THE AVENTINUS MINOR PROJECT
An educational & community-focused archaeological project in the center of Rome.
The Aventinus Minor Project (AMP) is a fascinating educational & community-focused enterprise that sees seasoned archaeologists and educators, school & university students, and the local community directly engaging with the past & present of a small but significant area of Rome through archaeological excavation, research, and discovery.
Through diligence, perseverance, professionalism (and a little luck), the project leaders identified and were subsequently granted permission to excavate one of the few relatively unexplored areas of central Rome.
AMP is a comprehensive, research-focused archaeological project that strives to be both academically rigorous and culturally engaged. The highly experienced professional team will work directly with AUR undergraduate and graduate students, as well as St. Stephen’s School high school students, as active participants in the various processes of archaeological research, conservation, and research publication.
Meet the team
The AMP partnership is being led by a team of internationally renowned academic & professional specialists from The American University of Rome’s Archaeology & Classics program.
AMP engages both the local high school students at St. Stephen’s School and the undergraduate and graduate students at The American University of Rome in archaeological research, excavation, conservation, and publication using pedagogical methods of experiential learning and project management.
AMP involves and teaches the surrounding community in our progress and results, including local neighbors, students, businesses, and convalescent residents. We aim to use community history and material culture to build an intergenerational and international dialogue.
AMP aims to conduct academically rigorous, modern, scientifically and culturally responsible archaeological research and excavation, led by an international team of academic and professional specialists.
Project progress 2020/21
"AMP is a 'large tent' project, and we want to get the entire community involved in discovering their own cultural heritage in a way that not many digs are able to do."
Professor Elizabeth Wueste,
Director of the Aventinus Minor Project
"AMP is a great addition to the diverse and creative learning environments that make St. Stephens and AUR so unique, and I am honored to be a part of it."
Daniel Janssen, AMP Advisory Council & St. Stephens School, class of 1976
The American University of Rome (AUR) launched the Aventinus Minor Project (AMP) in 2019 in partnership with St. Stephen’s School, an international high school in Rome, and the Istituto Santa Margherita, the convalescent home housed in the convent of Santa Balbina that owns the excavation site. Through this collaborative effort, AMP committed to being culturally responsible, academically rigorous, and community-minded stewards of not only the archaeological site but of the surrounding neighborhood.
During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, AMP conducted a remote research season, completing six weeks of preliminary archival, cartographic, and topographical research on the Aventinus Minor Hill with AUR’s Scientific Director Dr. Giulia Facchin. Under the direction of Site Supervisor Dr. Piermatteo Barone, the students then created a GIS database of the results, combining historical maps with archaeological reconstructions and modern georeferenced maps. The database was expanded to include all known ancient road systems, wall circuits, water infrastructure, housing, and religious buildings, compiled through known literary, archaeological, and especially epigraphic evidence, and was supplemented with metadata including photos, coordinates, and bibliography.
In addition, in 2020 AMP conducted a one-week online summer school course at St. Stephen’s School for all interested high school students, parents, and local community members. The course was pitched at a public level and topics included local myths, history, and archaeology of the Hill in addition to introductory lectures on the field of archaeology, archaeological technology, and the scope of the Aventinus Minor Project itself.
In the 2021 summer season (May 17-June 23), AMP conducted its first on-site activities, focused on producing a comprehensive non-invasive geophysical survey in preparation for excavation. A team of AUR Archaeology and Classics undergraduate students and Sustainable Cultural Heritage graduate students were led in numerous survey techniques to map, document, and draw the site. A combination of technologies were employed, including ground penetrating radar, GPS mapping, drone photography, 3-D photogrammetric modelling, and GIS database mapping. At the close of the season, the AMP team presented the results of the current survey and research to the local community with a series of lectures and posters, presented in both Italian and English.
In the fall and winter of 2021, AMP continues to process and disseminate the 2021 season results. AMP submitted geophysical survey results to peer-reviewed journal Remote Sensing. On December 7, Sustainable Cultural Heritage undergraduate and graduate students presented a series of posters dedicated to the religion, housing, and leisure of the area. In addition, AMP delivered an interim field season report at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (Session 4L: City of Rome) which was held remotely from January 5-8, 2022.
AMP continues to strengthen its community outreach with a community cultural heritage exhibition dedicated to the San Saba neighborhood and is currently establishing community service and neighborhood clean-up projects.