Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New city wall discovered at ancient Roman port

Date:
April 17, 2014
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously estimated.

Researchers from the universities of Southampton and Cambridge have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously estimated.

A team, led by Professor Simon Keay (Southampton) and Professor Martin Millet (Cambridge), has been conducting a survey of an area of land lying between Ostia and another Roman port called Portus -- both about thirty miles from Rome, Italy's capital city. The work has been undertaken as part of the Southampton led 'Portus Project', in collaboration with the British School at Rome and the Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Roma.

Previously, scholars thought that the Tiber formed the northern edge of Ostia, however this new research, using geophysical survey techniques to examine the site, has shown that Ostia's city wall also continued on the other side of the river. The researchers have shown this newly discovered area enclosed three huge, previously unknown warehouses -- the largest of which was the size of a football pitch.

Director of the Portus Project, Professor Simon Keay says, "Our research not only increases the known area of the ancient city, but it also shows that the Tiber bisected Ostia, rather than defining its northern side.

"The presence of the warehouses along the northern bank of the river provides us with further evidence for the commercial activities that took place there in the first two centuries."

The researchers have been using an established technique known as magnetometry, which involves systematically and rapidly scanning the landscape with small handheld instruments in order to identify localised magnetic anomalies relating to buried ancient structures. These are then mapped out with specialised computer software, providing images similar to aerial photographs, which can be interpreted by archaeologists.

In antiquity, the landscape in this recent study was known as the Isola Sacra and was surrounded by a major canal to the north, the river Tiber to the east and south, and the Tyrrhenian sea to the west. At the southernmost side of the Isola Sacra, the geophysical survey revealed very clear evidence for the town wall of Roman Ostia, interspersed by large towers several metres thick, and running east to west for about half a kilometre. In an area close by, known to archaeologists as the Trastevere Ostiense, the team also found very clear evidence for at least four major buildings.

Professor Keay comments: "Three of these buildings were probably warehouses that are similar in layout to those that have been previously excavated at Ostia itself, however the newly discovered buildings seem to be much larger. In addition, there is a massive 142 metre by 110 metre fourth building -- composed of rows of columns running from north to south, but whose function is unknown.

"Our results are of major importance for our understanding of Roman Ostia and the discoveries will lead to a major re-think of the topography of one of the iconic Roman cities in the Mediterranean."

For more information about the Portus Project, visit www.portusproject.org


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "New city wall discovered at ancient Roman port." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417090538.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2014, April 17). New city wall discovered at ancient Roman port. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417090538.htm
University of Southampton. "New city wall discovered at ancient Roman port." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417090538.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A 380-million-year-old fish may be the first creature to have copulative sex - and it was side by side with arms linked, like square dancers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins