The last few days have been cold and rainy. The size and solidity of the large hangar covering about 800 m2 of the Park on the Oppian Hill are striking: it looks like a place untouched by the bad weather. And it is.
It is of real importance for all those who, like us, are concerned for the Domus Aurea and its vegetation, respectively a unique and irreplaceable archaeological heritage and a magnificent natural heritage, to discuss the difficult relationship between these two features in the park on the Oppian Hill.
The archaeological sounding carried out on the outer surface of Trajanic galleries 20A and 20B entailed, as a preliminary phase, the removal of all the weeds that had taken root in the layer of earth above the screed connecting and covering the vaults.
The types of plants which presented the greatest problems for the wall structure and that were most difficult to remove and eradicate were an Ailanthus altissima (ailanthus or tree of heaven) and a large Laurus nobilis (laurel) bush.
On 12 December 2012, after completing the erection of scaffolding in Room 41, we were able to make an inspection during which, through close-up observation, we evaluated the state of conservation of structures and decorations.
We decided to make this a case study for the blog, taking readers through the phases of analysis, decision-making and consolidation work.
The problematic coexistence of the botanical features of the Oppian Hill and the underground archaeological structures of Trajan’s Baths and the Domus Aurea is well known.
The plants on the Trajanic Terrace date to the arrangement designed in several stages by A. Munoz in the 1930s and include: