Beatrice Fochetti, The Insula XXXI and the Falerii Novi Project

Beatrice Fochetti, The Insula XXXI and the Falerii Novi Project

The West Gate at Falerii Novi. Photo credit: Beatrice Fochetti.
The West Gate at Falerii Novi. Photo credit: Beatrice Fochetti.

Dr Beatrice Fochetti has recently been named a Research Fellow at the BSR. Her project, ‘Archaeological research on the central area of Falerii Novi and the monumental architecture of insula XXXI’, is made possible by a formal collaboration between the BSR and the Università degli Studi di Firenze and aligns simultaneously with the BSR’s new major excavations at the site of Falerii Novi (Latium).

Here, we introduce Beatrice and her research, which is part of the broader ‘Falerii Novi Project‘: an international excavation and research collaboration between the BSR and the Universities of Harvard, Toronto and Ghent, and authorized by the Italian Ministry of Culture and Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Provincia di Viterbo e l’Etruria Meridionale.

The West Gate at Falerii Novi. Photo credit: Beatrice Fochetti.
Insula XXXI. Photo credit: Beatrice Fochetti.

Falerii Novi is a Roman town in South Etruria, located about 50 km north of Rome, in the volcanic area west of the Tiber Valley. According to the sources, it was founded by Rome in 241 BC in the Faliscan territory. The walled city, with an area of 30.5 ha, remains buried.

Insula XXXI is located in the central area of the city of Falerii Novi, next to the western flank of the hypothesised Forum. Partially excavated from 1969-75, its architectural remains are, together with the dramatic city walls, the only visible traces of the buried Roman town within the walled area. Little is known about this insula. The 1969-75 excavations were concentrated on its eastern-half, revealing a multiphase monumental structure at the crossroads of the decumanus maximus and the main north-south road, the Via Amerina. It is built mostly with opus quadratum, though was heavily spoliated during the post-Roman phases.

By systematically analysing both the excavated and non-excavated areas of insula XXXI, these new investigations will provide information on the urban development of Falerii Novi’s central area. The research adopts an interdisciplinary approach, combining traditional methodologies (i.e. excavation data and archival research), with the most modern methodologies applied to topographical studies, including 3D laser scanning, Ground-Penetrating Radar analysis and drone mapping.


Beatrice Fochetti. Photo credit: Niccolò Mugnai 

Dr Beatrice Fochetti is a Roman archaeologist, specialized in ancient topography, urbanism and Roman architecture. Currently she is a postdoctoral research fellow and honorary fellow in Ancient Topography at the University of Florence. Dr Fochetti has an Italian-German academic background: trained at the Universities of Viterbo, Tübingen and Berlin, she holds a binational Ph.D. from the Universities of Pisa and Cologne. Her Ph.D. research focused on the city of Ostia, where she investigated tabernae and the commercial architecture in light of the city’s 2nd century AD urban transformation. She previously worked on several excavations and international research projects in Italy (Rome, Ostia, Aquinum, Norba, Ferento, Falerii Novi and other sites in South Etruria, Marche, Molise), Germany (Berlin), Turkey (Carian Iasos). In Rome, she is part of the ERC-funded ‘Rome Transformed’ project, investigating the large-scale topographical transformation of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and the Caelian region. Since 2020, she has been a member of the Italian association of academic researchers for Ancient Topography. Dr Fochetti joined the ‘Falerii Novi Project’ in 2021 as Research Assistant of the University of Toronto, and will continue collaborative work on-site through this new project at insula XXXI.

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