Potentia: integrated survey and mapping of a Roman colony on the Adriatic coast


he multidisciplinary approach to the Roman coastal colony Potentia is one of the main activities of the geo-archaeological research project Potenza Valley Survey’, carried out since 2000 by a team of Ghent University (dir. F. Vermeulen), in the Marche region of central Adriatic Italy. Over the years, this abandoned town, situated at the mouth of the Flosis (Potenza) river, has been researched through a large set of intensive interdisciplinary operations, consisting of aerial photography, geomorphologic observations, surface artefact surveys, topographic surveys, pottery studies and geophysical prospections, also conducted in collaboration with several invited teams of experts. On this particular case study, quite spectacular are the results of combined remote sensing work which led to a detailed mapping depicting the urban layout, with the gridded street networks perfectly defined inside the rectangular defence circuit and the majority of public and private buildings, as well as a large segment of the suburban settlement system, comprising of three extramural funerary areas, the roads connecting the city to the territorium and the original position of the river bed. These intrasite and peri-urban surveys have also been checked in the field by a focused excavation carried out between 2007 and 2010 on the west gate of the Roman town. The excavations perfectly confirm what is known from recent prospections of the general topography and plan of the late Republican and Imperial city. They also provide good chronological and stratigraphical evidence about the two main building phases of the gate, the development of the East-West axis and the character of the defences, with their ditch, wall and agger.

Non-destructive approaches to complex archaeological sites in Europe: a round-up
Geert Julien Joanna Verhoeven
Geert Julien Joanna Verhoeven
Vice Director, Senior Researcher