Archaeomorphological and Geological Studies on the Ancient Appian Way at the Aurunci Pass: Multidisciplinary Approaches for the Investigation of Ancient Quarries Siting and Exploitation.

Paola Carfora, Emiliano Di Luzio


An exploitation system of rock quarries was investigated along a tract of the ancient Appian Way extending between the modern villages of Itri and Fondi (central Italy). Three new quarries carved into carbonatic slopes were discovered through interpretation of aerial photography and photogrammetric restitution (this last still in progress) nearby a few extraction areas already acknowledged in previous works. Later, field surveys confirmed the anthropogenic nature of slope cuts as inferred from squared or rectangular morphological edges and evidence of regular tool-marks. Quarries location and exploitation techniques were analysed in relation to the archaeological requirements for the road construction and maintenance and also considering the geological setting of the area. In particular, it was demonstrated how geometric characteristics of rock masses – such as bedding and joint system spacing or intensity of brittle deformation – played a fundamental role in determining the kind of extracted material and use of different exploitation techniques. Indeed, cubic and pseudo-cubic rock blocks were extracted from quarries A and B during the Roman Age, as evidenced by peculiar tool-marks observed on the rock slope edges and tracing intersecting joint system. Quarry C was instead an open-pit derived from a cataclastic rock volume in the hanging-wall of a main normal fault and from which centimetres-sized debris were derived. The present study set the basis for a further analysis of the local exploitation system which may include other minor quarries used for road maintenance works and construction of other buildings.


Landscape Archaeology, Geomorphology, Quarry Exploitation, Ancient Appian Route, Italy

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Copyright (c) 2016 Paola Carfora, Emiliano Di Luzio

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LAC 2014 proceedings - ISBN 978-90-825296-0-9 - is an open access initiative supported by the University Library, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.