The meeting was initiated with greetings and small talk about the Easter holidays.
The first point on the agenda was a presentation held by Prof. Dr. Axel Gering. He presented some new discoveries from the Archivio Fotografico, which he had incoporated into our Forum plans. This involved a conversation on ancient sidewalks and precinct of sanctuaries.
This was followed by a short presentation from Daniel Damgaard, who was tasked with analysing older architectural terracotta finds from excavations conducted by Dante Vaglieri on the northeastern portico, MFE, in 1913. Comparanda from the Vatican Museums and inside Ostia itself was presented.
A conversation in plenum on sacrifices and written sources emerged, due to the themes of the two presentations. It was discussed how and if the written sources could be used as evidence for the sacrificial praxis, when comparing it to the actual archaeological evidence.
Niccolò Daviddi, Theme 3, followed up by presenting some new ideas and discoveries from the southwestern part of the Forum and the room TDV. As in earlier presentations, this one also involved stratigraphy, destruction layers and floors. However, the room does also offer perfect contexts for anaylsing several centuries of urban development in that area.
Prof. Dr. Axel Gering had also prepared a second presentation on the possibility of creating a 3D-model of a sanctuary in different phases.
This was quite logical followed up by Steven Götz, where he presented the final results of his 3D-models of the two Late Republican temples preserved beneath the Hadrianic Forum.
We ended the meeting with a conversation on the entire situation concerning Covid-19. At the moment, the Graduate College is scattered around Europe, with its members being in Germany, France, Italy and Denmark.
The meeting was initiated with a presentation by Johannes Trockels, Theme 1. He presented the excavation history of the Capitolium and its surroundings, but with a focal point on old drawings from the 19th century attempting to re-create the status of the earlier excavations, but also to obtain an overview of the status in the area in general. It was clear that Ostia had been used as a marble quarry, due to the vast amount of marbles utilised in the city during a period of five centuries. It also became clear that columns used in the monumental centre (the Castrum area) were scattered around the fields surrounding the Capitolium - also in the 18th and 19th centuries before excavation. This was combined with photographs from the excavations conducted in the 1920's, where it could be seen that columns were lying around as well. This led to the last part of the presentation, which was on the Hadrianic levels of the centre and possible architectural elements stemming from the Capitolium. The presentation was followed by a discussion on lime-kilns and if the columns from the 1920's still was in situ on the photographs. A master student working for the Ostia-Forum-Project (OFP), Steven Götz was also attending, and he recommended a programme through which it is possible to generate the colours of the black and white photographs. This could be an interesting tool, since it would be possible to distinguish the colours of the stratigraphical layers on the old photographs.
The second presentation was held by Steven Götz. His presentation was short, but important. He presented his newest work, where he has created 3D models of temples in the Forum's area. His reconstructions are based on the archaeological remains still present in situ and on the work conducted by OFP.
The last presentation for the day was conducted by Prof. Dr. Axel Gering. It was a short presentation, where the six ph.d. candidates were introdcued to the newest plans including old drawings and plans. The purpose of this was to show that the 3D models and aerial photogtaphs conducted by OFP do not always correspond with the old drawings and plans. This is, however, explained by the fact that most drawings and plans were made by hand, and to do precise drawings of large areas by hand can be difficult. Furthermore, not everything in a hand-drawn plan was measured, but inserted stilistically, which explains the deviations.
Normally, we have a meeting every two weeks, but since we are all working intensively at the moment, we decided to have a meeting already three days after last meeting, because Jesper Vestergaard Jensen and Daniel Damgaard, Themes 5 and 6 respectively, had some results that they wanted to share.
Jesper presented some fragments, which could have been part of a clipeus. The following discussion was about the original context of these fragments. This is indeed a difficult task, since the fragments were found in a marble deposit comprising more than 8 tons of marble fragments, and due to the fact that many Imperial structures in and around Forum are not existing anymore. Furthermore, a certain part of the marble fragments from the deposit has original contexts throughout the city, which thus could indicate the this specific clipeus does not have an original context in the Forum.
The second and last presentation was about the development of the southern Forum's plaza up until the first Forum of Ostia. All the walls preserved under the plaza were put into phases and relations to each other. This was followed by a discussion on possible strata in relations to the vast amount of walls, and it was suggested to create a section of the walls where this would be possible.
As usual, the meeting was initiated with a short discussion in plneum about the individual projects and their processes. This discussion involved discussions on themes such as stratigraphy, archive photos and coins.
In continuations to this, Sophie Menge and Trine Bak Pedersen - respectively Themes 2 and 4 - presented a finds list containing different objects excavated by Dante Vaglieri, the first director of Ostia Antica, in 1913, where they conducted deep excavations in the northeastern portico, MFE. This was followed by long discussion about the siginficance of these finds and their context. The struggle working with the excavation diaries (Giornale degli Scavi) is that the finds are accompanied by a short discription and the contexts are defined as strata, being layers on top of each other, but no further context description is unfortunately provided. However, it is possible to obtain an overview of the relative chronology, but since it is evident that there is more than 300 years of building activity in that portico and in the rooms behind (TFR 1-3), it is difficult to insert them into more specific contexts. This led to a talk about temple terracottas, sanctuaries, altars and temenoi.
This was followed by a short presentation by Prof. Dr. Axel Gering regarding his newest research on the stratigraphy directly in front of and south of the portico MFE. His discoveries and observations were held up against the different strata from both the portico MFE and the rooms TFR 1 and 2.
