Read the Beforeitsnews.com story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Alton Parrish (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Now:
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:
Total:

Lost City Of Ostia Found, Ancient Harbor Supplied Rome With Wheat

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


 

 

 
Archaeologists have unearthed the great ancient monuments of Ostia, but the location of the harbour which supplied Rome with wheat remained to be discovered. Thanks to sedimentary cores, this « lost » harbour has eventually been located northwest of the city of Ostia, on the left bank of the mouth of the Tiber. Stratigraphy has revealed that at its foundation, between the 4th and 2nd century BC, the basin was deeper than 6.5 m, the depth of a seaport.
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. 
 
Shrine of Attis at Ostia  
Credit: Wikipedia
 
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. 
 
Aerial view of Ostia and the position of its ancient harbor basin clogged (the first plan). To the left of the picture, the Tiber flows along the Imperial Palace. Red coring sites.

Credit:  © S. Keay

 
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.

A French-Italian team led by Jean-Philippe Goiran, CNRS researcher, has tried to definitely verify the hypothetical location of the harbour, by using a new geological corer. This technology solves the problem of groundwater which makes this area rather difficult for archeologists to excavate beyond 2 m deep.

 
Inscription at the main gate of Ostia 
Credit: Wikipedia

Two sediment cores have been extracted, showing a complete 12 m depth stratigraphy and the evolution of the harbour zone in 3 steps:

 
(1) 1 – The deepest stratum, before the foundation of Ostia, indicates that the sea was present in that area in the early 1st millennium BC.

(2) 2- A middle layer, rich in grey silty-clay sediments, shows a typical harbour facies. According to calculations, the basin had a depth of 6.5 m at the beginning of its operation (dated between the 4th and 2d centuries BC). Previously considered as a river harbour that can only accommodate low draft boats, Ostia actually enjoyed a deep basin capable of receiving deep draft marine ships.

(3) 3 – Finally, the most recent stratum, composed of massive alluvium accumulations, shows the abandonment of the basin during the Roman imperial period. With radiocarbon dates, it is possible to deduce that a succession of major Tiber floods episodes of the Tiber finally came to seal the harbour of Ostia between the 2nd century BC and the 1st quarter of the 1st century AD (and this despite possible phases of dredging). At that time, the depth of the basin was less than 1 m and made any navigation impossible. It was then abandoned in favor of a new harbour complex built 3 km north of the Tiber mouth, called Portus. This alluvium layer fits with the geographer Strabo’s text (58 BC – 21/25 AD) who indicated the sealing of the harbour basin by sediments of the Tiber at that time (Geographica, 231-232).

The discovery of the river mouth harbour of Ostia, north of the city and west of the Imperial Palace, will help better understand the links between Ostia, its harbour and the ex-nihilo settling of Portus, initiated in 42 AD and completed in 64 AD under the reign of Nero. This gigantic 200 ha wide complex became the harbour of Rome and the largest ever built by the Romans in the Mediterranean.

Between the abandonment of the port of Ostia and the construction of Portus, researchers estimate that nearly 25 years have passed. Rome was the capital of the ancient Roman world and the first city to reach one million inhabitants. So how was it supplied with wheat during that period? The question arises now researchers.

 
This research was carried out by a French-Italian team of the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée (CNRS / Université Lumière Lyon 2), the Ecole Française de Rome and Speciale per i Beni Soprintendenza Archeologici di Roma – Sede di Ostia (1) and will be published in the Chroniques des Mélanges de l’Ecole Française de Rome in December 2012.

(1) This work was also carried out in collaboration with the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme (CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université), the Universita Roma 3, the Institut Universitaire de France and received the support of the ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche).

 
Contact and sources:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)

Citation: J.-Ph. Goiran, F. Salomon, E. Pleuger, C. Vittori, I. Mazzini, G. Boetto, P. Arnaud, A. Pellegrino, décembre 2012, “Résultats préliminaires de la première campagne de carottages dans le port antique d’Ostie”, Chroniques des Mélanges de l’Ecole Française de Rome, vol. n°123-2.



Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!


Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://mitocopper.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST


Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://www.herbanomic.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST


Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse
Loading...

    Comments

    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    MOST RECENT
    Load more ...

    SignUp

    Login

    Newsletter

    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.