Whitney Hale

Uncovering Lost Communities

Published: Dec 11, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2012) — Over the summer a team of faculty and students from University of Kentucky discovered evidence of not just one lost community, but two in northern Italy. Using their archaeological expertise and modern technology, the team collected data that indicates the existence of a Roman settlement and below that, a possible prehistoric site.

 

Many years ago, archaeologist and art historian Paolo Visonà, a native of northern Italy and adjunct associate professor of art history in the UK School of Art and Visual Studies at the UK College of Fine Arts, first learned of a possible ancient settlement from a farmer in Valbruna, near the village of Tezze di Arzignano. While working his family's land, Battista Carlotto had discovered artifacts that looked to Visonà like ceramics, mosaic, and glass of the Roman Empire.

 

Curiosity of what lay beneath the farmland was piqued in both gentlemen. With the approval of Carlotto and with little time to waste due to growing development in the area, Visonà began to research historical accounts of the region. Manuscripts found in Vicenza's Bertoliana Library confirmed Visonà's suspicion; in the late 18th century witnesses had shared accounts of seeing a Roman city's remains in the vicinity.

 

Not wanting to disrupt Carlotto's working farm, Visonà had to find a way to find evidence of this community while not being invasive to the surroundings. That's when the expertise of colleague George Crothers, an associate professor of anthropology in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, came to mind. "George had the background to do the type of research that fit the characteristics of this new site, which had never been previously investigated to the extent we wanted."

 

"My involvement was to use geophysical techniques and geophysical instruments to find out what we could about architectural features at this site," Crothers said. "It had not been excavated, the geophysical techniques is one way to look below ground without disturbing it."

 

With Crothers' guidance, the UK team used a magnetometer and ground penetrating radar. A magnetometer measures variations in the magnetic intensity of the soil and can detect objects and features buried in the ground. The ground penetrating radar induces radar waves in the ground and reads the reflection.

 

Working with two students, Donald Handshoe and Justin Carlson, the UK team analyzed the equipment's readings to interpret their findings and create a map of what was below the surface.

 

First, the team confirmed what appeared to be evidence of a road and walls that indicated the presence of Roman buildings. According to the materials found on the surface and during farm work, the settlement could have existed more than 400 years from the first century B.C. to the third or fourth century A.D.  The manuscript information indicated that it was very extensive.

 

"We had 500 years of information that was all scattered and never really put together or even looked at by scientists, which included some very detailed manuscript information by eyewitnesses who actually saw the Roman town on two different occasions when it was uncovered by flooding," Visonà said.

 

But as they "dug deeper" into their findings, the instruments’ readings also revealed the presence of large circular features below the Roman site structures.

 

"The circular ones were a complete surprise — this was totally unexpected because first of all they were large," Visonà said. "The radar told us those were much deeper than the structures with right angles, which had to be Roman. So we began to differentiate between them. Since the circular features preceded the Roman ones, they could only be prehistoric."

 

Based on their research, Visonà suggests that these features could be evidence of huts of an indigenous prehistoric population. Their settlements could date from the Neolithic to the late Bronze Age. The name of the ancient Roman town may have been Dripsinum: ancient sources indicate that the Dripsinates, a sub-Alpine community, lived in this area of northern Italy.    

 

In the future, the UK team hopes to return to do more research at the site. Currently, the UK group is working with the University of Venice Ca-Foscari, which is analyzing some of the materials found at the site.

 

Visonà and Crothers' trip was sponsored by a research support grant from the UK Office of the Vice President for Research. The team's stay was approved and supported by the city of Arzignano, Italy. 

 

To hear Visonà and Crothers talk about their discovery, listen to the UK College of Arts and Sciences podcast "Unearthing Roman Secrets" at: www.as.uky.edu/podcasts/unearthing-roman-secrets-interview-george-crothers-and-paolo-visona.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716, or Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365

tezze2012005_community.jpgtezze2012011.jpgtezze2012014.jpgtezze2012001.jpg5.jpg
April
 
 
 
1
LNFS Presents: Inherent Vice
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Successful Networking & Job Search
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
The Arboretum presents a Party for the Planet! Celebrate Kentucky's Past
Mr. PharmD Pageant 2015
Wed
2
LNFS Presents: Manakamana
LNFS Presents: Donnie Darko
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
SEC-ACC Virtual Career Fair
Massage on the Go #3
Thu
3
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Fri
4
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
5
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
6
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Age Friendly Community Panel
Resumes & Cover Letters that Work
Mon
7
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Tue
8
LNFS Presents: The Godfather
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
UK Remembers
SpeakBlue: Richard Sherman
Wed
9
LNFS Presents: The Shawshank Redemption
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
From Plows to Plates: A Journey Through Kentucky Foodways
Workshop on Publishing
Teached Documentary
Thu
10
LNFS Presents: Enemy
LNFS Presents: Seven Psychopaths
Cultural Coffee Hour
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture: Julian Cox
Fri
11
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
fab-ric-ate Exhibit
Sat
12
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Kentucky's Present - Learn about the Bluegrass region of the Walk Across Kentucky and about invasive plants that threaten Kentucky landscapes
Sun
13
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Get Your DIY On! Fix-It Station Demonstrations
Mon
14
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Job Club - LinkedIn: Your Job Search Best Friend
Tie Dye Tuesday
#UK Kick Butts Day
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
Take Back the Night Lexington
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Godfather: Part II
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 11 a.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ Noon
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Affrilachian Poets
Bike-In Movie: The Bicycle Thieves
Wed
16
LNFS Presents: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
CANCELED: Bike-In Breakfast
Human Rights in China: a panel discussion
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: North by Northwest
LNFS Presents: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Cultural Coffee Hour
Car-Free Day
Performance Conference
Audience Appeals and Performing Assistance Conference
Holi: The Indian Festival of Colors
Fri
18
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Bully Breed Awareness Walk
Spring Carnival 2015
Taste of Africa
GAYla Drag Show and Silent Auction
Sat
19
 
Sun
20
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Floral Sculpture
Pinterest Party #3
Mon
21
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Student Center "Farewell" Informational Fair
Tour de Downtown Art
Tue
22
LNFS Presents: Birdman
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Ping Pong Ball Drop
Shake the Stress Fest
Wed
23
LNFS Presents: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
LNFS Presents: The Avengers
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Wildcat Wrap-Up
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
Kentucky's Future - Plant a Tree in the Pennyrile region of the Walk Across Kentucky
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Batman
LNFS Presents: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Cultural Coffee Hour
Art in Bloom Weekend
Fri
25
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Network Publishing: Digital Writing in the Humanities
The Party for the Planet final event in April is Arbor Day at The Arboretum!
Art in Bloom Weekend
Art in Bloom Cocktail Party
Sat
26
Art in Bloom Weekend
Sun
27
Resumes & Cover Letters that Work
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Fuel for Finals
UK Ag Equine Programs Distinguished Lecture Series
Mon
28
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Job Club: How to Write the Perfect Resume and Cover Letter
How to Impress Your Boss: Employer Panel
Tue
29
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Appalachian Research Day
Wed
30
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Thu
 
 
Apr 21
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation 04/21/2015

Tue, 04/21/2015

Repeats every 0 months on the fourth Wednesday until Tue Jun 30 2015 .
Wed, 04/22/2015

Wed, 04/22/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Wed Mar 18 2015.
Wed, 04/22/2015

Repeats every week until Wed May 06 2015 except Wed Mar 18 2015.
Wed, 04/22/2015

Reset Page