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

E. M. Beranger


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).


earthen contructions;Middle liri Valley (Italy);antiseismic houses

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X