The ongoing Portus Project excavations being undertaken under the aegis of the second season of the Portus Field School were the object of a recent visit by the Italian Minister of Culture last week.
On Wednesday 2nd July, Mario Franceschini, accompanied by the Soprintendente per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, Mariarosaria Barbera, the Mayor of Fiumicino, the Duke Ascanio Sforza Cesarini, amongst others as well as a team of photographers, visited excavations within the Palazzo Imperiale and the Trajanic shipyards. They were able to see the recently excavated 5th c AD opus sectile pavements at the former and the extraordinary remains of the floor surface at the latter.
The visit is a recognition of the growing national and international profile of the site stemming from over eight years of excavation at the site undertaken by the Portus Project in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, the British School at Rome and other collaborators. The Minister made a public statement about the national importance of the site and the need for a coordinated national plan to ensure its future management and public access.
The visit coincides with the conclusion of an extraordinarily successful first iteration of the Archaeology of Portus MOOC, which attracted around 8000 learners from across the world. The next iteration of the course (registration is open for the early 2015 next run of the Archaeology of Portus course) will be able to include the results of this field season and give learners another opportunity to get involved in the Portus Project.