Reconstruction Methodology part four – Portscape

B. Colour Scheme

Excavations beneath the Basilica Portuense by the Soprintendenza di Beni Archeologici di Ostia (Dottssa Lidia Paroli) revealed a sequence of buildings going back to the mid 1st century AD. The outer faces of these brick-faced buildings were covered with reddish, orangeish and yellowish plaster. On this basis it has been assumed that, apart from the temple complex, most buildings would have been decorated in one colour or another. Yellow was chosen for the horrea flanking the temple complex on the assumption that it would have given the complex more prominence for incoming boats. Different colours have been chosen for the Palazzo Imperiale, and horrea on different sides of the hexagon on the understanding that their precise functions may have differed.

C. The Portscape

In terms of the overall area of the port, blank areas were “filled-in” with structures that were copied from Gisimondi’s plastic model of Portus in the Museo della Via Ostiense (Rome). It should be pointed out there is little or no archaeological justification for most of these. However, they do contribute to the sense of the port being heavily built up. It is possible that there may have been large buildings in areas where the geophysical results lacked clarity or where it was difficult to gain access.

D. The Surrounding Countryside

The surrounding countryside has been reconstructed in the most general terms, using environmental evidence (studied by Dr. Antonius Hyuzenveld) that is published in the final report of this project, which suggests that the area closest to the sea was a dunal environment, while indirect literary evidence suggests that there was cultivable land and forests in the hinterland to the east of the port.