(Archaeological Museum of Istria, Pula, Croatia)

Abstract: Methodology: The rescue archaeological excavation that was conducted in St. Theodore’s quarter at Pula from 2005 to 2009, which lasted 38 working months, encompassed an area measuring four thousand square meters. It was excavated up to a depth of eight meters. A total of 219 stratigraphical layers were documented in which 43,473 mobile archaeological finds were discovered, dating from the beginning of the 10th century BC to the 20th century AD. Archaeological stratigraphy and 14C laboratory analyses yielded the results used in the process to determine the age of individual architectural layers. In addition to classical geodetic methods, the whole area was likewise scanned using a 3D laser-scanner at various stages of the excavation.

Results: In accordance with historical periods it was possible to single out seven basic architectural layers: Histrian, Roman, Late Roman, Medieval, Early Modern, Austrian, and the contemporary 20th century layer. The Roman building phase is surely the most important one, regarded from an urbanistic and architectonic standpoint. With the foundation of the Roman colony of Pola in 46-45 BC, an important sanctuary was erected at a freshwater spring situated to the north of the main road that connected the north-eastern gate with the forum. This sanctuary included a temple as well as an enclosed open area, and was most probably dedicated to Hercules if we are to go by an imposing club in relief that was unearthed. A series of other structures were also erected on this location in the same period, which shared a common sewage-disposal and drainage system: the public baths, as well as a richly decorated urban residential house that featured a small domestic sanctuary dedicated to Salus, the goddess of health.

Innovations: It was on this occasion, in 2005, that a 3D scanning method was first used in an archaeological excavation in Croatia. The conducted research activities provided data that not only radically changed but also enriched the urbanistic picture of Pula through its 3,000 year long history, offering thus a precise digital framework for future investigations.

Keywords: 3D scanning, Hercules, sanctuary, temple