This projects investigates the Roman-period site of Podere Marzuolo in rural southern Tuscany, Italy. Using targeted excavation, spatial and scientific data analysis, 3D-modelling and material studies, this project aims to highlight the potential of the site to function as a paragon of the varied nature of Roman rural settlement.
Situated ca. 40km away from the coast and from the nearest urban settlement of Roselle, the site finds itself in a landscape populated by small-scale peasant activity sites. The site itself is of a type poorly documented to date for the Roman world: excavations reveal an original villa rustica that in the first half of the 1st century AD was repurposed as a craft production centre.
This second phase centres around a large complex (of which to date ca. 1500m2 has been excavated) that existed for only a few generations before it burnt down and was abandoned. The complex consists of a sequence of large cells dedicated to artisanal production, which opened onto a portico that may have flanked a central courtyard. Excavated features include a combined blacksmith and woodworking workshop (with all the original features and a complete set of tools and instruments preserved) and a storage room containing collapsed piles of ca. 400 vessels in terra sigillata, the iconic red-slipped tableware that was distributed throughout the Mediterranean during the Early Imperial period.