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Archaeologists uncover evidence of large ancient shipyard near Rome

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posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 10:33 AM

University of Southampton and British School at Rome (BSR) archaeologists, leading an international excavation of Portus – the ancient port of Rome, believe they have discovered a large Roman shipyard

The team, working with the Italian Archaeological Superintendancy of Rome, has uncovered the remains of a massive building close to the distinctive hexagonal basin or 'harbour', at the centre of the port complex.

University of Southampton Professor and Portus Project Director, Simon Keay comments,

"At first we thought this large rectangular building was used as a warehouse, but our latest excavation has uncovered evidence that there may have been another, earlier use, connected to the building and maintenance of ships.

"Few Roman Imperial shipyards have been discovered and, if our identification is correct, this would be the largest of its kind in Italy or the Mediterranean."

The huge building the team has discovered dates from the 2nd century AD and would have stood c. 145 metres long and 60 metres wide – an area larger than a football pitch.

In places, its roof was up to 15 metres high, or more than three times the height of a double-decker bus.

Large brick-faced concrete piers or pillars, some three metres wide and still visible in part, supported at least eight parallel bays with wooden roofs.


posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:06 AM
Similar buildings to house triremes and quadriremes have also been found at other classical ports. Athens in particular. Venice has such structures too which are still in use for other purposes, the Arsenale di Venezia. They acted as 'sheds' to protect the oared ships when they were out of the water during the winter, under repair or not needed.

The finding of the Athen's building provided an important clue as the true length of a trireme - which was needed before the modern Greeks built the Olympias a trireme in the classical style a few years ago.

edit on 22/9/11 by Hanslune because: Add in Olympias


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