Archaeology of the Laurentine Shore

  • Claridge, Amanda (PI)

Project: Research

Project Details


A long-term study of the development and significance of Imperial Rome's ‘maritime facade’, the villa landscape south of the Tiber mouth at Ostia. Fieldwork in 1984-1993 concentrated on the Vicus Augustanus, a small coastal town of the 1st-5th centuries AD, which had been extensively excavated in 1875-1913 but never published. Two new excavations at the Vicus in 1995-1999 collected evidence for the full chronology of occupation and economic status of the town. A third phase started in 2002 combining topographical modelling with geomorphological and environmental analyses to define a chronology for the evolution of the coastline and investigate the interaction between the natural and built environments in the Roman period, funded in 2005-2010 with a major AHRC research grant, the results of which are available online (see link below). Further topographical surveys carried out in 2012-2015 have extended the model for a distance of 2.5 kms along the coast and further work is planned, so as to map the entire area between the Vicus and the imperial villa of Laurentum (Tor Paterno).

Layman's description

A study of the ancient shoreline south of the Tiber, as it is uniquely preserved within the presidential estate of Castelporziano, and its development by the Romans (100 BC-AD 400) into a luxury seafront resort, lined with villas owned by the emperors and members of their court. The investigation has focussed principally on a small town, the Vicus Augustanus, founded under the emperor Augustus and set in the midst of the villa community, servicing both their needs and those of colonists (army veterans) who were settled in the hinterland in the late first and early second century AD.

Key findings

the history, physical layout and composition of an imperial vicus near Rome; the chronology of the coastline on which it was built; the sharper definition of its wider social, economic and architectural context.
Short titleCastelporziano
Effective start/end date1/03/84 → …


  • Arts & Humanities Res Coun AHRC: £385,874.00


  • Rome
  • Vicus Augustanus
  • Laurentum
  • Augustus
  • Pliny the Younger
  • Castelporziano