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Bisenzio: Multi-Disciplinary Research on a major Etruscan centre from the Late Bronze Age to the Archaic Period (DFG)

The project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft-DFG (2015-2017) and a collaboration with the the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz- RGZM (Prof. Markus Egg, Dr. Andrea Babbi) and the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Prof. Christopher Pare). The LBI ArchPro leads the geophysical prospection in the project with the goal to map over one square kilometre of the area within three years. 

Bisenzio is located on the southern shore of Lago di Bolsena in Lazio, Italy, and is famous for the rich Etruscan burial finds from Olmo Bello cemetery and other grave fields. During the project the LBI ArchPro will be conducting large-scale high-resolution GPR surveys in search of buried traces of the Etruscan settlement of Bisenzio; previous fieldwalking surveys have indicated Protohistorical and Etruscan settlement remains surrounding the hill Monte Bisenzio. The geophysical prospection survey is followed by detailed fieldwalking surveys of a team from Mainz University coordinated by Prof. Pare and Dr. Babbi. Additionally, Dr. Babbi is conducting detailed studies of the Olmo Bello cemetery as well as of the Bronze Age evidence from the fieldwalking surveys.

The first project geophysical campaign headed by the LBI ArchPro was conducted between 5th and 26th July 2015 (Fig. 27). The research area was prospected with motorized georadar systems producing a total coverage of about 42 hectares.

A more detailed description of the research project can be found here (links to the RGZM-website of the project).


Figure 1: Monte Bisenzio with harvested fields and olive groves.

Figure 2: Roland Filzwieser mapping Etruscan remains with the 6-channel SPIDAR array GPR system with the surface of Lago di Bolsena gleaming in the background.

Figure 3: Starting the high-resolution survey with the 16-channel MALÅ Imaging Radar Array at dawn.

all photos ©Geert Verhoeven/LBI ArchPro