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The Roman maritime villas of southern Latium: construction, design and connection to the sea

Ferritto, R. (2019) The Roman maritime villas of southern Latium: construction, design and connection to the sea. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00085074


This thesis examines the developments in architecture and construction of the maritime villas of southern Latium and uses an interdisciplinary approach, combining information from archival research, field surveys, and historiographical information. The geographic area examined corresponds to the modern territories of Ardea, Anzio, Nettuno, Latina, Sabaudia, San Felice Circeo, Terracina, Fondi, Sperlonga, Itri, Formia, Gaeta, Minturno, the Pontine Islands, Mondragone, and Cellole, in which 109 maritime villa sites were identified. The chronological span of this study is the 2nd century BC to the 3rd century AD. The thesis argues that the early maritime villas were already located in close proximity to the shoreline and that their appearance and diffusion along the coasts of southern Latium preceded that on the Bay of Naples. Southern Latium emerges as the geographic area where the maritime villa architectural typology was perfected. This thesis also shows that, despite the incomplete documentation, an attentive analysis of the visible or known structures can still reveal architectural innovations considered experimental due to their early date and uniqueness. Finally, this thesis also considers the presence of production activities in which the villas were involved, with particular attention given to the marine fishponds. By using the 3-D models of several of these fishponds created for this thesis, approaches to quantifying the costs of labour for their construction and their potential production capacity have been suggested. The results suggest that these structures not only provided fresh fish for consumption within the villa, but probably also for sale at local markets.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Marzano, A.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Humanities
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities
ID Code:85074
Date on Title Page:2018

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