Behind the Scenes of the Imperial Court: Columbia’s Excavations at Hadrian’s Villa
Columbia University’s archaeological project at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, near Rome, investigates the largest and richest of Roman imperial villas—an architectural complex that has exerted a profound influence on Western culture ever since its rediscovery in the 15th century. The project is the first to programmatically explore the life of the villa both under Hadrian and afterwards, down to the early modern period; it is also unique in its joint focus on the high and the low, the ceremonial and the everyday.
The talk will present the exciting results of the first four fieldwork seasons (2014–17). In particular, it will focus on the new buildings that have come to light in the area of the so-called Macchiozzo. These buildings belong to a large and hitherto unknown architectural compound located in the very core of the villa, in close proximity to some of its main ceremonial and leisure spaces. Their rich decoration (mosaic floors, wall- and ceiling-paintings) as well as fixtures like room-heating systems and courtyard fountains testify to the elevated, though non-imperial, living standards characterizing this quarter. Together with the many artifacts coming from the archaeological layers, these findings provide a unique insight in the life of the higher-ranking members of the personnel employed at the villa.
January 26 at 6:30 pm (Refreshments to precede lecture at 6:00)
The Dalton School, 108 East 89th Street, Goldman Library