ROMA ARCHEOLOGICA & RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA 2022. #NatalediRoma Update: Rome, the Forum of Caesar Excavations, April 2022; and Dr. Rubina Raja, “Excavating the Untouched History of Rome;” in: Arrhus, University of Denmark (28 Feb. 2022). And New On-Site Excavation Photographs (12 March & 16 April, 2022); in: Rome: Skyscraper City (21/04/2022). S.v., Roma, Scavo e Valorizzazione nel Foro di Cesare (04/2022); in: Foto di Francesco Campanini / Facebook (15/04/2022).
1). ROME – Update: Rome, the Forum of Caesar Excavations, April 2022; and Dr. Rubina Raja, “Excavating the Untouched History of Rome;” in: Arrhus, University of Denmark (28 Feb. 2022); in: Anja Kjærgaard / Arrhus, University of Denmark (28 Feb. 2022).
Note: the following is an extract of the original full text interview.
Rubina Raja is a classical archaeologist educated at the University of Oxford and currently employed as a professor at Aarhus University. With a grant from Aarhus University Research Foundation, she and an international research team have been given the opportunity to realise an archaeological dream project – the excavation of Caesar’s Forum in central Rome.
“We excavate until we reach ‘virgin’-soil, i.e. the absolutely untouched soil, where no human activity can be detected,” Rubina Raja tells from her home in Aarhus. It is here, in a scenic setting at Moesgaard Museum, that the 45-year-old professor of classical archaeology spends a great deal of her time as centre director, researcher and lecturer, when she is not busy at conferences, at lectures or at excavations around the world.
In connection with her work, she often finds herself in a place located near a road in the heart of Rome called Via dei Fori Imperiali. The road cuts through the imperial fora or public spaces that the Roman emperors had made built in their honour. One of these fora is of particular interest for the Danish archaeologist.
“Caesar’s Forum was the first of several of these public places. Because Caesar was not emperor, it is, of course, not an imperial forum in that sense, but the idea behind the square is the same, and all subsequent imperial fora drew on his idea. Because of this, Caesar’s Forum is absolutely central in classical archaeology. It is a place where innovation took place in a field of high-political tension. Caesar ended up dying for his despotic leadership of Rome, and the forum is an example of his self-staging – this in the middle of urban late republican Rome,” Rubina Raja says.
In recent years, she has, together with an international research team, been involved in one of the largest archaeological projects between Denmark and Italy for many years – the excavation of Caesar’s Forum.
Archaeology moves backwards
One thing that is not a topic for discussion is the fact that archaeology moves backwards through history and prehistory.
“But archaeological fieldwork is often scalable. You can choose to excavate more or less or implement fewer or more methods of analysis, but the grant I have received from Aarhus University Research Foundation, the so-called Flagship grant, means that we can accomplish what I would describe as a holistic dream project,” Rubina Raja says.
In addition to being proud that the foundation has chosen the project as the first flagship project, she is also pleased on behalf of the humanities and humanistic research. And results are not absent either.
“So far, the biggest result of our work has been that we have been able to ascertain that the part of town, which was perceived as meaningless and a slum area during the time of Mussolini, the so-called Alessandrino district, which dates back to the 16th century, turns out to have had a completely different nature and status,” Rubina Raja says and elaborates:
“The houses in this part of town have more likely belonged to the upper middle class. This clearly shows how politically driven archaeology can be. During the time of Mussolini, the importance of the district was downplayed in order to justify removing elements of the past and instead build Mussolini’s street of parade in central Rome. This would probably not have happened today. And it is a blessing in disguise that 3000 m2 still exists, where we can now excavate the untouched history of Rome.”
The next phase of the excavation will deal with nothing less than the period ranging from the 16th century to the earliest phases that exist in the area.
“We will work our way back in time, and we have a huge amount of work ahead of us, as everything has to be documented, recorded and published. Today, when I am standing on Caesar’s Forum, the level of the period in which Caesar reigned lies further down, but I am in the middle of history with a mixture of awe, responsibility and burgeoning joy that when the project is completed, we expect to be able to present important results on the development of Rome from the earliest periods up to present day.”
Fonte / source, foto:
— Anja Kjærgaard / Arrhus, University of Denmark (28 Feb. 2022).
2). ROMA – Il Foro di Cesare e gli scavi successivi a metà febbraio. 2022. Fonte: ROMA | THREAD STORICO ARCHEOLOGICO / Skyscraper City # 944 (12/03/2022).
Fonte / source, foto:
— Il Foro di Cesare e gli scavi; in: ROMA | THREAD STORICO ARCHEOLOGICO / Skyscraper City # 944 (12/03/2022).
3). ROMA – Il Foro di Cesare ei successivi Scavi e la Nuova Valorizzazione lavorano da metà aprile, 2022. Fonte: ROMA | THREAD STORICO ARCHEOLOGICO / Skyscraper City # 950 (16/04/2022).
Fonte / source, foto:
— Il Foro di Cesare e gli scavi; in: ROMA | THREAD STORICO ARCHEOLOGICO / Skyscraper City # 950 (16/04/2022).
— ROMA ARCHEOLOGICA & RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA 2022. ROMA – Foro di Cesare – Progetto di Scavo (2016/2022): “Proseguono i lavori di Scavo e Valorizzazione nel Foro di Cesare (15/04/2022)”; in: Foto di Francesco Campanini / Facebook (15/04/2022). Anche bibliografia aggiornata (2016-22). https://wp.me/pbMWvy-2Cf