Ok still standing at the Arch of Titus' east side, turn around and face towards the Colosseum. That paved Via you are standing on that goes through the Arch slopes downhill off the Velia ridge to the Colosseum area. Pre-64 Fire that Via wasn't there and this area of the slope had Aristocratic Homes on it.
The Via is built later, possibly(?) by Vespasian (69-79) when he gave the areas Nero Seized for his 'Golden House' back to the People for public usage, but it was definitely there when the Arch was built and it could have been built by his son Domitian along with the Arch. I read one theory that because the original Via Sacra ended at the Arch Area this new section was just considered an extension of the Via Sacra and called that? And when those homes were there, there was only a small minor footpath leading up to this area.
At the lower right (south) area of this Via excavations were carried out just a few years ago (about 2007). Emperor Augustus' birth home (63 BC) was discovered there and also a shop where Emperor Maxentius' Imperial Standards were found hidden beneath the floor. [See the left side of this photo -Jeff] Possibly when the first reports came back that Constantine had beaten and killed Maxentius his loyal Guards in his Palatine Palace took and hid them here so Constantine couldn't get them?
Ok now walk back to the Forum-side (west) of the Arch and face the Forum. Look 45° to the Left and a few steps away there is a street that parallels the base of the Palatine Hill on the left and the Roman Forum on the Right. That street is called the 'VIA NOVA' (Nova Via or 'New Way') and dates to the original dirt-path Via Sacra times. And right up until Imperial Times (post-27 BC) these were the only two streets known as a 'Via' (Way), then the term took on a general meaning for a street.
The original dirt-path route went down the Velabrum where the stream from the "Roman Forum area" Marsh drained south to the Circus Maximus area, where the later 'Vicus Tuscus' was built which we were on a while back in the Walk. Being on the Hill's slope and starting from the higher Velia ridge the later paved Via needed steps at the end and to any lower Forum-side entrance/exits. Also at that end (on the left) there was a staircase up to a higher slope Palatine Hill access street 'Clivus Victoriae' and on the right of the Via Nova there was a Stair/Ramp down to the Forum (I mentioned it earlier on the west side of the Temple and House of the Vestals). So the Via Nova goes from the Arch area |A|++ to an intersecting staircase/ramp ==\\ and then down stairs to the Vicus Tucus =_||. |A|++===\\=_||
This Via Nova dates to Nero's Era and had many shops on the Palatine side. Some were two-story where the owner lived above, look for holes in the walls for wooden floor beam supports . The Forum side would have access stairs and there was a small street that ran alongside the west end of the Vestals House to the Via Sacra and the Vestals also had a private entrance onto the Via Nova.
Ok still standing with the Arch behind you facing the Forum (west) look at that long low ugly concrete and flint-chip wall-type ruin running left to right (mostly right) which is right in front of you and to the right. Walk over to it and turn and face right (north) towards the Basilica of Maxentius. [This next area I describe is basically in front of that half-dozen long line of steps that go from the side of the church over to the Arch, about 25 m [Arch======Church] That is the concrete foundation of Nero's columned and roofed elevated Via Sacra and there would have been another parallel section like this to your right (east - Colosseum side) some meters away ||`````|| but that side is long gone, so we don't know the width it was here, but remember the earlier mentioned section from the Forum was 30 m wide at this eastern end.
Ok walk along it a few meters to where it ends right where the original pre-64 AD Via Sacra is (the path people are walking on). On the other side of this narrow path the wall continues ==||= into the bush/trees but just on the other side of this (hidden from view here) this wall connects with the Via foundation wall that 90° left turns (the T) where Nero's Via headed straight down to the Roman Forum (same straight section you walked up earlier to the Basilica). Now look down the Via and you will see that straight foundation wall section on the other side of the end of the bush/trees. [Bottom of page has my guess on what the wall foundation's 'Void' between the 'walls' was filled-in with]
Now here the original Via Sacra goes downhill but directly in front of you is a large rectangular LEVEL grass/dirt area [X] from the Via Sacra // over to the Via Nova || (on left) ||[X]// As you enter it on the Left is a statue base, I have in my notes it's inscribed with 'Maxientio' I assume I either just misspelled 'Maxentius' or that's actually what is inscribed? If would be odd and rare for it to survive because Constantine erased all of Maxentius' inscriptions? Plus it would have value today as a rarity and in a museum I'd imagine?
