The archeological fabric of Rome has been enriched. The latest archaeological digs into the Trajan Forum on Via Alessandrina have just finished. Some treasures discovered include: statue heads, over 60 fragments of the Frieze of Arms, and insights in ancient architectural techniques. But the most exciting outcome may be that the Imperial and Roman forums are finally reconnected, letting the public enjoy a singular path to experience 3,000 years of history.
The Trajan Forum is a masterpiece of Roman town planning whose grandeur was not fully imagined until now. Thanks to these works, today, it is easier to understand why the building was defined as ‘worthy of the admiration of the gods.’
The new section uncovered links together the already unearthed sections. With a single glance, culture lovers can admire the square of the Forum of Trajan together with the monumental complex of the Trajan’s Markets before heading off to other sections of the whole archaeological park.
For some, it may be surprising that these significant sites are still undergoing excavations. Excavations in continuously inhabited ancient cities, like Rome, can be tricky. The city struggles to modernize while continuing to explore its past. Remarkably, this area of the city has only undergone three major digs.
During the period of French domination, Napoleon advocated the importance of the city’s origins through a campaign of excavations. Similarly, Mussolini also politicized the city’s imperial past through one of the most major excavation periods from 1924 to 1932. A new vision for the site began to stir in 1998. After long debates in the early 2000s, took place continuously from March 2018 until November 2020 under the scientific direction of the archaeologists at Rome’s Superintendency of Cultural Heritage.
The excavations removed the northern section, about 60 meters long, of the Via Alessandrina that connected the current square of the Forum of Trajan to Largo Corrado Ricci. This section of street had remained after the 1920s and 30s demolitions of the Alessandria district, however it obscured interpretations of these ancient architectural complexes. That and the sometimes-disorganized excavation techniques made research for professionals even more challenging. This latest dig therefore served professionals to further understand the architecture of the Trajan Forum and now allows the archaeological park to be more readable for visitors, enhancing the overall visitor experience.
It is not surprising that during the excavation work numerous finds have surfaced such as the head of the god Dionysus, a second head depicting (probably) a young Augustus and over 60 fragments of the Frieze of Arms of the Forum of Trajan. In addition, a fragment of a historical frieze was set up for the occasion, which preserves figurative representations in relief on the two opposite faces (pluteus), in fine-grained white marble (Luni marble), framed chronologically between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.
The most valuable finds are still undergoing conservation and were only shared during the press conference (photos of which shared here). We, at Italy’s Best, look forward to the first tour!