 18th milestone of the Via Appia. In addition to the ruinous baths, which have been visible above-ground since antiquity, they have shown that the complex contains a small amphitheater and probable residential quarters. New discoveries from the summer 2015 season include a series of rooms with black and white mosaic floors (among them a lively illustration of Medusa) and the confirmation that beneath the arena of the amphitheatre there exists a system of corridors and rooms, at least one of them vaulted, that are typically not present in small amphitheatres such as this one. All of these features fit well with the traditional identification of the site as the residence in ancient Lanuvium of the Antonine emperors, where Antoninus Pius and Commodus—said to have been hailed as Hercules after killing wild beasts there--are reported by an ancient source to have been born.