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The Inland-Port of Ostia

Within the DFG-focus-program 1630 „Ports from the Roman Imperial Age to the Middle Ages“, a research project investigating the inland-port of Ostia has been begun in 2012. Based on results of a previous project on the investigation on the unexcavated areas of Ostia, further research on the ancient inland-port is conducted in two selected areas: on the one hand in the western Regio III, where excavations in 2000/2001 have already proven a port basin flanking the Temple-Navalia-Complex, and on the other hand in the northern part of Regio II, where larger parts of the ancient river bank could possibly still be preserved. The project aims on the comprehensive geophysical investigation (sedimentary analyses, coring, etc.), detailed geophysical prospections and selected stratigraphic excavations. It aims on gaining a better understanding on the almost unknown inland-port of Ostia and to also get a better insight in the complex imperial port system in the Tiber river mouth by exchange with the English Portus-project.

One of the preliminarily most important results is the proof of an older lagoon port right behind the ancient Tiber river mouth in Regio III. It was probably in use a lot earlier than the Castrum of Ostia, which was founded in the late 4th century BC. Thus, it can be assumed that the long looked-for preceding settlement of archaic times may be located in the vicinity of the lagoon port. The lagoon port was probably abandoned due to a tsunami event around the beginning of imperial times and replaced by a smaller inland-port basin and the Temple-Navalia-Complex.



  • Stefanie Steidle



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