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Portus Project

Images from the Portus Project and the Portus in the Roman Mediterranean Project

Portus was the maritime port of Imperial Rome, and for c. 500 years was the commercial hub that connected the Metropolis to the broader Mediterranean. It was a very large complex covering c. 3.5km2 and which encompassed c. 230.5 Ha of harbour basins and quays, as well as canals, warehouses, temples, churches, houses and administrative buildings.

Since it is also one of the best preserved Roman Mediterranean port sites and now lies inland, it can be readily studied to learn about how it was organized and worked, the richness and volume of traffic and cargoes that passed through it, and the range of its contacts across the Mediterranean. It also presents us with considerable challenges, however, not least in terms of the very large scale of the complex and its buildings, but also in the sheer volume of the finds.

Our recent research at the site consists of two inter-related AHRC-funded initiatives, the Portus Project (2007-2011) and the Portus in the Roman Mediterranean Project (2011-2014). Both of these have involved the University of Southampton, the British School at Rome, the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma and the University of Cambridge, as well as a range of other partners in the UK and Europe. We have adopted an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of Portus, with techniques ranging from field archaeology to computing, the physical anthropology and biological profiling of human skeletons, geo-archaeology and environmental analysis. The training of students in many of these and other techniques has been a key feature of the projects.

Learn more about the Portus Project (opens in new window)  

  • Image of (Photo: Simon Keay/ Portus Project)​
    (Photo: Simon Keay/ Portus Project)​ about (Photo: Simon Keay/ Portus Project)​
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    (Photo: Simon Keay/ Portus Project) about (Photo: Simon Keay/ Portus Project)
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    (Photo: Simon Keay/Portus Project) about (Photo: Simon Keay/Portus Project)
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    (Photo: Simon Keay/Portus Project) about (Photo: Simon Keay/Portus Project)
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    (Photo: Penny Copeland/ Portus Project) about (Photo: Penny Copeland/ Portus Project)
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    (Photo: Hembo Pagi/Portus Project) about (Photo: Hembo Pagi/Portus Project)
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    (Photo: Simon Keay/Portus Project) about (Photo: Simon Keay/Portus Project)
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    (Photo: Hembo Pagi/Portus Project) about (Photo: Hembo Pagi/Portus Project)
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  • Image of (Photo: Geert Verhoeven/ Portus Project)
    (Photo: Geert Verhoeven/ Portus Project) about (Photo: Geert Verhoeven/ Portus Project)
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    (James Miles/Matthew HarrisonGrant Cox/Portus Project) about (James Miles/Matthew HarrisonGrant Cox/Portus Project)
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    (Photo: Hembo Pagi/ Portus Project) about (Photo: Hembo Pagi/ Portus Project)