An Archaoastronomical Approach to Roman Urbanism: Orientation of Roman Settlements Across the Empire

2018. English

Juan Antonio Belmonte (author)
The present work is the summary of an ambitious research on the orientation of Roman towns started few years ago and which has been the main topic of the PhD of the first author (Rodríguez-Antón, 2017). Through this work we try to identify if there exist specific patterns in the orientation of Roman towns and military settlements across the Roman Empire, and whether this can be explained by astronomy, as suggested in a number of ancient texts and latter discussed by contemporary scholars. In order to check if cosmology was present in the urban planning at Roman times we have analyzed the orientations of more than 250 Roman sites located in different regions, from the Roman West to the East. This is the largest dataset of this kind obtained so far. Our results present suggestive orientation patterns and point towards an astronomical intentionallity, maybe by the integration of important dates of Roman and pre-Roman calendars into the urban layout.
Archaeoastronomy. Orientations. Roman Empire. Roman architecture. Roman urbanism.
Journal or series
Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry
Volume 18 (4)
Pages 89-95