Towering over Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Rome: 3D Mapping the City’s Network of Surveillance and Power
Nicola (Nick) Camerlenghi is Associate Professor of the History of Architecture at Dartmouth. He holds a PhD in Art and Archaeology from Princeton, an SMArchS from MIT, and BAs in the History of Art and in Italian from Yale. His research concerns the longue durée of buildings, which he studies by supplementing traditional approaches to archival and archaeological evidence with computer modeling and digital visualizations—including GIS, AR, and VR. His first book, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls: A Roman Basilica, from Antiquity to the Modern Era, (Cambridge, 2018) treats the millennial history of the principle church dedicated to Paul. Broader interests include the architecture and urbanism of Rome; and the history of domes.
This project combines scholarly and computational methods to create a 3D map of twelfth- through sixteenth-century Rome’s most prominent vertical features: the towers, bell towers, repurposed ruins, and hills that dominated the skyline. The goal is to explore the interconnectedness of sight and sound, topography and movement in the city by analyzing acoustics, ballistics, and defensive systems. The web-based, GIS map will inform a monograph to be completed after the grant period. Together, these works will serve as proof of concept for a larger, multi-year project, Mapping Medieval Rome, which will recapture an urban network of surveillance and power and bring to virtual life buried histories of the Eternal City.