Palatine Hill Excavation

  •  91.666

    Funding Goal
  •  11.345

  • 215

    Days to go
Minimum amount is €1 Maximum amount is €15000
Rome, Italy

Campaign Story

In one of the most famous, and ancient, cities in the world, next to one of its best known monuments, there is a pocket of blank history.  The Palatine Hill, sacred centre of Rome, was the setting for the original square city established by the legendary founder and first King, Romulus.   In an excavation site on the Northeastern slope of the Hill, flanked today by the Temple of Venus and the Colosseum, archaeologists are looking for a temple built by Romulus (or historical figure he represents) in the mid 8th century BC, as ancient as the city itself.

Explore 3,000 years of history with Professor Clementina Panella as she prepares to reveal the unknown heart of Rome.

Few traces from the time of the Kings are visible, unsurprising perhaps in a city that has continuously redeveloped for over 3000 years.  It is the ancient sources that guide the archaeologists of today to the location of key places.  On one corner of this square city, they tell us, Romulus built the temple of the Curiae Veteres, a vast, sacred area and a place for the population of the city-state to periodically meet, celebrate their common goddess Iuno Curitis and eat together.   This kind of civic space – where the citizens could gather on equal footing, regardless of rank or class – was unique to Rome and the cult of the Curiae Veteres continued through later eras of Rome’s history, until the traditions of the ancient world died out.


©Università di Roma La Sapienza

Excavation began on this site in 2001 and during this time, many significant discoveries have been made, from ancient Iron Age huts to the domus venerated as the birthplace of Augustus, first Roman Emperor.  Important objects and information have been uncovered, from the traces of the Great Fire of 74 A.D. to the oldest piece of painted pottery yet to be found in Rome.  These incredible discoveries have been instrumental in building the picture and understanding the development of the city.

Now there is a chance to delve back in time to the era before written languages to find the missing piece – the page of the kings – and fully flesh out the history of Rome and its repercussions for the world.   Your contribution will allow the archaeologists to uncover the secrets still hidden in this place, so sacred and central to the ancient world and the development of Western civilization.

Project director

The excavation is directed by Prof. Clementina Panella of Università di Roma La Sapienza in collaboration with CISTeC (Research Centre in Science and Technology for the Conservation of Historical-Architectural Heritage), directed by Prof. Maria Laura Santarelli.

Prof. Clementina Panella has lead excavations here since 1983, she knows the area, its history, and the difficulties involved.  Describing Rome as “a city that eats itself”, she is adept at working in the honeycomb of structures 5m below street level, amid the foundations and utility ducts of buildings from multiple eras.   During the past season of field work, the excavation reached below the present day water table causing understandable difficulties for the archaeologists.

Prof. Maria Laura Santarelli’s material science research uses innovative techniques to analyse materials from different historical phases, identifying production techniques, original composition and use.   This provides essential information about the socio-economic character of a population, the identification of archaeological periods, structures and the use of specific environments.

The Project supports the education of young graduates and will be coordinated by research assistants and one or more fellowship assistants, together with university  students (Italian and international), so they can develop their training experiences in the field.

The funding goal

The goal for this project takes into account the requirements of funding archaeology, which includes excavation and field work, scientific support, laboratory study.  The end point of the process is the sharing of information with the wider world, through academic publications, seminars and lectures, media articles and museum displays, informative publications for the public and workbooks in English.

All donations will be allocated to the project, regardless of whether the goal is reached.

Spending plan

This takes into account the depth of the excavation (over 5 m below ground level) and includes a detailed security plan with continuous surveillance of the site and the presence of a construction company to position pulleys, maintain runways, and shore up the dig walls.  The budget includes restoration of artefacts, labour contracts and all necessary materials.

In addition, there is 3.66% crowdfunding platform operating cost, a 3% LoveItaly operating cost, cost of the video production (€366) for an overall total of €91,666.

Cost Breakdown for Palatine Hill Excavation

Notes on Scientific Support


ph.  Università della Sapienza

 Previous finds from the site

Discoveries include previously unknown buildings and monuments, extraordinary examples which shed light on the dynamics and development of the settlement.  (All photographs courtesy of Università della Sapienza.)

