The very large extent of the Palazzo Imperiale and its adjacent buildings means that excavations at Portus had to be carried out on a sufficiently large scale to provide meaningful results. However, as excavation is a costly and destructive exercise, it was carefully targeted to address specific questions about the development of the site raised through our topographic and geophysical surveys. Furthermore, areas chosen for excavation have had to take into account significant modern disturbances, such as a path running through the Palazzo Imperiale, which have made it hard to relate separate areas and structures that were once part of an integrated complex.
In light of these considerations, eight areas (Areas A, B, C, D, E, F, G and I) of open excavation became the focus of the Portus Project, located within different parts of the Palazzo Imperiale and the large building (Building 5), subsequently identified as an imperial navalia, that lies to the south-east. Some ten different periods of occupation have been uncovered