Reconstructing a Roman Temple

Graduate student Stephan Zink sees history rising from the ruins.
October 29, 2008

A doctoral student in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World program, Stephan Zink has spent the past four summers conducting fieldwork on-site at what remains of the Temple of Apollo on Rome’s Palatine Hill. Built by Augustus and dedicated in 28 B.C., it is considered by many to be the most personal building project of the Roman Empire’s first emperor.

"When looking at the site, it is hard to imagine that once there stood a temple that was as high as an apartment house with 10 stories." - Stephan Zink

What would become Zink’s dissertation topic—an architectural case study of the temple, including a reconstruction of its ground plan and elevation—began with a request from his advisor, Professor Lothar Haselberger, to measure a single column drum fragment in order to resolve two contradictory sets of documentation dating from the 1950s and ’60s. “Once I was in the field,” Zink explains, “things developed their own dynamic. I realized that the temple remains showed much more potential than anyone had thought.”