Geo-archaeology of the Roman palaeosurface of Sena Gallica (Senigallia, Italy)

Sena Gallica (Senigallia), in the northern Marche region, was the first Roman colony on the Adriatic coast founded at the beginning of the third century BC. This research adopted an integrated approach to different information sources that combines old and new data, archaeological excavations, topographic and geophysical surveys, and geological and geomorphological analyses. The data are managed within a GIS and supported by 3D modelling. One of the results of this work is a map which represents the geomorphological setting of the Roman colony, close to the mouth of the Misa river. The settlement exploited the top-surface of the uppermost Pleistocene–early Holocene coastal fan of the Misa river, now only preserved at the apex sector truncated seaward by wave erosion. The top-surface of the fan apex, in turn, was partly re-incised by stream erosion producing a series of slight topographic mounds, which were selected for the earliest human settlement (V-IV c. BC). Some of the mounds resulted in a protected, slightly elevated, area enclosed by the meandering course of the Misa River and the Sant'Angelo/Penna streams, where the Romans decided to found their colony (284 BC). The tight interaction between human activities and the natural environment has always influenced the development of the town, from the earliest phases to the modern age. This map focuses on the time when the Roman colony was founded, but the combined study in progress allows understanding of the main transformations that occurred during the following centuries.