The last item on the agenda was a presentation by Niccolò Daviddi, Theme 3, in which he presented his newest research concerning the late antique room TDV. The development of the room was presented as well as the different destruction layers with defining coin contexts. Due to the strata of finds inside the room, a conversation of the sequence of the collapsed ceilings were held.
The meeting was ended with some final remarks on the agenda for the next meeting.
The meeting was initiated with a discussion in plenum regarding metal objects from the excavations conducted by the Ostia-Forum-Project. Due to their importance for our research, it was decided that a complete list was to be made (A little section regarding the significance of these objects can be found here). This discussion led to a discussion of the stratigraphy and the stratigraphical outcome of rooms TFR_1 and TFR_2. The last room, TFR_3, located just east of TFR_2, was also discussed. An introduction to the excavations, which were initiated in 2016, can be found here.
The next item on the agenda was a presentation by Prof. Dr. Axel Gering. He presented some new ideas concerning the grid of the Castrum and the following Late Republican period of Ostia, where Osta no longer served as a military fort, but instead was a colony and city. Since the focus of Prof. Dr. Axel Gering is the northern half of the Forums's area, it was decided that all doctoral students would gather all the information on levels, they could find within their respective projects and thus bring all levels together to gain a complete overview of the levels of the monumental centre of Ostia.
Since most of the projects of the Ostia Graduiertenkolleg are dealing with archaeological finds from the excavations conducted by the Ostia-Forum-Project, these finds are not officially recorded anywhere except within the Ostia-Forum-Project. This is also one of the reasons for creating the Graduiertenkolleg - to be able to publish the vast amount of interesting objects. Since we are working within the Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica, we are also working closely with the officials working there, which is why it was decided to send a list with the most important finds to the responsible director.
The meeting was initiated with a discussion in plenum regarding the process of the different topics. Questions could be asked and most of them were answered successfully from other doctoral candidates as well as Prof. Dr. Axel Gering.
After the discussion, Prof. Dr. Axel Gering held a presentation regarding his own research on the northern half of the Forum of Ostia. The doctoral candidates were introduced to the status quo of his research enabling the students to gain an overview and enabling them to incoporate it into their own research if necessary.
Another short presentation was held by Sophie Menge regarding Theme 2. She presented parts of her new research, in which the Giornale degli Scavi were incorporated in connection with the excavation results from the Ostia Forum Project.
The first meeting in 2021 was held January 26. Not much was planned for this meeting, except listening and responding to each others questions regarding the individual processes. Since the presentations in December 2020, the doctoral candidates have worked with the feedback received after the presentations and incorporated this into the research.
Additional items on the agenda involved the working on the Giornale degli Scavi and how to relate the information from the earlier excavations with our excavations. It was encouraged that all six doctoral candidates made use of the Giornale degli Scavi.
The Graduate College decided to have three meetings in December 2020, where the six ph.d. candidates would present the present status of their projects. Due to the ungoing pandemic, the meetings were still conducted via Zoom.
The meetings were held on December 2, 9 and 16. In the first meeting, December 2, themes 2 and 3 were presented. In the second meeting, December 9, themes 1 and 5 were presented along with a third presentation regarding a 3D model of a temple. The last meeting, December 16, three presentations were held. Themes 4 and 6 were presented together with a presentation from Prof. Dr. Axel Gering.
In December, we also published our first interim reports, in which you will find the preliminary results and preliminary theories and hypotheses. They can be found under each Theme.
Our third Skype meeting had two main points on the agenda. Firstly, we discussed the situation in regards to the possibility of a forthcoming campaign in Ostia. It is vital for the different projects to be able to analyse and photograph the material as soon as possible, since our first planned campaign was cut short in March due to the Covid-19 crisis. Secondly, we talked about the policies from the different countries regarding foreign travels and how and when it would be possible to gather the research group in Berlin. We decided that it could be a possibilty in early July, but we did not settle on a date.
The possible forthcoming campaign will then be discussed in Berlin.
Our second meeting during this crisis period was on Thursday May 7. The main prupose of this meeting was to discuss how a database should be laid out and to find out what kind of information we need in the database. We settled on different possibilities, since we, as a group, are dealing with pottery, coins, marble fragments and buildings, which require different types of information. The database therefore require a wide range of different information, which also has to be cross-referenced and contextualised. We all came up with our ideas and settled on some specific types of information. We have now tasked an affiliated professional with the purpose of producing the database and are awaiting the result.
Other topics, such as the current situation, were also discussed, and the situation in the four countries, Germany, France, Italy and Denmark was compared, since we are all dependent on the borders opening and making it possible to travel again.
Due to the current health crisis, the members of the Graduiertenkolleg is spread out in four different countries with two in Germany, one in France, one in Italy and three in Denmark. This has entailed that the first official meeting of the College had to be organised through Skype. Thus, we had our first meeting Wednesday April 15.
The meeting was not prepared beforehand as such, but the members prepared some questions, which could be discussed in plenum. The discussions involved ideas of an online database as well as exchanging literature. Next to the project-relevant discussions, the entire situation was discussed and the situation in the four countries was compared.
Another Skype meeting has been planned in two weeks without being settled on a specific date. The six doctoral students were tasked with coming up with ideas for the database as well as providing literature in the common Dropbox folder. Next to these tasks, it was recommended to advance the individual reading processes. It is indeed a bit difficult without access to libraries, but websites such as Jstor has opened up for a lot of their literature. It was thus recommended to browse through that website along with other literature based websites.