Destruction of Rome
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Rodolfo Lanciani was an archaeologist who produced "unsurpassed" plans of Ancient Rome.
Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani (1845 - 1929) was an Italian archaeologist, a pioneering student of ancient Roman topography, and among his many excavations was that of the House of the Vestals in the Roman Forum.

Ancient Rome
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Lanciani's great work was the production of a map of the ancient city of Rome.

The work was realized as a set of 46 very detailed maps of ancient Rome issued in 1893-1901, which remains unsurpassed to this day, even if there have been many new discoveries since.
Rodolfo wondered how Roman pavements became buried 10 to 15 feet below street level.
We now enter the Via del Banco di S. Spirito, Via dei Banchi Vecchi, and Via del Pellegrino, all ancient as shown by the remains of Roman basaltic pavement which are constantly discovered under the modern pavement at a depth varying from ten to fifteen feet.

The Destruction of Ancient Rome - Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani - 1901

Sack of Rome
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Rodolfo wondered what force could demolish a palace and then remove the rubble.
I was trying to fathom the abyss which lay open at my feet, and to reconstruct in imagination the former aspect of the place. By measurements on the spot, compared with descriptions and drawings left by those who saw the Palatine in a better state of preservation, I have been able to ascertain that a palace 490 feet long, 390 wide, and 160 high has so completely disappeared that only a few pieces of crumbling wall are left here and there against the cliff to tell the tale.

Who broke up and removed, bit by bit, that mountain of masonry ?

Who overthrew the giant ?

Was it age, the elements, the hand of barbarians, or some other irresistible force the action of which has escaped observation ?

The Destruction of Ancient Rome - Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani - 1901

Excavated Forum
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Rodolfo Lanciani concluded that Barbarians were not responsible for the disappearance of Roman monuments in his native city of Rome.
Writers on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire have proposed several explanations, all of which are plausible ; all contain elements of truth.

But at the outset we may discard the current view that the disappearance of Roman monuments was due to the barbarians - as if these, in their meteoric inroads, could have amused themselves by pulverizing the 250,000 feet of stone and marble seats in the Circus, for example, or the massive structure of the villa of the Gordiani !

The Destruction of Ancient Rome - Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani - 1901

Flooded Forum
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Hopefully, before another century passes, academia will open it's eyes and it's mind...