All posts by Gabriele Guidi

Archaeological remains of the circus on the modern topography of Milan

In the frame of the WP3, the Politecnico di Milano unit worked capillarly, in connection with the inspectors of the Superintendence of Milan,  on the collection of all the street numbers of the actual buildings in which basements are still visible the remains. Starting from the analysis of the circus plan provided by the work of De Capitani D’Arzago, it was started a work of the identification of the accurate position of all the documented remains.

Analysing all the material stored in the Archives of the Superintendence, all the restrictions of the cadastral units interested by archaeological findings were specified but, given the period in which these restrictions were defined, most of them are brief and unclear. Hence, it took a long search and archival investigation to identify the single structures, their position and their extension.vincoli

Map of the arcaheological remains regarding the roman circus of Milan

Collection of archival images of the Circus of Milan

In the frame of the WP3 of the CHT2 project, the Politecnico di Milano unit proceed on  the inventory and the selection of all the photographs stored in the Archives of the Superintendence in Milan, for the 4D reconstruction of the roman Circus of Milan.

During the excavation occurred along with the reconstruction of the city after the end of the WWII, the archaeological documentation regarded written texts, drawing and pictures, taken from different points of view or in different phases during the excavation.  This selection regards artefacts visible during construction projects (e.g. the metro, new
skyscrapers) or inspections of the superintendent.

This material has a valuable importance for the 4D reconstruction of the roman circus, because permits to obtain information on archaeological remains that now are no longer visible.a012828

Example of one pictures collected, regarding the excavation of the area and the finding of the archaeological remains.

Second CHT2 Meeting

The CHT2 project has met today in Prague, in the framework of the ISPRS world conference (, for a semestral update about the various activities.
WP2 has been concluded with the production of a methodology that covers all the 4D cases considered in the framework of this project. Either the analysis on time-varying data collected by 3D technologies (e.g. photogrammetry, laser scanning) or data collected by historical documents are considered.

The work is now proceeding with its operating activities about data collection on the 4 different historical sites considered: The walls of Avila (Spain), The Cracow fortress (Poland), The Adrian Wall (UK) and the Roman circus of Milan (Italy).

The actual individual at the meeting were: Jon Mills and Karolina Fieber from Newcastle University (NCL); Diego Gonzàles Aguilera and Pablo Rodríguez Gonzálvez from University of Salamanca (USAL); Beata Hejmanowska form Scientific Stanisław Staszic Association (SSSA); Gabriele Guidi and Sara Gonizzi Barsanti from Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI).

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.


Milan perspective map – 1573 Antoine du Pérac Lafrery