Ancient Rome’s first harbour found

Published on December 13th, 2012 | by Sevaan Franks

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A study of sedimentary cores have led archaeologists to the location of Rome’s first harbour, located northwest of the city of Ostia on the Tiber river.

According to ancient texts, Ostia was founded by Ancus Marcius, the 4th king of Rome. This new settlement is supposed to have aimed three goals: to give Rome an outlet to the sea, to ensure its supply of wheat and salt and finally, to prevent an enemy fleet to ascend the Tiber. Archeological excavations showed that the original urban core (castrum) dates back to the turn of the 4th and 3th centuries BC. Major ancient buildings and main roads were progressively revealed, but the location of the Ostia river mouth harbour remained unknown to this day. For some, it was considered as lost forever. Since the Renaissance, many attempts to locate the harbour of Ostia were undertaken without success. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that Italian archaeologists defined an area north-west of the city, near the Imperial Palace. At the turn of the century, archaeologists confirmed the probable location of the basin, in that zone, by using geomagnetic instruments. However there was still no consensus on the exact location of the port and the debate was still alive.

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Story: ScienceDaily | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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