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Rome Exposed Volume 53 Number 3, May/June 2000
by Angela M.H. Schuster

Development of riverfront property along the Tiber in Rome has laid bare more relics of the city's ancient past. Work prior to construction of a tram station at Trastevere revealed the remains an Imperial Roman port, once used to receive and warehouse goods arriving from Ostia on the coast. To date, archaeologist Fiorenzo Catalli and his team have found the remains of porticoed warehouses, workshops, offices, and baths adorned with mosaics depicting sea creatures and marine life, along with numerous amphorae, ceramics, coins, and oil lamps dating to the second through fourth centuries A.D. The port appears to have been abandoned shortly after the barbarian invasions of the fifth century.

Speaking of barbarians... On the Janiculum Hill, just to the west of the tram station construction site, a British-American team has found remains the hastily built, yet effective, walls constructed by the Romans to block an invasion by the Goths in A.D. 536-537. The walls were constructed within Rome's Imperial Age aqueducts to prevent the invaders from sneaking into the city. The walls, however, were built in such a way as not to prevent the flow of fresh water from reaching the Roman populace.

* Rome fans, an exciting new website devoted exclusively to the Imperial Forums (see "Rome 2000," January/February 2000) has just gone online. Produced by the Commune of Rome, the site, which features virtual tours of the forums and provides excavation updates can be reached at www.capitolium.org/english.htm.

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© 2000 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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