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Read, Watch and Listen

(Photo: Portus Project)

Outreach: We have been keen to share the results of our research from the start of the Portus Project, both within the academic community and beyond. Our outreach strategy was planned around international press conferences and public lectures in Italy, France and the UK, while project results featured in a widely aired programme made by the BBC and Discovery US. All of this has raised the profile of the site and stimulated interest at the local and international level. We have hosted many guided visits by interested amateurs, academics, local landowners, school children, US and Italian university students and members of foreign academies. In the UK we have also involved local school children in the project.  We were also visited by HRH Princess Alexandra in 2008, and on several occasions by HM Ambassador to Italy.

Rome (Photo: Simon Keay/Portus Project)

Raising Awareness of Portus: One of the academic impacts of the projects has been a raised awareness of the significance of Portus in discussions as to how Rome’s commercial and administrative influence was mediated across the Mediterranean basin. Another has focused upon the role of Computer Graphic Imagery in the archaeological interpretation process and in communicating this with interested users. Our work has also had considerable impact beyond academia. Our stakeholders have included our colleagues within the Italian Archaeological Superintendancy of Rome, with whom we are sharing practice on the recording and visualization of complex archaeological sites for the public, companies such as Microsoft Research, whose products have been trialled at Portus, and tour companies who are interested in including the site on their itineraries. The project has also facilitated the leveraging of additional research grant applications in the UK and beyond.

(Portus Project/UC Berkeley/Moscow State University/MSR)

Knowledge Exchange: One aim of the Portus Project has been to develop and enhance collaborations between academic and other organisations and individuals. This includes the development and application of digital methods of value both to the Portus Project and to industrial, government and third sector partners. For example, we worked with L-P: Archaeology to develop and test the functionality of their new ARK database. These developments have fed into their other commercial and research contracts. The project has also worked with Microsoft Research (MSR) on areas such as data capture, research data management and publication and learning technologies.

(Photo: Hembo Pagi/ Portus Project)

Initiatives Arising from the Portus Project: Our interest in linking archaeological research practice to education has developed most recently with work on virtual fieldwork and online learning. This falls under the aegis of the Portus Field School, a University of Southampton initiative arising from the Portus Project. For example, we are developing tools to provide access to field learning for disabled students, in partnership with colleagues in Geology, Geography and Oceanography. Most recently we have been developing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in partnership with FutureLearn focused on Portus, the Roman Mediterranean, and related archaeological practice.

(Photo Portus Project)

Research Theme 4

Although people were central to the life of any port, there is very little archaeological evidence for the inhabitants of Portus, or indeed many Roman Mediterranean ports, aside from occasional tombstones. Anthropological analyses of c. 43 inhumation burials of c. 6th c AD date from our excavations points to a predominantly male population involved in heavy physical labour with a heavy carbohydrate diet - a finding borne out from analyses of 3rd c AD burials nearby. On-going oxygen isotope evidence is investigating the possible origins of these people, as well as their foodstuffs. An idea of their cultural practices is coming from the table-wares and kitchen wares that they used, as well as from chance finds of rings and other personal possessions.

Self-portrait of Jack Ephgrave, 1931.

EP01-201 ©2013 Adrienne Livesey, Elaine Ryder and Irene Brien.

1931: An early ‘selfie’: Jack was at work in the BCC Printing Department when he took this photograph in a mirror, one of several self portraits which show how far he thought of himself as a photographer, not simply a snapshotter.​

Mr Pulman in the Artists' Department, British Cigarette Company, 1931

EP02-124. © 2013 Adrienne Livesey, Elaine Ryder and Irene Brien.

BCC’s designers at work. On the wall at the rear is a poster advertising ‘Jinbu’ – ‘Progress’ – cigarettes: two modern young women, smoking, ride a wheelbarrow. Just above them an aircraft can be glimpsed, climbing skywards. Tobacco advertising proved a powerful driving force in the development of a new urban Chinese visual culture. Ephgrave systematically photographed these talented, and now well-known, artists at work, and also documented the company’s modern printing and photographic machinery.​

The BCC and Pudong, looking towards river from the Artists's Department, 1929.

Ep02-123.  © 2013 Adrienne Livesey, Elaine Ryder and Irene Brien.

1929: Framed by two of the BCC plant’s buildings, this shot shows an ocean liner, being passed by the Libia, an Italian warship. Ephgrave took care to catch the angles of the staircases and of the plant’s sheds, composing an almost abstract study out of the technologies of power, coercion and capital.​

Workers at the B.C.C. factory, Pudong, c.1932.

Ep01-630.  © 2013 Adrienne Livesey, Elaine Ryder and Irene Brien.

Another nicely-composed shot, of factory hands gathered outside a plant office, probably taken from inside the printing department. British American Tobacco was the republican Chinese state’s single biggest taxpayer. It faced stiff competition in the cigarette market from Chinese-owned firms, which marketed their wares as ‘National Products’, and labelled buyers of British or other foreign goods as unpatriotic. Labour relations in Pudong could be difficult too because the area – and the unions – were largely controlled by very powerful gangsters.​