Revisiting the Roman Forum: from Pen to Pixel, Methods of Documentation in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Author: Ashley Johnston

Launching in conjunction with the symposium, the first 3D exhibit on historic preservation in the Roman Forum, will be on display from April to September, 2014 in Rome, Italy. The aim of the exhibition, in the CURIA at the Roman Forum, is to provide architects, art historians, academics and the general public with a greater understanding of the development of architectural documentation at the Roman Forum in the last 100 years from 1905 to 2014, making evident the continuity in innovative technologies undertaken in Giacomo Boni’s 19th c. systematic excavation to today’s laser scans.

The exhibit will present the original, historic drawings and excavation notes of Giacomo Boni’s 19th c. documentation, from the Soprintendendenza’s archives, exhibited here for the very first time, alongside the scientific 3D high-definition DHARMA documentation, drawings and watercolors.

The exhibit will display the collaborative efforts of DHARMA’s ( detailed architectural drawings and watercolors, a 3D digital model of the Forum and its monuments and gigapan high-resolution panoramic photographs, accompanied by detailed architectural analysis together with past and present research and discoveries undertaken by the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma with the curatorship of Patrizia Fortini, of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, Krupali Krusche and Giovanna Lenzi-Sandusky of the University of Notre Dame (Indiana (USA).

The primary objectives of the research and culminating exhibition is to advance scholarship and knowledge on the recent developments at the Roman Forum. Focus on the documentation of the Roman Forum was developed, from both sides, as the consequence of an existing need in the architectural community to integrate innovative methods of digital documentation and 3D scanning with traditional hand measuring technique to produce truly precise measured drawings by hand and computer, which can provide a basis for generating highly critical and analytical work.

The larger objectives of the exhibit are to draw attention to the historic methods of the early scientific documentation at the Roman Forum and the evolution of these methods, providing a basis for new methods of documentation to be developed and utilized in the field today and in the future.

The exhibit, on display from April 2nd to September 28th, 2014, will allow visitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Forum as a whole, while being able to gain greater understanding of its individual monuments in a manner that has never been possible before.