Fos-Ostie-Portus: Harbours of Roman Antiquity

Project Acronym: FOSPHORA

Topics: Heritage, Environment, Cartography, Topography, Antiquity

Disciplinary Fields: Coastal and Port Archaeology, Geomorphology

Summary: The objective of the FOSPHORA project is the comparative study of the structures of two of the most important ports of the Roman Mediterranean: the complex of Ostia-Portus, port of Rome, and Fossae Marianae, the maritime outpost of the city of Arles, whose currently visible remains are in very different forms. On the one hand, the abundance of springs on Ostia-Portus makes it a laboratory for the study of ancient ports. The complexity of the imperial port requires research to clarify the circulation within it. The wealth of documentation (inscriptions, archives) sheds light on the relationship between the city of Ostia and Portus which depends on it. On the other hand, in Fos, despite the number of remains found, the topography of the port area and the route of the canal that linked it to the city of Arles are very poorly defined.

The ambition of the project is therefore to improve the knowledge of the location of the structures and the functioning of the ports in their natural and man-made environment in Roman antiquity. It also intends to contribute to the protection and promotion of these areas by making the general public aware of the stakes of the heritage that they represent.

Project Interlocutor: Marie-Brigitte Carre (CCJ, UMR 7299)

Mediterranean Cooperation:
– France: Centre Camille Jullian ; Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Géosciences de l’Environnement ; Temps, Espaces, Langages, Europe Méridionale – Méditerranée ; École française de Rome ; Institut National de Recherches archéologiques préventives ; Département des Recherches archéologiques sous-marines et Subaquatiques du Ministère de la Culture ; Le bureau d’étude IPSO FACTO ; Métropole Aix-Marseille Provence (Territoire Istres Ouest Provence) et Association les Amis des Marais du Vigueirat
– Italy: Sapienza Università di Roma ; Parco archeologico di Ostia antica
– United Kingdom: University of Southampton

Project Duration: 02/01/2020 – 04/30/2022

Call of Proposal: Méditerranée 2018

Photography Credits: Fosphora


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