Physics Uncovering the Past

LiDAR DTM of the mount Grociana piccola showing the Roman structures belonging to a military fort. Scale bar: 50 m

"Digital excavation" imaging techniques provide surprising archaeological discovery

A team of scientists from ICTP's Multidisciplinary Laboratory have discovered the probable remains of a Roman fort in an area of north-eastern Italy unknown to contain such structures.

Results of the analysis have been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science"Airborne LiDAR application to karstic areas: the example of Trieste province (north-eastern Italy) from prehistoric sites to Roman forts"The work is part of the ICTP/Elettra EXACT Project (Elemental X-ray Analysis and computed Tomography) funded by Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy).

The discovery was unearthed not by traditional archaeological excavation methods but by analysing images produced by Airborne Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR).

LIDAR uses laser light to remotely sense the properties of objects. In the case of the ICTP research, the "objects" were a series of archaeological sites in the Trieste Karst, a region northeast of the Adriatic Sea. 

ICTP scientists Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz produced a digital terrain model from the LIDAR images, which revealed a number of unknown fortified structures. Among those is a rectangular area of

about 165 by 134 meters containing a second, inner wall, suggesting the remains of a Roman military fort, a structure almost completely unknown in the studied area, according to the researchers.Some finding discovered during the survey of the area (fragments of transport republican amphorae) were analyzed for typological attribution by means of the microCT facility developed by Elettra and located at the ICTP.

The fort could be related to Roman military activities in the Adriatic area during the third Istrian war (178-177 a.C.), the researchers speculate, although they call for further archaeological investigations before drawing any firm conclusions about the role of the site.

ITALIAN PRESS: "Scoperto a Trieste il più antico accampamento romano "Gli antichi soldati romani accampati sul Carso" "Sul Carso uno dei più antichi accampamenti militari romani"


Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 15:57