Archaeological research forms a central part of the BSR’s activities, providing an international hub for collaboration and debate, conducting major excavations and providing forums to bring together the academic community.
The BSR is currently engaged in major research projects in Italy and Greece, details of which can be found across the website. Spread across various regions, from the Marche to Sicily, the overall theme is the investigation of Roman urbanism, production, and commerce. This is supported by a rich programme of geophysical prospection, both for the BSR’s research projects and in support of colleagues. Thanks to successful funding applications and the support of private individuals, the BSR is able to undertake world leading and multidisciplinary archaeological research.
The BSR is currently undertaking several major research projects in Italy, based around Rome and its hinterland. The Portus Project, a long-term investigation of the Imperial harbour of Rome, recently received further funding from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship (awarded to the project Director Simon Keay) to investigate the Claudian basin.
The BSR is also delighted to join the Aix-Marseille in the FOSPHORA project. Rome Transformed, launched in 2019 received funding from the European Research Council. Over the next 4 years the team will investigate the political, military and religious changes from the first to eight centuries CE of the Eastern Caelian.
This year, the BSR Assistant Director of Archaeology will launch the project ‘Grand crus and virgin oil: Searching for the Falernian, Caecuban and Setian’. Updates on this new research initiative will appear in the pages over the next year.
As a research institution, the British School at Rome has a long tradition of undertaking archaeological survey, from the early ground-breaking South Etruria surveys of John Ward-Perkins to the more recent concentration on remote sensing. For over 20 years, the BSR conducted geophysical and topographical surveys throughout Italy, Africa and the wider Mediterranean area.
The BSR team uses a wide range of non-invasive techniques, including Ground-Penetrating Radar, magnetometry, resistance and electrical tomography, aimed at investigating the subsoil and determining the presence of buried structures.
Alongside the geophysical prospection, the BSR also conducts advanced digital recording of archaeological and historical monuments using the latest generation laser scanners (a Leica RTC 360) and robotic Total Stations (Leica TS 16).
The BSR currently participates in a number of joint research projects providing geophysical expertise. Over the past year, research has begun on recording the interior and subsurface of Franciscan churches in central Italy together with the University of Cambridge. At Spello, together with the University of Saint Louis, work has been conducted investigating the complex of Villa Fidelia whilst at Portopalo di Capo Passero in Sicily the BSR is working together with CNR-Catania.
Over the course of the past year, the BSR has also been commissioned to undertaken others surveys to support the work of colleagues, including at the sites of Agrigento (Freie University Berlin and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Fregellae (Oxford University), Terme di Cotilia (Saint Mary’s University) and Vulci (Gothenburg University). On completion of a survey, detailed reports are prepared, drawing upon the resources of the BSR’s world-leading library. The geophysical surveys are regularly published in leading academic journals, magazines and in the Papers of the British School at Rome.
Photogrammetry survey at Dangeil (Sudan)
Ground-Penetrating Radar survey at Sant’Anastasia, Rome
Ground-Penetrating Radar survey at the Palatine, Rome
Magnetometry survey at Morgantina, Sicily
A vital function of the BSR is to facilitate contact among the academic communities and to serve as a centre for research and debate. These collaborative projects demonstrate how we bring together British, Italian and other international institutions, enabling a level of activity and research which would simply not be possible for an individual research group or UK-based institution. The BSR is always seeking to expand this network, and welcomes the opportunity to support and work in partnership with colleagues.