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Keeping the Sea Out: Early Medieval Structures at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy

John Meadows, Nicoletta Martinelli, Olivia Pignatelli, Rossella Cester, Luigi Fozzati, Bernd Kromer


In 2004, the courtyard of Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, was excavated in advance of building work, revealing an unbroken sequence of archaeological deposits. The earliest layers consisted of redeposited natural sediment, packed into wattle structures, a system of land reclamation first described by Cassiodorus in AD 537–8, and now known from several other sites in the city. The ground level was built up and extended several times with successive wattle structures, before the eventual construction of a stone waterfront. We have used Bayesian modeling of dendrochronological, radiocarbon, and stratigraphic dating evidence to obtain a precise chronology for the earliest phases of occupation, and to compare it to the chronology of land reclamation at similar sites elsewhere in Venice.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.v54i3–4.16149

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