Digging into archives for reconstructing the Roman Circus of Milan

In the framework of WP3, the Politecnico di Milano unit collected several historical texts, old maps, drawings and images concerning the Roman Circus, located on the south-west area of the modern city and revealing a stratigraphy that goes from the early roman period to modern times.

Useful pieces of information were acquired regarding the previous studies of the archaeological remains and the excavations that allowed revealing the ruins of the structure.  The bibliographic research focused on different publication about the study of the ancient topography of the roman city and the analysis of all the material information about the circus. All the drawings of the archaeological campaigns were collected with all the written documentation (where available). After the WWII, the reconstruction of the city started and in this phase, during the excavations, many archaeological remains were found and sometimes used as foundations for the new buildings.

Another field of interest was the investigation of all the publication regarding circuses built in the same period of the one in Milan in other countries in order to collect as much details as possible to reconstruct the circus, since the archaeological remains of this circus are few and hidden. The bibliographic research considered also an overview analysis of the topography of the surrounding (the imperial palace and the ancient domus) in order to better understand the location of the buildings and to analyse in deepen the techniques used for constructing the circus.

Finally, about 60 city maps, representing various historical periods from the Renaissance to the present days, were collected from the Civica Raccolta delle Stampe Achille Bertarelli, and the analysed for the investigation of the changing of the city during the last centuries.

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Milan perspective map – 1573 Antoine du Pérac Lafrery

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