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ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

"Roman Emperors, Ships and Commerce: inter-disciplinary research at Portus 2011-2012" Event

18:00 - 19:00
9 October 2012
Turner Sims Highfield Campus University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this event, please email Tracy Storey at .

Event details

A lecture given by Professor Simon Keay that will link with the BBC television documentary with which he has been closely involved. The lecture will be chaired by Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor.

Portus, the maritime port of Imperial Rome, was an entirely artificial creation and one of the great engineering feats of the ancient world. Recent work at Portus has produced results that promise to change our understanding of its purpose at different periods of antiquity. It now seems that the early port that was established by the emperor Claudius was used primarily as an anchorage to supplement the commercial capacity of the nearby river port of Ostia. Its enlargement under Trajan in the early 2nd century AD, by contrast, may have been an attempt to more closely control the supply of food and other material to Rome as well as providing infrastructure for the repair of military or commercial ships that were central to the functioning of the port. In the lead up to the period of Byzantine domination in Italy, by contrast, the port seems to much of its commercial functions, while gaining importance as an ecclesiastical centre. Since Portus was the maritime port of Imperial Rome, these advances are of importance to our understanding of Rome's relationship to the Mediterranean. The research underpinning this work has been inter-disciplinary, involving such scientific techniques as geophysics, geo-archaeology, computer-based visualization and the study of human remains, as well as more traditional archaeological approaches, and involving colleagues from Southampton, Cambridge and Lyon.

The documentary "The Roman Empire: What lies Beneath" will be aired soon on BBC1.

This lecture was recorded, please follow this link to watch Professor Keay give the lecture.

Speaker information

Professor Simon Keay

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