Using GIS technology and accepted scholarly methods, this multi-disciplinary project intends to create a layered history of Rome by updating Forma Urbis Romae, the cartographic masterpiece of ancient Roman topography published in 1901 by archeologist Rodolfo Lanciani. This extremely accurate map measures 25 by 17 ft and uses an innovative graphic system that represents Rome’s historic urban fabric as a series of transparent layers from ancient to modern. The map remains the standard archeological reference for Rome even though it does not incorporate archeological discoveries uncovered since its original publication 100 years ago.
The end result will highlight the continuity between ancient and modern and reveal how ancient buildings shape subsequent urban form. It will also show the evolution of the archaic city of the hills into the Renaissance city of the flood plain and then the merging of the two into modern urban form. While classicists would find recent scholarship of ancient Rome, anthropologists and urbanists would learn more about the physical transformations of a vibrant city. On the other hand geographers would witness the application of a new tool for describing and assessing the development of the largest city of the ancient world.
Stanford Spatial History Project: http://web.stanford.edu/group/spatialhistory/cgi-bin/site/index.php