Overview of the Exhibition:

From January 13 to February 24, 2006 at the Duderstadt center on the University of Michigan north campus, the Kelsey Museum mounted an exhibition on the Roman site of Antioch of Pisidia in Asia Minor (Turkey)—a Hellenistic city refounded by Augustus in 25 BC as a Roman colony. Located along a strategic overland artery between Syria and the western coast of Asia Minor, Pisidian Antioch served Rome’s military needs but also presented a striking symbol, from the Roman perspective, of the benefits that Roman civilization provided to local populations. The city is best known to the modern world as a destination on the first missionary journey of St. Paul and Barnabas in the 1st century AD, recounted in the Book of Acts.

In 1924 Francis W. Kelsey launched an expedition to Antioch. In just one season Kelsey’s team uncovered several impressive structures along with many inscriptions and other artifacts. An imperial cult sanctuary originally dedicated to Augustus included a triumphal arch displaying the first emperor’s account of his own deeds (Res Gestae). An elaborate city gate adjoined an imposing fortification wall. Colonnaded streets led past a large theater to the imperial sanctuary and beyond to a fountain house and bath complex, both fed by a massive aqueduct. The team also uncovered remains of two churches.

After 1924 it was not until the 1980s that Turkish and other archaeological teams resumed work at the site. Survey and excavation continue to the present day. “Building a New Rome” displays archival photographs and documents, as well as artifacts from Antioch in the Kelsey collections, setting the findings of Michigan’s 1924 excavation against more recent developments and pointing toward future work at the site.

Held at the Duderstadt Center Gallery on North Campus, the exhibition featured a physical model created with a 3-D printer. Digital reconstructions of the buildings and topography projected on three screens will take the viewer on a journey through the virtual city. The large scale of the three-screen projection conveyed a sense of the original monumentality of the site and the character of its setting. Kiosks, located throughout the exhibition, allowed visitors to explore each virtual building on a smaller scale. At scheduled times the “CAVE,” located in the Duderstadt Center, offered a walk-in, fully three-dimensional experience of Antioch.

With the close of the Duderstadt phase of the exhibition, all of the text, images, and movies, as well as considerable additional content is to be arranged into the permanent, online version of "Building a New Rome: The Imerial Colony of Pisidian Antioch, 25 BC to 700 AD."