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British School at Rome
Country: Italy
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7 Projects, page 1 of 2
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/I004483/1
    Funder Contribution: 645,344 GBP

    The establishment of Portus, the maritime port of Imperial Rome, under Claudius and its enlargement Trajan, refocused Rome's economic and social relationship with its Mediterranean provinces. It helped ensure the centrality and dominance of Roman power at the City of Rome for over 500 years down to the late antique period. It is difficult, therefore, to over-estimate the significance of this port to our understanding of the Roman empire or, indeed, to the broader history of the Mediterranean. While the site of Portus has great archaeological potential, however, it has only recently begun to receive the scholarly attention that it merits, not least with the publication of Keay et al. 2005 and the AHRC-funded Portus Project (www.portusproject.org). Much however remains to be learned, not least in terms of the relationship of the port to Rome, how it functioned, the scale of commercial activity, and the nature of the community that lived and worked there.\n\nThis new project builds upon the results of the earlier project and has been designed to address key questions about the roles that Portus played in Rome's relationship with the Mediterranean between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. It represents a continuation of successful and longstanding collaborations between the Universities of Southampton and Cambridge, the British School at Rome, and the Italian authorities. Its first aim is to undertake limited excavation and geophysical survey to complete our understanding of a group of seven major buildings that were focused upon the 'Imperial Palace', an enigmatic complex at the centre of the port. Attention is first directed towards using these as the basis for understanding the scale of imperial investment in Rome's port infrastructure at Portus, Civitavecchia and the City itself. Their appearance, functions and relationships to the harbour basins and the rest of the port infrastructure are then studied with a view to making a contribution to our understanding of how the port complex worked as a whole, drawing upon a programme of innovative computer visualization. Computer simulations of the capacity of the harbour basins for handling and berthing ships and boats will also be used to address research questions about changing scales of commerce at the port; this will be complemented by an analysis of finds from four of the buildings excavated in the course of the Portus Project which will characterize the geographical origins of the ceramics, marble and environmental material passing between Rome and the Mediterranean through Portus. Furthermore a re-analysis of earlier geophysical results will be used to define areas of residential settlement in the port, while an innovative isotope analysis of human bone, food remains and ceramic food containers will be used to establish a 'food-web' and help characterize ethnic and social differentiation amongst its inhabitants. Since most of the data has already been collected much of this work will be undertaken over a period of two years, with a third reserved for bringing the results to publication. The results will be diffused by means of a project web site, the ADS, several monographs and a popular book that, in the context of a clear strategy, will achieve a very high international impact at both the scholarly and popular levels. The research will assist in the career development of several young archaeologists through involvement in a major international research project.\n

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/S003231/1
    Funder Contribution: 35,575 GBP

    The network examines the key question of academic responsibility and action in times of crises, focusing its enquiry particularly on the scholarly use of image-led practices to comment and shape political reality. Central to this enquiry is a unique engagement with the little-explored material archive of British Art and the Mediterranean (BAM), a photographic exhibition curated by Fritz Saxl and Rudolf Wittkower in England in 1941, which asserted Britain's cultural connections with Europe. The network brings together artists, historians, media theorists, curators, journalists, photographers and activists to reactivate this unique archival resource and to make it accessible following the methodology of the digital humanities. BAM was organised by the Warburg Institute and leveraged a European history of art through new media, namely photographic reproductions of historical artworks. It expressed ideas of cultural continuities between Britain and Europe at a critical time of conflict. Consisting of 500 photographs, the exhibition was representative of the new art-historical approach imported from Germany via the Warburg Institute, namely an image-driven enquiry about cultural transmission. The exhibition was shown in London and in 20 other cities around Britain, taking its educatory ideas to as wide an audience as possible. Thus, foreign academic expertise converted into a highly successful enterprise with no compromise in its standards, due to the support of British institutions (CEMA) and key public figures, including the art historian, museum director and broadcaster, Kenneth Clark. Re-evaluation of BAM as a paradigm of scholarly engagement is critical in today's European political climate. The curators took action on the basis of their research in a time of crisis, widespread nationalism and populism. That BAM's curators were refugee scholars in Britain is all the more relevant today, opening an exploration of the migration of knowledge which will be investigated in two ways: as an object of historical study and as a barometer of how politics have impacted on the movement of scholars, particularly in the 20th century. What examination of this rich archive offers the network is the opportunity for concrete analysis of an historical example of scholars engaging with the crisis of their time, which opens up space to discuss and challenge narratives of national histories and questions of academic action and responsibility. Using the untapped BAM archive (photographs, glass slides, floor guides, correspondence) the network has four key objectives: 1. To address themes of academic responsibility and action, migration of knowledge and intellectual history, technologies of reproduction and dissemination, image-led practices and academic impact, and archives of conflict. 2. To reactivate and document a historical source using digital interfaces: website, social media, video-streams 3. To enable critical engagement with the future of academic action and responsibility in a conference, focusing on interactions between scholars and a general public, and so facilitate a two-way knowledge exchange that engages with the archive material. 4. To present three public-facing events in London (WI), Munich (ZI) and Rome (BSR) in the form of partial displays (exhibitions), workshop, study day and a conference. The network will capitalise on the combined expertise and experience of PI, Co-I and Project Partner networks, which target different disciplines, interests and audiences. To address its objectives, it will network significant academics and professionals from the Arts and Humanities as well as a wider public through its public-facing activities and meetings. The mutual work enabled by the network and its activities during its lifetime will feed into a long-term objective: scoping funding towards a touring exhibition in the UK and Europe, and wider media engagement, involving further research applications.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 835271
    Overall Budget: 2,425,690 EURFunder Contribution: 2,425,680 EUR

