OSMAP 2001 Season Summary
For five weeks during the summer of 2001, the Ostia Synagogue Masonry Analysis Project (OSMAP) commenced
their primary season. Led by Project Director, Dr. L. Michael White, the team was composed of three other
specialists who will comprise the senior staff. Dr. Darius Arya, Ph.D., is the Research Director of OSMAP,
Ms. Susan Gelb, Doctoral Candidate, is the Field Director, and Mr. Alan Stearman is the GIS Mapping
Consultant and Surveyor.
Dr. L. Michael White and Dr. Darius Ayra take readings using a GIS Total Station to map a building.
In order to develop the project plan for future seasons, the goals of the 2001 season were to observe and
study the practice of masonry analysis and digital mapping at other sites in Italy and to use this information
to create the research design for OSMAP. The team met with Dr. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Director of the
British School at Rome, whose own project in Insula I.9 at Pompeii has used this methodology in their research.
At the British School and later in the field at Pompeii the team observed Dr. Wallace-Hadrill's computer database
and field worksheets which the team was able to incorporate into their own set of field protocols. The team
also met with Dr. John Dobbins of the University of Virginia in Pompeii and was allowed to both observe and
participate in their work in the forum of Pompeii. UVA's Pompeii Forum Project has been one of the most
successful projects to date in the collaboration of AutoCAD technology and masonry. By adapting the skills
and methods learned at Pompeii, OSMAP will be the first project to implement an integrated digital map and
masonry analysis at Ostia.
Susan Gelb excavating in the Sanctuary of Apollo in Pompeii with the Pompeii Forum Project.
Once in Ostia, the team began to plan for the ensuing seasons by meeting with the Superintendent's staff,
researching previous work done in the Synagogue region in the Ostian Archives, and identifying what work needed
to be completed in order to prepare for a full-scale team engaged in mapping and masonry analysis. The staff
at Ostia was helpful and supportive of OSMAP's goals, in particular the Superintendent Dott.ssa Zevi and head
of archives Dott.ssa Shepherd. One item that needed to be completed before a full-scale project could begin was
to establish a numbering system for the Synagogue and the buildings along the Via Severiana. All buildings in
Ostia can be identified by a system that includes numerical designations for Region, Insula, Building, and Room,
yet this numbering system had not been put in place for the buildings which OSMAP will study. An address system
was set up for the OSMAP survey region, now encompassing Region IV, Insula 14-17, which was made official by the
This season the OSMAP team also completed the architectural plan of the area. Previous architectural drawings
of the region neglected a nymphaeum located in the southwest corner of the Synagogue complex which was drawn and
added to the plan.
Nymphaeum in IV.17.2, Room 6.
In addition to the architectural drawings made in the OSMAP survey region, the team began to create a digital
top plan of the buildings using digital GIS equipment.
Alan Stearman setting up the GIS Total Station survey equipment in the Synagogue.
The machine was set up and used to mark the principal survey stations for the project
area which were marked permanently with a metal tag.
Metal marker put in place in the Synagogue.
Finally, in consultation with Dr. Joanne Spurza, the project's consulting architect, the plan for the 2002
fieldwork was developed. With Dr. Spurza's help, and with all of the information learned at Pompeii, the
team created the masonry analysis plan for the OSMAP survey region. Over fifteen types and subtypes of
masonry in the excavated buildings were identified and photographed to be used in the OSMAP database.