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Pontine Region Project (PRP)

Pontine Region Project (PRP)
Agro Pontino/Monti Lepini, Lazio
1987-present
The Pontine Region Project (PRP) is a long-running landscape archaeological project in the Pontine region, situated c. 60 km south of Rome in Lazio, Central Italy. The Pontine region consists of a coastal plain, which is bounded the Alban Hills and the Lepini and Ausoni Mountains. The project started in the late 1980s as a side project to the Dutch excavations at Satricum, aiming to place the development of this Iron Age/Archaic settlement in its regional context. Soon, however, the PRP developed into an independent research project.

Over the years, the PRP has shifted its geographical and chronological focus several times. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, intensive site surveys and extensive field surveys were conducted on the edge of the Lepini Mountains and in the adjacent Pontine plain, north of the Via Appia (Attema 1993). This fieldwork was intended to shed light on processes of centralisation in the late Iron Age and Archaic period, and on the impact of urbanisation and Roman colonisation on the region in the Republican period.

In the mid-1990s, the project widened its geographical scope to parts of the Alban Hills and the Sacco valley to the north (Attema & van Leusen 2004). Intensive field surveys were applied to study the impact of Roman colonisation on the hinterlands of Setia, Lanuvium and Signia. The surveys used a more intensive method that accommodated comparative analysis between the three case studies. At the same time, surveys on the edge of the Lepine Mountains near ancient Norba and in the catchment of Satricum continued.

In the late 1990s, the project again shifted its focus, now to the northern part of the coastal landscape of the Pontine plain. Surveys in the ‘marginal’ area around Lake Fogliano used a new, even more intensive gridded approach. Following these field surveys, the PRP between 2001 and 2003, excavated several protohistoric and Roman sites on the coast south of Nettuno. As part of a mapping project commissioned by the municipality of Nettuno, intensive field surveys in the territory of this municipality and in the adjacent Astura valley followed in 2003, 2004 and 2005 (Attema, de Haas & Tol 2011).

Recent research by the PRP includes both period-based, synthetic research and new geo-archaeological studies. PhD projects have studied the regional settlement history of protohistory, the Roman and Medieval period. As a part of these projects, new field surveys have been undertaken in the coastal zone, but also in the lower Pontine plain and the Lepini Mountains (De Haas 2011; Tol 2012).

Select bibliography

Attema, P., 1993, An archaeological survey in the Pontine Region. A contribution to the settlement history of south Lazio 900 - 100 BC, PhD thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Attema, P. & M. van Leusen 2004. The early Roman colonization of South Lazio; a survey of three landscapes. In: Attema, P. ed., Centralization, early urbanization and colonization in first millennium BC Italy and Greece. part 1: Italy. Babesch supplement 9 Leuven, Peeters, 157-195.

Attema, P., T. De Haas, & G. Tol 2011. Between Satricum and Antium. Settlement dynamics in a coastal landscape in LatiumVetus. Babesch supplement 18 Leuven, Peeters

Haas, T. de, 2011. Fields, farms and colonists: intensive field survey and Roman colonization in the Pontine region, central Italy, PhD thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Tol, G.W. 2012. A fragmented history. A methodological and artefactual approach to the study of ancient settlement in the territories of Satricum and Antium, PhD thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Regions: Central Italy
Institutes: University of Groningen