Mapping the Via Appia

Image project Mapping the Via Appia
Reconstruction of a pyramidal tomb along the Via Appia. By Rens de Hond, 2014.
The project investigates the fifth and sixth miles of the Via Appia, from Rome, and its hinterland. It aims at a thorough inventory and analysis of the Roman's interventions in their suburban landscape.

In order to gain insight into the spatial development and impact in different periods of the Via Appia itself, the surrounding monuments, and the outlying areas, the project consists of several research components:

  • inventory of above-ground archaeological objects (architectural ruins);
  • geophysical prospection and remote sensing;
  • excavations;
  • field surveys;
  • study of historical sources.

Mapping the Via Appia in 4D
As part of the project led by the Radboud University Nijmegen in close collaboration with the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome, the SPINlab has the task to develop a 4D (3D + time) Geographic Information System. The use of 4D GIS in archaeology is not yet widespread. Indeed, 4D GIS in general is still very much in development, challenging the Mapping the Via Appia project to be progressive and innovative. The project aims to develop a highly detailed 4D GIS, enabling archaeologists to analyse complex archaeological sites.

Mapping the Via Appia using geophysical methods
Closely connected to the above-mentioned subproject is the geophysical mapping of the study area. Even if remnants of many tombs and other structures are still above modern ground level, many of them were already demolished in Antiquity. Geophysical methods such as magnetometry, resistivity, ground-penetrating radar and/or remote sensing will allow us to identify walls and foundations buried below the present surface, as well as side streets no longer visible branching off the main road. This will undoubtedly produce a rich dataset of building structures in their suburban environment.

Project details

NWO project Investment Grant Medium (2012-2016); NL-eScience Center; Radboud University Nijmegen

Dr. Steven Soetens (VU CLUE - IGBA)

Dr. Jeremia Pelgrom (KNIR)

Maurice de Kleijn MA (VU SPINlab)

Rens de Hond BA (Radboud University Nijmegen / VU-SPINlab)

Researcher assistant
Frank Beijaard

Prof. Dr. Eric Moormann (commissioner and main applicant; Radboud University Nijmegen)

Prof. Dr. Gert-Jan Burgers (co-applicant KNIR)

Prof. Dr. Henk Kars (co-applicant VU CLUE-IGBA)

Project leader
Dr. Stephan Mols (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Mapping the Via Appia


  • De Hond, R. (2013). “3D GIS for mapping the via appia. Explorative survey,” In H. Duinker & E. Hopman (Eds.), Conference proceedings Symposium Onderzoek Jonge Archeologen 2013, Groningen 12 April.