Surveying the Roman Mediterranean Ports. Research and Survey in the singular Portus Iulius (Naples, Italy)
Partnership Opportunity

Location: Baia, Naples, Italy


The Sanisera Archaeology Institute started in 1996 as a school for university students who wanted to be trained in archaeological fieldwork through the excavation of the Roman port city of Sanisera (Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain). In 2004, due to the continuing success of its archaeological courses, the Field School became an international reference center and started giving its courses in English for students coming from, in most of the cases, Anglo-Saxon Universities, with programs in Archaeology and Anthropology, such as those from USA, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom. We are an Archaeological Field School which, year after year, expands its courses by offering students the opportunity to work and discover renown sites which present Classical Archaeology from different countries, where they can carry out their practices focused on specialized fields of knowledge that are related to their University degrees. Our work is focused on the archaeological study of ancient cities, anthropology, excavating shipwrecks and submerged cities of the ancient ports in underwater school in archaeology and learning GIS Software for archaeologists.

From 2015 we want to promote international collaboration and help archaeologists and related organizations (universities, research centers, foundations, sponsors) to connect with our excavation sites and research projects through the archeology program that focuses on the Roman port of Sanisera (Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain) and its excavation in the city, necropolis and underwater archeology.

We have organized ​​a specific project for the submerged Portus Iulius, located on the coast of Naples, specifically in Baia. Potential partners and sponsors can consult it before contacting The Sanisera Field School.

- Title: Surveying the Roman Mediterranean Ports. Research and Survey in the singular Portus Iulius (Naples, Italy)

- General description:

The Underwater Pompeii site is located in the bay of Naples and is managed by Baia Underwater Park. Underwater surveys show that Roman buildings are about 400 meters away from the present coastline, at a depth of approximately 9 meters. Underwater and aerial surveys have shown numerous submerged archaeological remains. Evidence of the submersion of the coast can be found in the ruins of the Temple of Venus, which today is about 3 meters below the quay of the port. Nearby, on the other side of the bay, two monumental complexes were also found: a villa belonging to the Pisoni family and a bath complex with a nymphaeum.

Another submerged archaeological site that archaeologists and researchers will study is Portus Iulius, a port which sank during Roman times. It was built in 37 B.C. by Agrippa and Octavian, and was abandoned in 12 B.C., merely 25 years after its extremely expensive construction. Later on, it was submerged due to several ground movements –Bradyseism- and volcanic activities including Vesuvius.

The coast’s unique atmosphere even attracted emperors. For instance, Caligula celebrated his elevation to divinity by building a pontoon crossing the area, which he then rode over wearing the armor of Alexander. Emperor Claudius often visited Baia. Nero was so fond of this place that he ended up conceiving grandiose projects there, one of them being conveying all spa waters into a large basin intended to link Miseno with the Averno.

In 2006 the Baia Underwater Archaeological Park was created, the first of its kind in Italy. Because of this project we can visit these magnificent ancient ruins. The uniqueness of the archaeology in Naples Bay, both on land and underwater, has made this site famous worldwide.

- Specific description: preparation of underwater urban surveying of the port of Portus Iulius and study the archaeological material that is identified on the surface of the site.

- Potential partners: Preferably archaeologists or university professors with endorsement of their department.

- Potential partners requirements: will prioritize the intention and purpose to undertake a new project rather than the accomplishments and experience in developing excavations outside U.S. Ideal for young teachers who want to start new projects focused on underwater archaeology applied to the Roman world and the use of surveying methodology using advanced techniques in digitalization (total Station, GIS, 3D model,…). 

- Methodological Planning:

  1. In Naples (Italy), during the underwater surveying campaign, they will be spent 7 hours per day for fieldwork, developing the surveying design of Portus Iulius, the spatial location and the cataloging of the archaeological objects discovered in the submerged site.
  1. In the place of origin of potential partners -preferably universities-, during the teaching period and as part of the credits and university subjects: preparation of a GIS system and treatment of the inventory of archaeological objects.
  1. Publication of the obtained results in international publications and congresses.

- Project schedule:

  • Stage 1, open to contacts and communication with interested partners (January – September, 2015).
  • Stage 2, procedures and agreements (October – December, 2015).
  • Stage 3, development and implementation of the excavation (from March 2016 forward).

- Project costs: defrayed by partners after the agreements between partnership and The Sanisera Archaeology Institute.

Chronology of finds

Roman period

Duration of project:
To be deternined by membership (1-5 years)
To be determined according to the objectives
CV of proposer
Contact Information
Fernando Contreras Rodrigo, Director of the Institution
The Sanisera Archaeology Institute, apartado 68
Es Mercadal
+1 347 8710963


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