Andrea AUGENTI / Federica BOSCHI
(University of Bologna, Department of Archaeology, Ravenna, Italy

Abstract: Classe was one of the most important ports of the Mediterranean Sea during late antiquity. The settlement was created as an infrastructure of the close-by city of Ravenna, one of the imperial seats of the late antique Mediterranean area, but it very soon became a proper town, with its own defensive walls, monuments and houses. The Department of Archaeology of the University of Bologna started here new investigations from 2001 (in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Emilia Romagna and the Fondazione RavennAntica). The present paper is focused on the new research carried out for the Evaluation of the archaeological deposit of Classe. In fact, Classe is not a real urban area or a typical case of urban archaeology. Thus, this is an experiment for evaluating the archaeological deposits of an abandoned site, which has been urbanized just in recent times and only sporadically. The transformations of the last centuries have partially spared the ancient urban area and its suburbs, but in several areas the development of the modern settlement has heavily damaged entire sectors and buildings of the ancient city. This peculiarity encouraged us to promote a program for protection and enhancement, both mitigating the negative impacts of what has already been accomplished and, above all, in order to avoid new ones for the future. The new research represents a fundamental tool of a planned organic approach to the buried city.
The integrated approach of the new research has involved GIS based systematization of both old and new different data sets, with a large use of aerial photography (historical and updated) and geophysical survey techniques, which have often stimulated new archaeological digs, favouring the recovery of information.

Keywords: Evaluation Archaeological Deposit, Aerial Photography, Geophysics, Late Antiquity