Organised by: Simon Keay and Pascal Arnaud

Trade and commerce across the Roman Mediterranean is seen as being articulated through a network of many ports, with major sites such as Portus, Alexandria, Carthage and Ephesus being seen as major protagonists. This session attempts to nuance this picture by emphasizing the existence of hierarchies of ports of many different kinds and sizes, which often include anchorages for fishing boats and for coastal villae and manufactories. Furthermore it explores the idea that within these hierarchies, key roles are played by cognate groupings of ports that can be loosely defined as “port systems”. Such an arrangement has been recently proposed for the ports of Rome, Portus, Ostia and Centumcellae. The papers in this session will further analyze the relevance of the concept of port-system from both a theoretical perspective and also by focusing upon a series of case studies from different parts of the west and eastern Mediterranean. In particular, it will explore the extent to which sizes and kinds of port may have been involved in different scales of commerce, how these may be defined, and implications that these might have for our understanding of the commercial organization of the Roman Mediterranean in the first three centuries AD.

This session is an initiative arising from the ERC funded Portuslimen/Rome’s Mediterranean Ports (RoMP) project. This is led by the University of Southampton/British School at Rome, Université La Lumière Lyon 2, and involving amongst others, the DAI (Istanbul), the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Colosseo, Museo Nazionale Romano e Area Archeologica di Roma, the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Campania, the OAI, the University of Oxford, the Universidad de Cadiz and the Institut Català d’Arqueologia Clàsica.

L’infrastruttura portuale urbana di Roma:  emporium e Porticus Aemilia alla luce dei recenti scavi,  Alessia Contino, Lucilla D’Alessandro, Edvige Patella, Renato Sebastiani/A Comparative Approach to Roman port systems: the ports of Rome and Narbo, Simon Keay, Nicholas Carayon, Ferreol Salomon and Mari-Carmen Moreno

Narbonne and the ports of Narbonensis, Nicholas Carayon and Corinne Sanchez

Roman Portolans, Pascal Arnaud

The ports of southern Baetica and Mauretania Tingitana, Dario Bernal

Utica, Carthage and the ports of eastern Tunisia, Andrew Wilson

The Maritime Topography of the Pergamene coastal region: The Kane Regional Harbour Survey 2014-2015, Eric Laufer, Felix Pirson and Stefan Feuser