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Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II launches excavation at Caesar’s Forum in Rome

“On Thursday 26th October, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, has launched a forthcoming archeological excavation at the antique Caesar’s Forum in Rome. The Carlsberg Foundation is financing the entire Danish contribution to the excavation, which is being accomplished in cooperation with Italian authorities and is one of the most prestigious digs ever for Danish archeologists to have been involved with.

Caesar’s Forum is placed close to the renowned Forum Romanum. However, Caesar’s Forum has never been fully excavated. The probability of making some very interesting findings is thus very high and the public attention to the excavation equally so.

Climax for Danish archeology in Italy

During her visit, The Queen will be presented to the archeological project, which has been scheduled to last three years. Representatives of the Danish Institute in Rome, the Antique Authorities of the Roman municipality “Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali” as well as Jan Kindberg Jacobsen from Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and professor and leader of “Centre for Urban Network Evolutions” at Aarhus University Rubina Raja will present the excavation site and plans for the partnership. In that context, The Queen will view the Venus Genetrix temple at Caesar’s Forum, as well as the new excavation site, which is also expected to contain a plentiful burial site from the centuries prior to Rome’s foundation in 753 BC.

“For the past decades, Danish archeologists, with the support of the Carlsberg Foundation, have completed essential excavations in Central and Southern Italy. Participating in the excavation at Caesar’s Forum in Rome marks a climax to Danish archeological research in Italy. Without a doubt, the excavation will deliver crucial new findings, contributing to the understanding of Caesar’s Forum, as well as central Roman development from prehistoric time and up until the Middle Ages. The project has a special focus on applying scientific methods to complex archeological material, and the Danish PhD students and postdocs affiliated to the project will work side by side with some of Italy’s most skilled archeologists and conservators during the project period”, says leader of the Danish part of the project, Jan Kindberg Jacobsen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.

The Carlsberg Foundation’s archeological involvement is historic

With the Carlsberg Foundation DKK 11 million grant for the excavation at Caesar’s Forum, the Foundation’s commitment and importance for Danish and international archeology is emphasized.

The archeological involvement of the Carlsberg Foundation goes all the way back its founder I.C. Jacobsen and his son Carl, who, among many others of their time, entertained an intense interest in Antiquity, its ideals and arts. The interests of Carl Jacobsen resulted in the foundation of the New Carlsberg Glyptotek, which is home to one of the worlds’ largest collections of Greek and Roman sculptures today.

“The Carlsberg Foundation has, since the time of the two brewers, continuously contributed to developing Danish archeology to the very high standard enjoyed by the field today. The foundation has taken part in building the good reputation of Danish archeology, which is an essential part of the reason why a team of Danish archeologists has been allowed to excavate at one of the most important locations of antique Rome”, says Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation, who along with i.a. director of the Danish Institute in Rome Marianne Pade and the two leaders of the Danish part of the project Jan Kindberg Jacobsen and Rubina Raja will escort The Queen around Caesar’s Forum.

The Queen will hand over prize and fellowship instituted by the Carlsberg Foundation

Apart from visiting Caesar’s Forum, HM The Queen will join the annual celebration of The Danish Institute on Friday evening, which this year marks the 50 years of the home to the institute, the Kay Fisker building. The Queen will hand over “Queen Margrethe II’s Roman Prize” and “HM Queen Margrethe II’s Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Danish Academy in Rome”. Both prize and fellowship are instituted by and handed out by the Carlsberg Foundation.

Keep up on Friday night when we publish the names of the recipients of the prize and the fellowship on the Carlsberg Foundation website and Twitter.

Visit to Tarquinia

During her visit in Rome, The Queen will also return to the antique landscape of Etruria to visit the town of Tarquinia, where she as a young princess in the late 1950s went on excavation excursions with her grandfather on her mother’s side, the Swedish King Gustav VI Adolf. The King and The Princess shared their passion for archeology, and in the context of the forthcoming visit The Queen will take a closer look at findings from older and newer excavations.

It was also in Tarquinia that Carl Jacobsen in 1892 visited the painted graves that fascinated him with their colours, but also concerned him due to their progressive decay. The visit turned out to be the beginning of a larger project of reproduction, financed by Carl Jacobsen himself. The project lasted from 1895 to 1913 and resulted in 90 facsimiles, painted 1:1 on canvas. Many of the original wall paintings are now lost so the Jacobsen collection of copies – which can be viewed at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek – is therefore irreplaceable documentation of the development of Etruscan painting during the period from the 6th to the 2nd century BC.