Details are emphasized or exaggerated, actions ascribed to different motives, facts are forgotten or suppressed, chronological and geographical data confused, and traits and from older tales are added.Gradually this tradition, passing from mouth to mouth, takes on a more definite shape and a more distinct outline, and finally it passes into literature and receives a permanent and fixed form.Because Rome has been continuously inhabited, the city exists in layers upon layers of construction and reconstruction over the years.These many layers can make it hard to investigate and map the early growth of the city.In the late 1700s an archaeologist uncovered a large cache of statues at Gabii, many of which are now in the Louvre after they were carried off from Rome by Napoleon.Besides the nearly 40 statues and busts from Gabii at the Louvre, there is also an ancient altar called “Altar of the Twelve Gods” dating to the 1st century AD.
Professors from these institutions bring both undergraduate and graduate students to the site to learn and work, Terrenato explained.
On average there are around 70 people on-site each day.
One of these is Andrew Johnston, an assistant professor of classics and history at Yale, who first began working at the site while a graduate student and who now leads trench excavations.
But even more importantly, this is a site that really illustrates well the birth and the decline of the ancient city,” Terrenato said.
One of the goals of the excavations, however, is to find out if Gabii had a bishop’s residence and a cathedral in the early part of the Middle Ages.