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The "Fontanina"

A research example

This square "Fontanina" in white Luni (Carrara) marble was found in the Longhi gardens in Rome, in Vicolo del Muro Nuovo. The street no longer exists but was once to be found in the area of Lungotevere, not far from Ponte Garibaldi.

Fontanina drawing: Registers 'Giornali degli oggetti rinvenuti nel Tevere'News of this finding on 9th April 1880 can be found in a page in one of the Registers called “Journals of findings” - “ Giornali degli oggetti rinvenuti” - conserved in the archives.
This document contains a detailed description of the finding and a drawing of the monument, complete with measurements.

Probably dating from the 2nd century AD, the "Fontanina" is conserved in the Museo Nazionale Romano, in the seat at the Terme di Diocleziano.

It presents four faces decorated in the centre with staircases made up of eleven steps. At the top of each staircase is the basin of a shell. A small hole leads from this basin to the central basin. In the corners are four bass relief carvings of heads of oceans (or river gods) with openings in the mouths for the passage of water. Lower down are winged cherubs riding dolphins.

Photo of Fontanina: Museo Nazionale RomanoBibliography:

  1. Museo Nazionale Romano, “Le Sculture” - the sculptures -, I, 3, Roma 1979, pp. 208 – 209, inv. N. 860 (Maddalena Cima);
  1. Archivio Storico Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, “Giornali degli oggetti rinvenuti nel Tevere” - Journal of objects found in the Tiber -, vol. 233, p. 110 ( oggetto n. 1414 ).

The Archaeological Data Archives

A.D.A. is a public cultural web site intended for the community. It is being developed in and by the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma within “Service of Historical Archives”.

The site is aimed at all those who need to access document sources on Roman archaeology and its history, either as individuals for scientific or professional reasons, or on behalf of institutions.

First and foremost it will be of use to archaeologists, architects, restorers and technicians in all fields where the information, indices and contents of the various archives can be of use in bureaucratic functions and in research.

The site is also intended for scholars of Roman archaeology for whom it can become a meeting place for exchange of ideas and knowledge. To this end, the A.D.A seeks contacts with other archaeological documentary archives, both in Italy and abroad, with the intent of creating an on-line network in this sector.

Finally, A.D.A. seeks to reach the community of students and citizens who, be it from mere curiosity, are interested in learning about the documentation connected with archaeological finds or with an object found in a given street of Rome.


The Archives will be closed from December 15, 2016.

The regular service will start again January 17, 2017.

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Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma © Archivio di documentazione archeologica 2004-07,last revision 2016-12-15, last update by editors