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Ancient earthen constructions and antiseismic dwellings: Boni's project after the earthquake of 13th January 1915 (Avezzano, Italy)

Author(s): E. M. Beranger

Journal: Annals of Geophysics
ISSN 1593-5213

Volume: 38;
Issue: 5-6;
Date: 1995;
Original page

Keywords: earthen contructions | Middle liri Valley (Italy) | antiseismic houses

After the earthquake of 13th January 1915, the archaeologist Giacomo Boni (1859-1925), inspired by ancient building techniques. proposed the reconstruction of Marsica and the Middle Liri Valley with earthen dwellings. With the cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, he organized an exhibition where he collected samples of vegetal trellises which were an essential support to implement these techniques. Furthermore, he rebuilt two huts on the Palatine (Orti Farnesiani): one rectangular, the other circular, inspired by terracotta urns which he himself had discovered a few years earlier exploring the famous ancient tombs in the Forum Romanum, near the temple of Antonino and Faustina, by the Via Sacra. Boni's unusual proposal was intended as an alternative to the plans put forward by seismic engineering which was developing in Italy at that time. This is a prime example of a clash between two different outlooks and cultures (humanism versus science) each of which claimed to offer solutions to attenuate the effect of earthquakes. We have so far been unable to establish whether any earthen dwellings were actually constructed in Marsica or the surroundings of Sora for the survivors of the earthquake of 13th January 1915. Unfortunately, only one of the many houses built with this technique. still existing in the Soran countryside can be dated (1924).
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