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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsGRAEME EARL: Now, after five weeks, you've had plenty of time to look at the variety of finds from Portus. We started with ceramics like amphorae from Tripolitania, modern Libya, which mark out long distance connections across the Mediterranean. Closer to home, we also looked at brick stamps, evidence for the large scale manufacturing of building materials for Rome that took place all along the Tiber Valley. In week three, we thought about the appearance of buildings and also their decoration with marble. We learned that Portus orchestrated the movement of the marble required to create some of the most impressive buildings of the Roman world via the now rather unassuming statio marmorum, or marble yard, which lies just south of the hexagon harbour basin.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 secondsLast week, we learned about the other evidence for the decoration of rooms in our buildings, such as mosaic fragments and wall plaster. We also thought about Roman shipping by studying metal artefacts like nails, as well as their specific conservation needs. This week, we thought a lot more about how we know what to do with all these different finds, how we analyse them, and introduced a few more types, including human bones. Simon talked about religion and a very personal item of jewellery. Penny showed us how vital the organisation and exact recording and identification of these finds is, and Hembo showed off just a few of the many methods that we use to analyse them.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 secondsThis week also saw us enter the last phase of Portus life as a functioning port in the fifth to seventh centuries. And we looked at the beautiful Basilica Portuense Church at this time. Next week, we'll bring all the material and methods together and start making some broader interpretations. We'll think about all the archaeological and other information operating at different scales, and also how it changed through time and in different locations. See you in Italy next week.

Summary of the week

Next week you will come and visit the site with us as it was during recent fieldwork. We will be sharing more content that we filmed and photographed on site.

Discussion topic

To finish this week we would like you to reflect on your first imagined arrival at Portus. In the First Century discussion step Graeme asked you to imagine yourself as a provincial traveller coming to the port for the first time in the mid-1st century AD, the time of Claudius. Have a look back at what you wrote in week one.

We would like you now to pick the phase of the site that has most interested you - perhaps the time of Claudius again, or Trajan’s expansion or a later period of change or decline. Describe again your arrival by sea or by land. What is the experience like? What kind of buildings would you find in the port? What are the people doing?

To remind you of our current architectural impression of the site, Here is one of our latest CGI views of the harbour from the period of the site’s history that we covered this week. Remember that this is just one interpretation of many possibilities, and also it doesn;t capture many of the aspects of the port that may be of most interest to you - the people at the site, the goods transported, the smells and sounds, and so on.

CGI overview of the site from Period 6 - Grant Cox; the model data for the Trajanic warehouses in the bottom right was provided by Remi Fabro and Evelyne Bukowiecki

CGI overview of the site from Period 6 - Grant Cox; the model data for the Trajanic warehouses in the bottom right was provided by Remi Fabro and Evelyne Bukowiecki © University of Southampton

As ever, feel free to share links to visual or other representations of your imagined arrival via the comments. This way we can together develop a collage of the elements that together make up “your” Portus.

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This video is from the free online course:

Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome

University of Southampton

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