The phases of Portus
Periods and phasesWe use the words “periods” and “phases” interchangeably on site. They are both designations for units of archaeological chronology, but are slightly different in nature. A period is a chronological unit of time, a time span defined by dates that is treated as a separate because it shows a unified archaeological record that is markedly different to periods that came before and after. A phase on the other hand is a much more specific unit that is culturally distinct and characterised by specific traits that appear only during that time interval. Usually a period is longer than a phase and it is not uncommon for a period to have a number of phases. For the purposes of this course we will be using the following chronology:
- In week one we concentrate on the Claudian phase, also known as Period One on the Portus Project. This effectively stretches from the beginning of port construction in c. AD 46 until its inauguration under the Emperor Nero in AD 64.
- In week two we will look at the Trajanic phase, or Period Two. This phase covers the development of the port during the reign of the emperor Trajan, with the majority of work probably concentrated between AD 110-117.
- Week three moves us on to the later 2nd century, or Period 3, when we see construction of new massive buildings and reconstruction of ones dating from the earlier phases.
- In week four we focus on the early 3rd century, known as Period 4, and the late 4th and early 5th century, Period 5
- Finally, in week five we reach the end of the port in the late 5th to 6th centuries, Period 6.
Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome
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