This last talk of the 2014-2015 academic year saw three researchers from the PortusLimen Project (http://portuslimen.eu) share part of their research with us. The three speakers, Ferréol, Nuria and Emilia, all have different areas of expertise, emphasising the multidisciplinary approach of the project. It is focussed on Roman harbours located around the Mediterranean Sea. Part of this project takes into account the harbour structures in their natural context.
Ferréol, a postdoctoral researcher specialising in geoarchaeology of ancient harbours, works on reconstructing the past landscapes and documenting the changes taking place over the years. He showed some case studies explaining the specificity of this geoarchaeological approach to Roman harbours, showing among other things how various sizes of sediment can show how busy or otherwise the ports may have been.
Núria, a postgraduate researcher specialised in classical philology, looks at literary sources to try and figure out the appropriate names for particular types of ports. She does this by comparing fictional and non-fictional descriptions of ports. Working with researchers like Ferréol is a big help here, because the literary sources tend to take liberties with the factual descriptions.
Emilia, another postgraduate researcher, also looks at the written word, but instead of descriptions of ports and harbours, she focuses on inscriptions found on commercial items to understand the roles of the individual subjects or societies that were directly performing the commercial operations. Specialising in Roman law, Emilia is trying to understand the complexity of trading procedures to understand the organisation of a port in the Roman Mediterranean.