(Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia” (FCT), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior, Lisbon, Portugal)

Outline: In this talk I would like to examine the so-called “tripartite fora”, or “basilica-type fora” of some Roman towns in ancient Lusitania (Portugal) and the strict connection of these monumental centres with the main urban axes. Among the cities analyzed there is Ammaia, where the ongoing ground-truthing excavations are providing a great amount of data about the forum area. The aim of this comparison among evidences from different places is not simply to reconstruct the original settings of the monumental centre of each town and its later changes, but to delineate the chronological evolution and especially the common developments in architectural project and chronological phasing.

Abstract: This paper undertakes a comparative analysis of the Roman cities of the ancient province of Lusitania. At the current state of studies, the archaeological excavations have brought to light monumental centres of the same type, which is the so-called “tripartite forum” or “basilica-type forum”. The attention is focused on six towns: Augusta Emerita, Ebora Liberalitas Iulia, Ammaia, Pax Iulia, Sellium and Bobadela. Although the fragmentary and incomplete knowledge that still characterizes the monumental centres of Lusitania does not allow a global view of the topic, these forums are compared in order to understand their similarities and differences.

One of the case-studies analyzed is placed in the archaeological park of Ammaia, in the municipality of Marvão (Alto-Alentejo): this site has been chosen as research centre by the Marie-Curie IAPP project “Radio-Past”, whose team is currently applying a combination of “non-destructive” technologies. The ongoing ground-truthing excavations of the geophysical prospections carried out in these years in Ammaia are providing interesting data about the forum area.

The aim of this comparison is to understand the original settings and later transformations of the monumental centres under investigation, but especially to delineate common developments in architectural project and chronological phasing. This paper concludes that the great amount of similarities among the Roman forums examined is probably due to the fact that all towns were founded in the Augustan age.

Keywords: Forum, Lusitania, temple, basilica, Augustan age