Sunday, September 25, 2011

Huge ancient Roman shipyard unearthed in Italy

A large Roman shipyard has been uncovered an ancient port in Rome called Portus, researchers reported. They found the remains of a massive building, dating to the second century, where ancient ships were likely built close to the distinctive hexagonal basin, or "harbor," at the center of the port complex. 

"Few Roman Imperial shipyards have been discovered and, if our identification is correct, this would be the largest of its kind in Italy or the Mediterranean," dig director Simon Keay, of the University of Southampton, said in a statement. [ See image of ancient shipyard ]

Portus was a crucial trade gateway linking Rome to the Mediterranean during the Imperial period (27 B.C. to A.D. 565). The area was initially built during the time of Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98 to 117). Excavation at the site has revealed that it had many uses, including to store grain and as a defensive measure.

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