La domus del Chirurgo di Rimini. Un eccezionale contesto archeologico


Author: Jacopo Ortalli (Editor)
Year of printing: 2023
ISBN: 9788892852006
e-ISBN: 9788892852013


This publication, scientific but at the same time informative, collects the writings of scholars of various disciplines in what represents the final synthesis of the main documentary aspects that emerged in Rimini in the investigation of the Surgeon's domus, so named for the profession of the one who last the dress. The plant is located within a larger archaeological complex, of over 750 m², discovered in the center of the city, in Piazza Ferrari, excavated starting in 1989, put into a museum and opened to the public in 2007. Due to its particular characteristics and sometimes unique, due to the fire that destroyed the medieval house, crystallizing its structures and contents, the context proved to be ideal for a multidisciplinary study approach, allowing the contributions of different skills to merge into an organic unitary framework.
Also worth underlining is the uncommon collaboration that has taken place here between various public and private entities: the Archaeological Superintendency of Emilia and Romagna for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Municipality of Rimini with the Department of Culture and the City Museums, the Emilia Romagna Region through its Institute for Cultural Heritage, the local Cassa di Risparmio Foundation and the archaeological operators of the companies La Fenice Archeologia e Restauro of Bologna (today Phoenix Archeologia) and Archeostudio of Riccione (today Tecne).
However, what made the excavation truly extraordinary was the documentary quality of what emerged from the ground. First of all, the medical-surgical equipment that belonged to a character of Greek culture, possibly named Eutyches, whose great skills are demonstrated by a medical kit, the richest to have come down to us from the Roman world, composed not only of around 150 iron surgical instruments and bronze, but also by particular therapeutic and pharmacological features. To complete the professional documentation, we also note the treatment environment, a very rare example of a domestic medical room intended both for the practice of the profession and for living: a space characterized by splendid architectural decorations and valuable furnishings among which we note above all a rare polychrome vitreous panel in opus sectile with marine scene.
The exceptional nature of the material endowments of the Surgeon's house also emerges on a historical level in the data offered by the discovery of the domestic monetary hoard among the rubble. Unlike the "treasures", made up of coins of considerable value usually made of precious metal and older, the Rimini nest egg represented cash for daily expenses so as to be fundamental for establishing a precise chronology for the year. Among the coins, the latest examples date back to the times of Gallienus, and more precisely to 260 AD: the moment to which the fire that destroyed the building, and with it the entire coastal district, during one of the first incursions must therefore be dated. barbarians in the peninsula who were among the main causes of the late imperial crisis of the Roman state, an incursion which thanks to written and epigraphic sources we are able to attribute to the Alamanni.
After centuries of peace in those years Ariminum was totally defenseless, so much so that, following this tragic event, to protect it, a new brick wall was immediately erected which in the stretch of Piazza Ferrari developed close to the Surgeon's domus. This wall, together with others on the peninsula, has long been dated to 271 AD, inspired, by analogy, by the one that Aurelian built in Rome after the attack of the Jutungi, another Germanic population. Now, however, there is proof that the walls of Rimini anticipated the urban ones by a decade.
Finally, we can point out some measures used in the museum creation of the archaeological complex of Piazza Ferrari to increase its exhibition and didactic potential; in themselves these were already notable thanks to the excellent state of conservation of the architectural and mosaic remains and the proximity to the City Museums, where all the materials found in the investigations are collected. Particularly effective in the organization of the visit area were the adoption of non-selective criteria that favored some remains over others and the frequent decision not to dig down to virgin soil to preserve, as they were discovered during the works, various stratifications and structures. The latter include the many mosaics that were not torn, restored and then replaced as usually happens; yet, in several cases, it was decided to enhance the layers as evidence of not only the material but also the social, cultural and economic evolution of the city from the 1st century BC to the present day.
The archaeological area with its sequence of deposits, consolidated with ethyl silicate when earthy, therefore offers a realistic cross-section of the development of the town: from the most prosperous phases, such as those of the Imperial and Gothic ages, to the poorer, indicative ones of moments of crisis and early medieval urban destructuring, with the dirt walking surfaces, the piles of rubble from the destruction and the tombs that cut through the splendid late antique mosaics.
Jacob Ortalli
  • Federica Gonzato, Presentazione
  • Jacopo Ortalli, Introduzione
  • Jacopo Ortalli, La domus
  • Elena Cristoferi, Jacopo Ortalli, Annalisa Pozzi, Mauro Ricci, Monica Zanardi, Il complesso archeologico di piazza Ferrari tra scavo, restauro e musealizzazione
  • Maria Luisa Stoppioni, La decorazione architettonica: i mosaici pavimentali e gli affreschi parietali
    1. I mosaici
    2. Le pitture parietali
    Il pinax con scena di porto, di Stefano Medas
  • Ralph Jackson, The instruments of the Rimini Surgeon
  • Ralph Jackson, Gli strumenti del Chirurgo riminese
  • Emanuela Ercolani Cocchi, Il gruzzolo dalla domus e la crisi del sistema monetale nel III secolo d.C.
  • Cristina Giovagnetti, Claudio Negrelli, Materiali dallo scavo. Il quotidiano nelle stanze del chirurgo
  • Renata Curina, Cristian Tassinari, Il fuoco dietro le mura. Gli incendi del versante litoraneo nello scavo dell’ex Banca d’Italia a Rimini
  • Stefano De Carolis, Il mestiere del medico
  • Jacopo Ortalli, 259-260 d.C. Gli Alamanni in Italia
  • a cura di Annalisa Pozzi, Bibliografia

Additional information

Weight :0,990 kg
Dimensions:21x29,7x1,5 cm

Number and series

NS4, Quaderni di Archeologia dell'Emilia Romagna

Place of printing

Sesto Fiorentino (FI)

Year of printing






illustrations in black and white and color







English Italian

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Open Access

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under license Creative Commons Attribution - Non commercial - No derivative works 4.0 International.