Fryer, John (1978) Ports in Roman Britain. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

In contrast to what is known of the road system of Roman Britain our knowledge of ports is somewhat limited. Remains of harbour installations, which have been variously identified as wharves, quays, jetties, lighthouses, warehousing, and a mole have been encountered, as well as the timbers of several boats, largely in the course of modern construction work, and many more doubtless await discovery.
Many military and civilian settlements were situated on navigable rivers, at or near the head of tidal limits, or on navigable arms of the sea, in such a position that there can be little doubt that they were part of the system of land, river and coastal communications.
Erosion has in some cases, notably along the East coast, removed all trace of harbour installations and features encountered during gravel extraction have rarely been adequately recorded.
However, many stretches of waterfront lie buried beneath silt, sand, shingle and post-Roman structures. Excavations at Dover and London, often executed in advance of construction work, have yielded detailed information about the plans of these ports and the techniques used in the construction of the harbour installations found there.
While literary and epigraphic evidence rarely gives a detailed insight into the commercial and naval development of harbour settlements, the distribution patterns of imported or locally-produced commodities, such as building-materials, lead or pottery, do give some indication of the extent to which water transport was exploited, at specific times.
It would appear that the search for information about the ports and harbours of Roman Britain will in the future be in the hands of the "land archaeologist" as there is no major site at which the techniques of underwater exploration utilized in the studies of Mediterranean ports may be employed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2019 10:51
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2019 10:51
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/6816

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