1. Remains of Iron Age huts near the Arch of Titus.

[cml_media_alt id='4225']Schermata 2016-06-19 alle 15.59.44[/cml_media_alt]

2. The beautifully refurbished Augustan-Claudian era Curiae Veteres shrine.  It faces the road taken by the triumphal processions and all the ceremonies connected to the foundation myth.

3.  A sanctuary probably dedicated to Fortune, near the Arch of Titus, dating from the age of Numa (late 8th century BC). Its votive deposits have yielded offerings of great antiquity and historical value, including this wall plaque of Acheloo.

4.  The Meta Sudans, a monumental fountain built by the Emperor Augustus to stand at the intersection of the 14 districts into which he divided the city in 7 BC.  Inspired in shape by the turning points of the racing circus, it was dedicated to Apollo, Augustus’ divine protector, after his victory at Actium (Azio).

A later Meta Sudans from the Flavian Age ( late 1st century AD), contemporary to the Arch of Titus and the Colosseum stood on the location of the Augustan fountain until the 1930s, when it was dismantled for Mussolini’s “Via dei Trionfi”.

“Experts had always thought, mostly due to its location, that it had replaced an older “Meta”, a monument dating back to the Augustan age (…) and we found it in 2002. It was a huge satisfaction.” 

Interview with Prof. Panella,


5.  A luxuriously decorated domus, possibly the birthplace of Augustus. After his death, his wife Livia turned it into a shrine. Traces of buildings beneath suggest that residential facilities existed here in the age of the Tarquini (600 BC).

6.  Traces of the Great Fire of 64 AD that destroyed the entire neighborhood.

7.  Structural supports for the Palace of Nero, known as the Domus Aurea (64-68 AD) which provided a terrace area overlooking the pond where the later Flavian Dynasty would raise the Colosseum. These terraces were precisely regulated in height according to the incline of the hill.

8.  The Flavian renovation (69-96 AD) of the Sanctuary of the Curiae Veteres, destroyed in the fire of 64 AD.

9.   A horreum (storehouse) built under Hadrian (117-138 AD), located above the Curiae, between the sanctuary and the Arch of Titus, along the via Sacra.

10.  A large building, characterized by a large central courtyard, dating to the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus.  Marble busts of Septimius Severus and the imperial family, herms and other statuary fragments were reused as building materials in this complex.

11.   Imperial insignia attributed to the Emperor Maxentius (now on display in Palazzo Massimo, Rome):  four parade spears, four banner-carrying spears and three sceptres from the 4th century AD.  These signs of rank and office were buried outside a building belonging to the Curiae Veteres complex, possibly after he was killed by Constantine at the battle of the Milvian Bridge (312 AD).

12.  The Baths of Elagabalus, a 4th century A.D. domus with a banquet hall, a garden with fountains, and a small thermal bath, built over the earlier Severian building.

13.  A necropolis, dating to the late 600s.  The presence of a necropolis here suggests that this ancient site had lost its significance at this time.

14.  A lime kiln from the 900s, garbage dumps from the 1200s and 1300s and  endless medieval tunnels and modern pits.

Further reading:  “La Repubblica” on 7/21/2015, “Il Messaggero” on 7/21/2015, and New York Times on 8/14/2015 and at:  http//archeopalatino/







Name and Recognition on LoveItaly website + Donor Certificate


Name and Recognition on LoveItaly website + Donor Certificate


Recognition on LoveItaly website + Donor Certificate


All of the above plus: Invitation to participate in activities of the Association + Invitation to visit the excavation site (on request).


All of the above plus: Invitation to visit the excavation site (on request) and speak with archeologists + Invitation to exclusive LoveItaly events and private openings.


All of the above plus: Private tour of excavation site with expert guides + one hour private tour of Rome + Invitation to LoveItaly events in private homes


All of the above plus: Private Tour of the Vatican Gardens + Exclusive invitation to dine with the Board Members of LoveItaly in private homes


All of the above plus: Invitation to visit the one of the most important restoration studios in Italy

We accept offline donations as well, here is the information for bank transfers. If you choose to send us a bank transfer, please email us a copy of the receipt so we can list you as a Donor on our website!

LoveItaly Associazione Culturale
Unicredit Banca / Roma Non Profit
Piazza Barberini n.40, 00187 – Roma
IBAN: IT45W0200803284000103456316