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Week one – imagining the Claudian port

It has been a fantastic first week for us all involved in the course. Above all, we have been so grateful for the depth and breadth of comments, and for your enthusiasm for the course. If you are reading this and haven't yet signed up then please do - there is still time to join in the conversations from week one and move on to week two. You can register on the FutureLearn site. Continue reading →

Pelagios: a Sea of Connections

I’m Leif Isaksen, one of Graeme, Simon and Dragana’s colleagues in the University of Southampton Archaeology Department. This week the MOOC has been thinking about the Mediterranean as a sea of connections between ancient harbours and settlements, and the importance of Portus as a hub within it. This level of interconnectivity had an enormous impact on the lives and culture of the people who lived within and beyond the borders of the Empire. Continue reading →

Italian translation of week one topics

Eleonora has translated the summaries of the week one activities into Italian in order to support sharing of the course via Italian social media. As discussed previously the course itself runs in English and it is not possible to moderate the posts in English and Italian. This would require Italian speakers on the FutureLearn platform which is monitored 24 hours a day. So, we will continue to provide additional resources such as this where possible. Continue reading →

Topographical survey at Portus

Hi, my name is Stephen Kay and I’m responsible for the topographical survey on the Portus Project. I am currently the Molly Cotton Fellow at the British School at Rome (, one of the partner institutions for the field school. My research interests are focused on landscape archaeology, in particular on Roman urbanism in central Italy. Continue reading →

Welcome to Week One – the Port of Claudius

The course has just now become available! We have been working on this for a while now so it is good to be able to share the course with you properly. As you will now see the course is structured thematically, temporally and spatially. Each week we will discuss archaeological methods, object types, and also theoretical concerns. Each week we will focus on a new phase in the life of the port, and also work at a particular scale. Continue reading →

Lead and the Roman water system

Half a century after lead poisoning was proposed as the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire, a wave of publications to refute this idea put an end to this theory. Although lead is no longer considered the main culprit in the decline of Roman civilization, its presence in the Roman water distribution system water is still worthy of consideration as a major public health problem. The Archaeology of Portus course will introduce some of the methods employed in this research. Continue reading →

Recent discoveries at Ostia

  The Archaeology of Portus MOOC will include some of our very latest findings, recently showcased in international media e.g. on BBC News in the UK. The recent discovery of the walled area of warehouses on the north side of the Tiber at by the Portus Project and the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma represents another major advance in our understanding of the relationship between Portus and Ostia. Continue reading →

Designing the Course

Hello all, my name is Peter Wheeler and I’m one of the designers on #UosFLPortus. I have the great job of helping to put the entire MOOC together. Whilst you won’t see me on camera – although I do have two cameos – I have been behind the scenes putting together each video, text and other additional content in preparation for the launch. We think it is important that you know about all the people involved in the Portus MOOC and their experiences of working at this fantastic site. Continue reading →

Italian language on the MOOC

The FutureLearn platform that is hosting the Archaeology of Portus MOOC currently does not support multiple languages, although we understand that this is being considered as the platform continues to develop. However, the Portus Project is at its heart a long term collaboration between Italian and UK institutions and individuals and so it is important to us that both languages are supported. Continue reading →