This project aims to reconstruct the social and economic life of the whole city, reading through the archaeological view all the data coming from different disciplines which could contribute to create a comparative picture. In the latest years the project has been using different specializations which are gradually enriching themselves, the dialogue with one another happens both through archaeological investigations in different and strategic areas of the city and through studies aimed at the identification of interdisciplinary synthesis topics. In particular the work processes on social class and its implications in the state of population¿s health be analysed, also in relation to genders and different ages; places, work tools and their topographic
articulation; the production chains in the relationship between literary sources and archaeological data.
Strategic city's neighborhoods will be investigated in order to understand the social realities, anthropological and molecular analysis will be conducted for the understanding of some aspects like dietary habits and a first organization of family DNA sequencing to point out any ties of relationship. Some different documentary methods will be tested, aiming at rebuilding the original city planning and landscape around the Cencelle¿s town. Meanwhile the wall restoration will also proceed and the site's conservative procedures will be tested.
As a part of the project, techniques and technologies, that are only rarely employed in archaeology, will be experimented, to test their efficiency and/or to start creating effective databases:
- As regards the documentation of the city urban fabric, the project also foresees the development and tasting of an airborne laser scanner, curated by Marco Balsi and his work group of the Department of Information, Engineering and Telecommunications (DIET) of Sapienza. The tool will be able to get three-dimensional, geometric and morphometric information on small territorial extensions, returning a detailed point cloud aimed at creating a complete mesh of the hill where the site is located. The data acquired from the use of the laser instrument will be integrated with those derived from the use of an airborne thermal imaging camera. The use of thermal imaging cameras to support archaeological research is still little known, as most of the experiments in the architectural field. The thermal imaging camera is able to measure the absolute temperature value of each point of the image. Different materials, depending on the degree of exposure that they had in the light, will record different temperatures allowing, indirectly, to classify each element recorded by the chamber in the subsoil not yet affected by archaeological investigations.
- The available anthropological data on a large skeletal sample (N=877) constitutes a starting point for a more in-deep investigation on the dynamics and the lifestyle of the Medieval population of Leopoli-Cencelle. This skeletal series represents an outstanding model to gaining knowledge on the long-term evolution of the Medieval period in Italy through a multidisciplinary approach combining skeletal biology, stable isotope analysis from bone proteins, ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis and metagenomic analysis from dental calculus focusing on the mortality patterns, the epidemiological regime, the prevalence of diseases as well as dietary and medicinal habits. The paleopathological data will be necessary to evaluate the prevalence of diseases and disorders as well as gender differences. First of all the morphological examination will be extended to those individuals that have not been analyzed yet in order to assess the presence of potential pathological alterations, moreover ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis could be performed on pathological individual in order to achieve a differential diagnosis. In addition to all that, non-specific stress markers could provide useful data concerning general wealth, nutritional status social structure, and population dynamic. In this scenario dietary pattern reconstruction represents an important issue as food consumption has a significant influence on human behavior and has been interlinked with major changes in human history and ecological conditions. Past dietary habits could be reconstructed by carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis from bone proteins that provide a direct measure of an individual¿s diet as well as by the metagenomics analysis of dental calculus that allows exploring broad aspects of past human diet and health. This cutting edge technology, in fact will provide a new instrument to investigate and understand the microscopic world associated with the human body, providing insight into the evolution, movement and demise of ancient societies, enhancing the comprehension of the impact of bacterial evolution as well as how cultural, social, and environmental changes influenced human health and behavior.
- The excavation at Cencelle archaeological site represents a sort of training field for the High Institute of Conservation and Renovation of MIBAC (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Acrivities), due to an agreement made with the Antiquity Department. The restoration works by ISCR personnel and emergency interventions will not be only performed on artifacts and structures , but they will be also tested on non-toxic biocides, long-lasting mortars, non-transportable materials subject to temperature leaps. Teams of restorers will be on the site during excavations and moreover they will monitor the site regularly over the year. The existence of an experimental excavation active all year round, at the expense of MIBAC, gives the project an extraordinary potential for the field of restoration, even because during the winter term, transportable materials from the excavations get restored in the ISCR courses.
- The implementation of a specific IT system where to gather all data, including those concerning restoration, with an archiving system in Cloud, makes the Cencelle project, a model of good practice in the conservation and long-term data management, other than a constant methodologic update.