Studies of the Roman Forum

and the Digital Future of World Heritage



Front cover of "From Pen to Pixel"




History, Civilization, and the Poetry of Documentation

Forum is a consortium for people, cultures, politics, religion, histories, and architecture of all kinds. Ideas, opinions, conflicts, and gossip all formed their firm roots in this place and when combined with exceptional skills created history on many occasions of Western Civilization. One such place, that has been idealized in its tiny footprint is the most revered location in all of history. 

The collaborative work of Prof. Dr. Ing. Krupali Krusche and Dott.ssa Patrizia Fortini for the last ten years with the DHARMA (Digital Historic Architectural Research and Material Analysis) Lab has been recording the Forum as an urban precinct of some of the most important ancient monuments of Italy. This book is supported with a synopsis of never before published drawings with a complete set of measure drawn plans, elevations, and panoramic views of the Forum in 3D point cloud, Gigapan photographs, line drawing, and watercolor formats. And is a precursor to the study and analysis of the urban relationships and new findings in the Forum.


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Efforts to build, rebuild and maintain the Forum Romanum, Rome' s historic urban epicenter, are likely as old as the place it self - some 2800 years. As a result the historic significance and archaeological richness of the Forum cannot be overestimated. Despite its many changes the Forum Romanum' s survival today represents an outstanding example of cultural heritage continuity. Its highest possible protection status among monuments conservation agencies in Italy and its early listing on UNESCO' s World Heritage List in 1980 are testaments to this. Due to its remarkable physical survival, the Forum Romanum has been the object of extensive research, documentation, restoration and preservation efforts over the past two centuries especially. The sophistication of these measures evolved to include a wide range of expertise. Lay interest among antiquarians and architects in Rome' s past from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century was supplanted by the emerging new disciplines of archaeology, architectural restoration and museology. From the late nineteenth century corresponding advancements in archaeological method and conservation theory and science were increasingly applied. From this time on as well, expectations for preserving and presenting the Forum Romanum were high, the famous site being a matter of intense Roman pride, political interest, and serving as a must see' destination for visitors to Rome. Leading historians, archaeologists and conservators have been central to the story of the Forum' s survival and interpretation. While numerous noted antiquarians and historians preceded him the architect and archaeologist Giocomo Boni (1859-1925) was unusual, even prescient, in his approach and treatment of the place during his tenure as director of excavations of the Forum Romanum from 1898 until 1925. His combined talents as an architect, archaeologist and conservator set a standard at the time for careful research, thorough documentation, and responsible conservation measures. The sponsors of the DHARMA conference have wisely chosen to focus on archaeological research and conservation in the Forum during Giacomo Boni' s tenure since his work reflects early best practices' in researching, preserving and interpreting such places. To frame the discussion some precedents and influences of the work of Giacomo Boni are offered.

          Featured Chapters and Discussions      


Roman Forum as today




The Roman Forum in our Civilization

Carroll William Westfall, Part I

"Rome’s buildings old and new teach how to display the greatness of their institutional masters by clothing them with the beauty they deserve. This beauty shines forth from enduring principles of architecture that are not confined by the various stylistic categories of the classical style. People who turn their eyes to Rome to see examples of specific styles fail to perceive the beautiful that is the counterpart to the good and the true."




DHARMA Team surveying the Forum




Continuing the Legacy of Boni

Krupali Krusche, Part I

"Within the field of conservation ethics, these images also present new opportunities to transcend the old dichotomy, personified by Ruskin’s philosophy that “it is impossible […] to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture” versus Viollet-le-Duc’s pragmatic definition of restoration as a means “to re-establish [a building] to a finished state, which may in fact never have actually existed at any given time.” 3D models have the capacity to include the advantages of both philosophies. They can reduce the necessity to intervene on the historic fabric while at the same time allow the public to understand the different historical layers of a site through the creation of different virtual reconstructions."