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

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. BCE followed by a slow progradation and possible erosion phases until the end of the 1st c. CE; (2) the castrum of Ostia (c. late 4th–early 3rd c. BCE) was founded away from the river mouth but close to the River Tiber; (3) between the 4th and the 1st c. BCE, 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. CE, showing that Ostia was a dynamic and resilient city during that time. Finally, we suggest the possibility to combine urban fabric analysis (the orientation of the structures) and palaeoenvironmental analysis for reconstructing the evolution of the city in relation to the fluvio-coastal mobility.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01674275
Contributeur : Ferréol Salomon <>
Soumis le : samedi 6 janvier 2018 - 11:06:22
Dernière modification le : mercredi 19 septembre 2018 - 10:03:23

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Ferréol Salomon, Jean-Philippe Goiran, Brice Noirot, Elisa Pleuger, Evelyne Bukowiecki, et al.. Geoarchaeology of the Roman port-city of Ostia: Fluvio-coastal mobility, urban development and resilience. Earth-Science Reviews, Elsevier, 2018, 177, pp.265-283. 〈10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.10.003〉. 〈hal-01674275〉

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