Read on to find out about the Roman roots of country life in Le Marche
Preamble:The Anglo-Italian friendship which inspired this post
In summer 2012 the Suasa excavations were, sadly, not open to the public, because the previous winter’s heavy snow had caused the (modern protective) roof to fall in over a part of them. Nevertheless, Prof Lepore kindly showed us round the site, partly because after an interesting lecture on “Archeologia preventiva: il caso dell ager suasanus”, we had made ourselves known to him and his team, as English people from the nation which pioneered non-digging archaeology, and sharers of the Suasa team’s admiration for our fellow countryman, Dr J P Williams -Freeman, a Hampshire man, the pioneer of field archaeology and the use of aerial photography in archaeology.
Life in Roman Suasa
In fact this is just one of the fora which have been discovered in Suasa. It included an area sacra, or sacred area. Here two temples have been discovered, one circular (a monopteros, or circular roofless colonnade), the other rectangular.
A lead pipe ran beside this road, with smaller pipes running off from it to individual buildings.
Even in the troubled third century AD, there is still evidence of building in Suasa, including one structure which was possibly a Curia, or seat of local government (cf the Curia or Senate-house in the Roman Forum). The public buildings are large in relation to the size of the town, which suggests that it served the local rural population as well as the urban inhabitants.
There was a pre-Roman road underneath the late imperial road, which suggests that a settlement existed here before the Romans came. Judging by the pottery finds, Suasa was re-founded as a Latin colony of Roman citizens; however,from Gallic and Picene survivals we may deduce that the previous inhabitants were not totally wiped out.
Last but not least – Country folk
Our local way of life goes back two thousand years. Traces of field-markings in the local area suggest that the country round Suasa was not an area of latifundia or large estates, as on the Tyrrhenian coast, but of small peasant proprietors, as today.