This large level rectangular area, shown here, and the large (but lower) rectangular fenced-off area behind it stretches-over to the House of the Vestals [X][X][V]. This is that large stepped-down platform Nero built although it's believed he didn't finish the actual building structure itself before his death. The structure is called a Porticus and would have interior rows of columns or piers supporting the roof [:::::]. In this Nero case it had an Arcade (portico) fronting the Via Sacra also ||[:[:::::] What Nero intended to do with it is unknown but perhaps a large mall for high-end shops (gold, jewelry, etc). Emperor Vespasian finished it and turned it into a Seafood Market (Archaeologists discovered several stone basin fish tanks and a lot of shells were found in the drainage pipes) with very likely other shops more geared to the Common People's.
But let's start at the Beginning 753 BC. This is just the west side of the Velia ridge used only as a cemetery because it's uninhabitable due to the nearby (Roman Forum) diseased Marsh. But there is a dirt path down to the Marsh that can be visited in daylight hours (no mosquitoes). In the 700's-500's BC a Palatine Hill defensive Wall is first built with two later rebuilds on the left side (south) of this rectangular area (Wall remains are below ground level now). It's modernly called the 'Wall of Romulus' but likely post-dates that era (The archaeologists first dated it to mid-600's but years after he redated it to mid-750's with a Romulus-era connection which was now happening *quite a bit* and getting good press coverage?).
About 520 BC The defensive wall is removed and the sloped land is terraced and large aristocratic homes (two have been excavated 60 x 40 m, one of them had street-facing shops with a passageway into a garden courtyard (Atrium) with an Impluvium/cistern and three rear rooms).
About 400 years later both homes (likely after a few reconstructions) are destroyed by fire, they are replaced with more smaller but multi-story homes in the area.
Another fire in the 70's BC burns down a house but it is reconstructed (our house of interest here).
64 AD Fire burns down all of the houses in this area.
Post-64 AD Nero levels this land and puts his huge arcaded porticus structures on the two different level platforms ---___ that covers this entire area Via Nova to the new Via Sacra and from where you entered this area over to the House of the Vestals.
69-79 AD Vespasian turns these two platforms into the HORREA VESPASIANI.
117-138 AD Emperor Hadrian turns this first Horrea platform section into his 'Headquarters of the Imperial Administration'. The Horrea structure lasts into the fifth Century (400's) with only minor alterations.
What we see today are brick and concrete remains from the 400-500's AD and nothing from the original structure. So it was very likely removed after about 400 years and new structures were built on the old original platform foundation?
Ok now enter the first highest rectangular "platform" and the only one we can access.
HORREA means a Warehouse storage area that can used for many things, like a granary, foodstuffs, spices, paper, wax, public storage spaces, etc.
They can also store and sell things so a Warehouse marketplace in this case.
In this Horrea platform section as I earlier mentioned was a 'Seafood Market'.
(What the second lower platform sold or was used for is unknown.)
So pre-64 AD Fire this area has rich aristocratic Houses.
One house's basement was excavated and it is to your left as you enter (SE corner).
The basement is now below ground level and what you now see are the much later (4-500's AD) brick-faced concrete structures that was built over the Horrea (this structure is also protected by a modern roof).
This house was about 28 x 28 m multi-storied (three, four?) with its front entrance facing the (future) Arch of Titus.
The basement was entered by stairs near the front entrance.
It has 50 very small rooms just large enough for a stone bench bed these were the Slave's rooms (cells).
Their floors were simple, cheap travertine chip mosaics.
There was also a small 'Shrine to Lares' (this household's God) and thermal baths with black and white mosaic floors in this basement.
According to the early archaeologists, the 'Oxford Archaeological Guide' and 'The Roman Forum' guidebook put out by 'Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma' based on this House's location and the various building phases it's gone through it's a good possiblecandidate for it to be *THE* 'HOUSE OF MARCUS AEMILIUS SCAURUS'
[MARCUS AEMILIUS SCAURUS]
[Publius CLODIUS Pulcher]
This is my guess for Nero's elevated Via: You build two parallel foundation 1 or 2 m walls X number of meters apart |`````| with a large empty void between them. Now you have *A LOT* of the burned-down buildings (houses, shops, etc) RUBBLE after the Fire you *Must* get rid of, in order to rebuild, and carting it away is cost and labor intensive. Now fill the void with the RUBBLE and top it with a thin layer of concrete, you now have a solid foundation up to 30 m wide without the cost and labor of filling the void with all concrete? This is exactly what the Romans do with burned down buildings, temples, etc that they want to rebuild over, fill any voids with rubble.
That is why I think those two short sections of the large *solid* concrete outer walls just happened to have survived most were taken out intentionally. The larger weaker voids that might have disappeared in later Roman times for new structures or in Medieval Times used as building materials to fill-in their voids or to mix in with concrete as rubble, exposed to the elements for centuries and just now loose rubble it was removed by the archaeologists whose main goal was to get to the Augustus Era levels?Next: #34: The Temple of Venus and Roma