New Underwater Excavations by Ca’ Foscari in the Lagoon of Lio Piccolo

Start of the Fourth Excavation Campaign

Start of the Fourth Excavation Campaign

In July, research will resume on the submerged site of Lio Piccolo (municipality of Cavallino-Treporti). The excavations, started in 2021 and coordinated by Prof. Carlo Beltrame from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, with the collaboration of Dr. Elisa Costa, have uncovered an oyster tank built in the 1st century AD along the Rigà canal, likely part of a Roman villa.

Significant Discoveries

This structure, which still contains hundreds of oysters, is one of only two known examples from the Roman world. Additionally, sections of oak pile foundations of a significant building have been discovered, suggesting the presence of a prestigious villa, as indicated by numerous fresco fragments found on the seabed. During last year's campaign, a precious agate gem engraved with the mythological figure of the Lydian princess Omphale was found, supporting the hypothesis that the site was frequented by wealthy Romans.

Research Objectives

Research Objectives

This year's activities are part of a broader research project aimed at reconstructing the paleoenvironment of the northern lagoon, settlement dynamics, resource exploitation, and construction techniques in Roman times, with particular attention to port facilities and navigation towards Altino.

Results of Previous Years

In recent years, the project has reinterpreted the so-called Roman tower of Canale San Felice, revealing it to be a cistern-well similar to another better-preserved one found underwater at Ca’ Ballarin, and reconstructed the urban port facilities of Altino through non-invasive investigations at Valle Rossa and the internal areas of the municipium. The project involves PhD students and researchers, along with Prof. Paolo Mozzi, geologist from the University of Padua, and Prof. Adele Bertini, palynologist from the University of Florence, with their respective teams. The project will also contribute to the study of climate changes and sea levels by providing data from antiquity.

Funding and Collaborations

The excavation is funded by the PNRR CHANGES Historical Landscapes, Traditions and Cultural Identities (Spoke 1) project, with the participation of Ca’ Foscari University, the PRIN 2022 project The Lagoon of Venice in Antiquity. Settlement Dynamics, Adaptive Behaviors, Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions, and thanks to funding from the municipality of Cavallino-Treporti. The excavation activities are authorized by the Ministry of Culture, Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Municipality of Venice and Lagoon (contact: Dr. Alessandro Asta) and technically supported by the company Archeotecnica of Venice.

  • Partner
  • Municipality of Cavallano Treporti
  • Via dei Forti
  • Veneto - Land of Venice
  • Venice Sands