Monday, September 12, 2011

New archaeological survey at Ostia

Via the excellent RogueClassicism, we have news of a major survey project at the port of ancient Rome, Ostia:
The remains of a harbour city that was one of the most important ports in Ancient Rome is to undergo a major surveying project that will allow for complete verification of its established control points and a new GNSS-based coordinate system.

Ostia Antica, which is sited at the mouth of the Tiber River and is a major Roman archaeological site, was prioritised for the survey by the Superintendent of the Archaeological Heritage of Rome due to its historic importance.

The city was founded in 620 BC as a military base and, as Rome's importance throughout the Mediterranean grew, became the main emporium of Rome, housing a number of important civic buildings.

The results of the survey will aid with the management and planning of archaeological projects at the site in the future. Surveyors have said that the additional information will help with the preservation of the location's well-preserved ancient buildings, frescos and mosaics.

Precision surveying equipment will be used to check and enhance the control points that currently exist in the site, and will expand the network of points further into the site.
Just as a clarification, the port was called Ostia.  Now, as an ancient and, indeed active archaeological site, it is called Ostia Antica both to indicate that this was the site of ancient Ostia and to differentiate it from modern Ostia ("antica" = ancient).  The mouth of the Tiber and, to be sure, the Tiber River itself has moved considerably since ancient times, with the ancient river bed now dry and the Mediterranean coast a few miles away.

I visited Ostia during my trip to Rome last spring.  Took hundreds of pictures since I knew very little about this site.  The best one is below:

What can I say? Animals love me!

We were taking a break at the amphitheater in Ostia when a cat started mingling with us, and decided to sit and relax on my foot.  She was adorable, as pretty much all cats are.  When our tour group moved on, I hated getting up and making her leave. 

OK, OK, that's not really fair.  That is the best picture but it doesn't give much of a sense of Ostia.  Here is a one from the top of the amphitheater:

The amphitheater at Ostia Antica
Just imagine watching a play there. So cool.

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