Excavations of the Roman Baths at Carsulae
June 16 - July 27, 2013
Director: Jane K. Whitehead, Valdosta State University
The Site and Town:
The Roman city of Carsulae is now an archaeological park. The ruins were excavated and partially reconstructed by Italian archaeologist Umberto Ciotti from 1950 - 1970. The forum can be seen below, note the arched entrance on the left and foundations of the twin temples on the right.
The Arch of San Damiano, the northern gate to the ancient city, is often used as the symbol for Carsulae.
Carsulae is located along the ancient via Flaminia, a major road that led from Rome to the Adriatic Coast at Rimini (ancient Ariminum). Below is the section of the road leading to the Arch of San Damiano.
The archaeological park includes a museum with a cafe (below, right). The Church of San Damiano (left) is the only Medieval building at Carsulae. The church was built into the foundations of a Roman macellum, or meat market.
The baths are located in the southwest corner of the archaeological park, downhill from central Carsulae. Students excavating the much disturbed mosaic floor of the central room of the baths (below left). Dr. Whitehead working with a student taking measurements in order to draw a plan of the unit (below right).
Recent excavations have focused on the southwest corner of the baths where the drain of the bath has been located. The drain can be seen below the soldiers, the vertically placed bricks, in the exterior of the south wall.
Below is a photo of the mosaic floors from the southwest section of the main rectangular room of the baths. In the foreground is a large section of mosaic with a striped pattern of white and pink tesserae. To the right are two reconstructed pilae (stacks of terracotta tiles) which would have supported the floor while allowing heat to pass under it.
We stay in the town of San Gemini, near the city of Terni in southern Umbria. San Gemini is 5 km from Carsulae. The modern
Palazzo Comunale, or town hall, dominates the Piazza San Francesco, where a favorite hangout, the Bar Centrale is located. The town extends up a steep hill behind the piazza.
The Palazzo Vecchio, the former town hall, is an example of beautiful Medieval art and architecture. It was constructed in part with reused ancient building materials. Other examples of reuse are visible throughout San Gemini.
One of the many wonderful local cultural events is the Infioriata di San Gemini, a festival celebrated on Corpus Domini. The local townspeople spend the night before laying down complex and beautiful images on the city streets made entirely from flower petals and seeds. There is a procession through town, and the images are removed the next day.