    This project revolutionises our understanding of Rome and its place in cultural change across the Mediterranean World by mapping political, military and religious changes to the Eastern Caelian from the first to eighth centuries. The programme offers multiple gains for archaeologists, historians, topographers and geographers by documenting both the mundane and monumental elements of the city fabric in chronological, geographical and ideological relationship to one another. From the extravagant horti, the houses of elite families, through successive imperial palaces to the seat of papal governance the area’s architecture embodied changing expressions of political power. From the early military stations, through the grandeur of the barracks of the emperor’s horse guards, to the building and rebuilding of the Aurelian Walls, it reveals notions about the intersection of security and military power. From the shrines of the early empire to the world’s first Cathedral, it attests successive religious regenerations. RomeTrans has three objectives: first, it determines the appearance of the buildings that drove these changes, producing academically robust visualisations, appropriately contextualised. Second, it brings these elements together to model the five transformations that saw the Eastern Caelian reshaped to meet the needs of shifting political, military and religious ideas. Third, it provides a longer-term interdisciplinary perspective on the changing shape of this pivotal area than any previously attempted. All this requires a survey of unprecedented scale and sophistication, demanding a new methodology for complex urban areas capable of transforming research in historic towns worldwide. Integrating documentary sources, architectural analysis, investigation of 11 sub-surface excavated areas with the largest geo-radar and laser scanning surveys ever conducted in Rome, the project transforms our approach to the city and its relationship to the wider world.

  • Funder: SNSF Project Code: 195085
    Funder Contribution: 75,177
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/J011703/1
    Funder Contribution: 31,953 GBP

    Walter Benjamin's last uncompleted work, The Arcades Project, employs nineteenth-century Paris as a paradigmatic model to understand the shocking experience of modernity. Benjamin considers Haussmann's radical transformation of the French capital's cityscape in the 1850s and 1860s as the equivalent of a psychical shock, and thus mirrored in Baudelaire's oeuvre. Our project revisits Benjamin's approach in order to reflect on the cultural implications of Rome's modernisation. First, Rome's singularity is gathered together by its status as symbolic city for several traditions (classical, Christian, Italian). Second, unlike Paris, Rome's confrontation with modernity is not sudden but progressive: beginning with the aftermath of Rome's centrality to the new national state, it witnesses a significant acceleration with the violent Fascist reconfiguration of the cityscape in the 1930s, and continues in successive post-war decades through a process that is described, among others, by Pier Paolo Pasolini. By gathering scholars from different fields of expertise (literary and film studies, philosophy, history, art history and visual culture, gender and postcolonial studies, architecture, urban studies, psychoanalysis, cultural theory), our project moves within a quintessentially inter-/multidisciplinary perspective to reassess traditional studies on Rome in the light of contemporary theory. Whereas existing scholarship stresses Rome's antiquity and its mythical imaginary (for bibliographical references see the Case for Support), analysing its confrontation with modernity as a linear chronological movement and as a process of loss of previous alleged identities, our project aims to investigate the city as a field of tensions, where verticality is privileged over horizontality, synchrony over diachrony, plurality and multiculturalism over fixed identities, and rhizomatous structures over linearity. The concepts guiding our project (Multistability, Trauma and Shock, Modernity and Post-modernity, Fragment, Survival, Synchrony, Anachronism, the Uncanny) should encourage an innovative and challenging analysis of the theme, by emphasising interchange between historical and documentary approaches (CROMA and the National Archive at Rome) to theoretical ones (BSR, ICI). By exploring ways of narrating, portraying and displaying Rome's plural legacies and frequent metamorphoses, the network also aims to develop new conceptual tools of relevance for scholars, professionals, artists and institutions engaged in the preservation and interrogation of cultural heritage, museum studies and the reconfiguration and further development of urban spaces. Located across two academic institutions (Warwick and UCL), the network directly arises from the research interests of the P.I. and the Co-I., who both continue to extend the field of Italian Studies by the engagement with interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives, and from international academic and non-academic partnerships throughout the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany (ICI Berlin, British School at Rome, the Rome National Archive and the CROMA). All research events will be public and several formats will be adopted (conferences, workshops, seminars, exhibitions, roundtables and film screenings specifically tailored for non-specialised audiences). Dissemination will involve several media, among which we can foresee two co-edited books, two monographic issues of refereed journals and a multimedia blog.

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