Associate 1998-99

Eric R. Hostetter

Art History

Excavations on the Palatine Hill: Final Solution

The excavations (1988-96) directed by Professor Hostetter on the northeast slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome revealed a complex stratigraphic sequence that documents a series of varied events ranging from roughly the fourth century B.C. through the Renaissance. Mid-Republican structures in ashlar masonry are superseded by a series of aristocratic houses and a previously unknown monumental porticoed building that may have formed the backdrop for a pre-Claudian temple. In the mid-first century A.D., vestiges of Nero’s Golden House appear throughout this area, the remains of which were subsequently razed or reworked by the emperor Vespasian in his reorganization of the cityscape. In the late second century, what may have been an insula, or apartment house, incorporated previous structures and is, in turn, succeeded by an extensive late Roman domus with a formal reception hall. Parts of this domus are suppressed around A.D. 300, while others continue in use into the early medieval period. Final abandonment appears to be complete by the fifteenth century, when the slope is given over to orchards and vineyards. During his tenure with the Center for Advanced Study, Professor Hostetter will conduct research and editing in Rome for the final report on this project, which will situate all these events within the historical, social, and economic context of Rome and the empire. The results will be published by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma as three volumes of Bollettino di Archeologia.