Fieldwork seasons 2005-2007 collected data for a high-precision topographic model of the area from the westward boundary of the estate ('Villa del Confine') as far as the eastern limit of the vicus Augustanus. A second topographic model has also been initiated in the area in and around the so-called fish farms, together with a series of fixed points along the intervening 1.2km stretch of the Via del Telefono.
The model aims to map both the archaeological and natural features of the present landscape and will form the basis for both the more detailed documentation and analysis of Roman occupation along the ancient sea front (c.200 BC - c.AD 500) and the study of its environmental and geomorphological context (being carried out by Prof. Helen Rendell, Loughborough University).
It is intended to use the model to explore and explain how the architecture of the Roman villas, the associated vicus and a possible harbour responded to the continuing evolution of the coastline and to the environmental changes associated with this development.
Since the site is heavily forested, the most feasible way of recording the surface co-ordinates is using a total station and a prism. The dense foliage impedes the use of a reflectorless laser setting for the total station, differential global positioning system and also remotely sensed images. Instead a traditional topographical survey is conducted where one person operates the total station while a second person positions the prism on the surfaced to be surveyed in a grid-like formation with 0.3-5 metres intervals between each measurement. The Total Station employed is a Leica TPS400.
The area surveyed around the vicus Augustanus presently covers 660 by 290 metres, within which around 19,750 points have been taken and used to create a three-dimensional digital elevation model (DEM) in the geographic information system ArcView. The DEM has already highlighted several areas which require further investigation by other means, such as test trenches, geophysical survey and geomorphological coring. The whole model in its current state is reproduced in Fig. 1.
The second topographic surveyed around the so-called fish farms, including a 450 metres section of the Via Severiana, covers 450 by 150 metres, within which 1475 points have so far been taken and used to create a three-dimensional digital elevation model (DEM). The topographical model of the fish farms in its current state is reproduced in Fig. 2