Roman Port Networks Project
In the first instance the project is using new computer-based techniques to better understand how we can characterize connections between ports. Secondly, it is using these to look at the co-presence of ceramics and marble at a range of key port site as a means of gauging fluctuating trans-Mediterranean connections during the Roman period. One key focus will be the major trade route between Hispalis (Seville) and Gades (Cadiz) in Baetica and Portus and Rome; others will be between Tarraco (Tarragona), Massallia (Marseilles) and key North African ports and Portus.
The project is a collaborative venture that analyses the co-presence of ceramics and marble to explore changing connections between Portus, Rome and selected ports in the Mediterranean at defined chronological periods throughout the imperial period. In particular, it attempts to establish how far this kind of evidence supports the notion that there may have been networks of ports dependant in some way upon Portus, Ostia and Rome, and the degree to which these may have changed through time. While there have been many studies of commercial relationships between ports through the medium of traded materials in recent years, these have tended to focus reading connections to a specific port from its imported materials, or by means of plotting the distribution of ceramic or marble types of known origin. Less frequently, coetaneous ceramic deposits from different port sites have been used as a way of positing commercial connections. The approach taken by this project builds upon the latter and proposes the consistent use of the same techniques of quantification and characterization of amphorae and marble at multiple port sites across the Mediterranean, with a view to arriving at a more statistically robust approach to inter-port comparisons.
This is a collaborative project that involves colleagues from the University of Southampton (Archaeology and Electronics and Computing Science), the Centre Camille Jullian (Université d’Aix-en-Provence), Institut Català d’Arqueologia Classica, the Universities of Oxford, Seville (Departamento de Prehistoria y Arqueología), Cádiz, Leuven, Bologna, Rome La Sapienza, Pisa, the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Napoli e Pompeii, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali, Catania), the Society for Libyan Studies and the Danish National Museum.