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Geoarchaeology of the Roman port-city of Ostia: fluvio-coastal mobility, urban development and resilience

Geoarchaeology of the Roman port-city of Ostia: fluvio-coastal mobility, urban development and resilience
Geoarchaeology of the Roman port-city of Ostia: fluvio-coastal mobility, urban development and resilience
Ostia is one of the most extensively excavated cities of the Roman period. The port-city of Rome, which today lies 4 km from the coastline, was established in a very constrained environment at the mouth of the River Tiber. Based on a review of the geoarchaeological and archaeological research at Ostia, 4 new cores analysed through palaeoenvionmental methods, and 21 new radiocarbon dates, we propose a new model of the fluvio-coastal landscape of Ostia from its origin: (1) the coastline shifted rapidly westward between the 8th and the 6th c. BC followed by a slow progradation and possible erosion phases until the end of the 1st c. AD; (2) the castrum of Ostia (c. late 4th–early 3rd c. BC) was founded away from the river mouth but close to the River Tiber; (3) between the 4th and the 1st c. BC, the River Tiber shifted from a position next to the castrum, below the northern Imperial cardo of Ostia, to 150 m to the north; (4) a possible harbour was established to the north of the castrum during the Republican period; (5) the city expanded and a district was built over the harbour and the palaeochannel between the Republican period and the beginning of the 2nd c. AD, showing that Ostia was a dynamic and resilient city during that time. Finally, we suggest the possibility to combine urban fabric analysis (structure orientations) and palaeoenvironmental analysis for reconstructing the evolution of the city in relation to the fluvio-coastal mobility.
Geoarchaeology, Roman city, Palaeoenvironment, Urban fabric, Resilience, Ostia, River Tiber, Tiber River, Tiber delta, Port, fluvio-coastal, Landscape
0012-8252
265-283
Salomon, Ferreol
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Goiran, Jean-Philippe
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Noirot, Brice
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Pleuger, Elisa
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Buckowiecki, Evelyne
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Mazzini, Ilaria
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Carbonel, Pierre
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Gadhoum, Ahmed
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Arnaud, Pascal
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Keay, Simon
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Zampini, Sabrina
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Kay, Stephen
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Raddi, Michele
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Ghelli, Alessandra
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Pellegrino, Angelo
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Morelli, Cinzia
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Germoni, Paola
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Salomon, Ferreol
728f3798-6cd0-45eb-bd09-25ea7159769e
Goiran, Jean-Philippe
0cae676a-890b-4b79-addf-85bc2ef7f8f1
Noirot, Brice
08f2fd9c-bdd2-40f4-be89-3e55e7dd9bf0
Pleuger, Elisa
0aaf39d7-6b44-4f47-a11c-78e96ce2ef9b
Buckowiecki, Evelyne
eff45486-2ef6-409d-a2f5-ba426c7f9e4f
Mazzini, Ilaria
3a67bcb2-ec6c-485e-8cd6-b5e8aa2436a5
Carbonel, Pierre
7299cdef-c7b8-4315-b62f-580e14dadcb0
Gadhoum, Ahmed
b6576685-2165-4278-896d-277f53d0ae38
Arnaud, Pascal
f93ca4af-9a0e-4ce1-82a6-7c78d7f1ce2d
Keay, Simon
52b4cdfd-fc5e-4fa0-bd3e-8dd896624f41
Zampini, Sabrina
b2e2d962-4b6e-45cb-9507-974e38b805a7
Kay, Stephen
b3fc6474-c911-47f0-a755-2561e78463cb
Raddi, Michele
186a1612-8e88-44ed-8de1-eeee48314b36
Ghelli, Alessandra
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Pellegrino, Angelo
61bbc66d-2088-4542-be62-7a146c4cdd50
Morelli, Cinzia
770b4df2-62b8-4118-99bd-0cced4829cac
Germoni, Paola
58c74460-5676-40c5-8243-6efaab96d8d7

Salomon, Ferreol, Goiran, Jean-Philippe, Noirot, Brice, Pleuger, Elisa, Buckowiecki, Evelyne, Mazzini, Ilaria, Carbonel, Pierre, Gadhoum, Ahmed, Arnaud, Pascal, Keay, Simon, Zampini, Sabrina, Kay, Stephen, Raddi, Michele, Ghelli, Alessandra, Pellegrino, Angelo, Morelli, Cinzia and Germoni, Paola (2018) Geoarchaeology of the Roman port-city of Ostia: fluvio-coastal mobility, urban development and resilience. Earth-Science Reviews, 177, 265-283.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Ostia is one of the most extensively excavated cities of the Roman period. The port-city of Rome, which today lies 4 km from the coastline, was established in a very constrained environment at the mouth of the River Tiber. Based on a review of the geoarchaeological and archaeological research at Ostia, 4 new cores analysed through palaeoenvionmental methods, and 21 new radiocarbon dates, we propose a new model of the fluvio-coastal landscape of Ostia from its origin: (1) the coastline shifted rapidly westward between the 8th and the 6th c. BC followed by a slow progradation and possible erosion phases until the end of the 1st c. AD; (2) the castrum of Ostia (c. late 4th–early 3rd c. BC) was founded away from the river mouth but close to the River Tiber; (3) between the 4th and the 1st c. BC, the River Tiber shifted from a position next to the castrum, below the northern Imperial cardo of Ostia, to 150 m to the north; (4) a possible harbour was established to the north of the castrum during the Republican period; (5) the city expanded and a district was built over the harbour and the palaeochannel between the Republican period and the beginning of the 2nd c. AD, showing that Ostia was a dynamic and resilient city during that time. Finally, we suggest the possibility to combine urban fabric analysis (structure orientations) and palaeoenvironmental analysis for reconstructing the evolution of the city in relation to the fluvio-coastal mobility.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 6 October 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 7 November 2017
Published date: February 2018
Keywords: Geoarchaeology, Roman city, Palaeoenvironment, Urban fabric, Resilience, Ostia, River Tiber, Tiber River, Tiber delta, Port, fluvio-coastal, Landscape

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417654
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417654
ISSN: 0012-8252
PURE UUID: fe030a5b-47ab-4133-913b-9831ea2bb90e

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Date deposited: 08 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 27 Apr 2018 16:31

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Contributors

Author: Ferreol Salomon
Author: Jean-Philippe Goiran
Author: Brice Noirot
Author: Elisa Pleuger
Author: Evelyne Buckowiecki
Author: Ilaria Mazzini
Author: Pierre Carbonel
Author: Ahmed Gadhoum
Author: Pascal Arnaud
Author: Simon Keay
Author: Sabrina Zampini
Author: Stephen Kay
Author: Michele Raddi
Author: Alessandra Ghelli
Author: Angelo Pellegrino
Author: Cinzia Morelli
Author: Paola Germoni

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