Duke University and FLR for Project Vulci 3000


The Fondazione Luigi Rovati has been collaborating with Duke University for the Project Vulci 3000. The project is focused on the study and interpretation of urban transformations in the transition between Etruscan and Roman cities, their public spaces, and specifically on the unique case study of Vulci (Viterbo, Italy), a still intact and non-investigated archaeological deposit with over 1,500 years of continuous occupation.

Today the use of advanced technology makes it possible to digitally reconstruct the ancient roadway system, with results that fascinate even by those outside the field. The objectives for the next three years include mapping and developing 3D models of the excavated area and making them available to an international public. Water is the central focus of the digs, as wells, cisterns and complex supply networks characterise both the Etruscan and Roman periods, in a complicated design still to be uncovered in its entirety.


The digs in Vulci, an archaeological basin of great interest, have thrown light on the area’s evolution, especially with regard to urban development and transformation, cultural identity, public and private spaces and production techniques.


In four years, Duke University’s international group, led by Maurizio Forte, has uncovered a network of underground tunnels dug into the tufa stone, all of which appear to flow into a specific subterranean area. Indeed, the water-supply system was most likely designed to filter the water flowing from north to south, plus all the other channels, pointing to a network of collection and redistribution similar to the centralised, publicly managed infrastructures of modern cities.


The digs at Vulci also mark an initial experiment in hybrid application of archaeology and neuroscience, with the excavation work including experimentation with techniques of eye-tracking and EEG (electroencephalograms) on groups of archaeologists and non-archaeologists, for the purpose of studying perception, interpretation and learning during an archaeological dig.


For full details, see the official site of the Vulci 3000 Project