New archaeological discovery

2012-12-09 11:20

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Paris - French and Italian archaeologists have found the remains of a grain port that played a critical role in the rise of ancient Rome, France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) said on Thursday.

Cores drilled at a location at the mouth of the River Tiber have revealed the site of a port whose existence has been sought for centuries, it said in a press release.

The port lies northwest of Ostia, which was established by Rome as a fortress gateway to enable trade to pass upriver towards the city and prevent pirates and marauders.

The evidence points to a port established between the fourth and second century BCE (Before Common Era) and had a depth of 6m, making it accessible to sea-going vessels, the CNRS said.

Rome emerged as the prime power of the Mediterranean thanks in part to trade. It imported huge amounts of wheat, especially from Egypt.

In the first century CE, the grain port at Ostia was superseded by a giant installation covering 200ha at Portus.

Read more on:    archaeology
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