Space and Neighbourhoods in Roman Ostia: The spatial organisation of Ostia's insula IV iv and its relation to the larger city

by Denise Terpstra

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Ostia; Space syntax; Spatial analysis; Roman architecture; Neighbourhoods
Record ID: 1247875
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/31691


Recent archaeological studies reflect a growing interest in neighbourhoods and neighbourhood studies, covering urban environments from antiquity to historical cities. This thesis investigates neighbourhoods in Roman Ostia, through examining the spatial relationship of one city block within itself and to the rest of the city. The central research question in this thesis is how the buildings in insula IV iv along the Via del Tempio Rotondo relate to each other, to the street, and to the contemporaneous structures on the opposite side of the street. A second part of this question is whether this area functioned as part of one neighbourhood. This thesis focuses on two buildings in the insula that directly border the Via del Tempio Rotondo, to be able to provide a complete overview of one side of the insula. Although this thesis forms part of the larger investigations of insula IV iv, owing to its comprehensive treatment of a section of the insula, it presents a complete subproject in its own right. In addition to remapping and investigating the material remains in situ, different methods of Space Syntax are used to examine the buildings and the surrounding area. Access analysis and visual analysis are used to investigate the buildings themselves, and to determine how life in these buildings would have functioned. Several axial analyses are then used to determine how the city block relates to the rest of the city of Ostia. It can then be concluded that the buildings under investigation in this thesis were part of the same neighbourhood, although this neighbourhood would have stretched beyond the limits of a single street front. Eventually, directions for future research are presented.