Ancient Roman shipyard found in Italy
A computer-created image of the large Roman shipyard unearthed in the Italian port of Portus
Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a massive Roman shipyard during excavations at the at the center of the port complex in Portus, Italy.
The five-storey high structure was found at the site where ancient ships were built to travel across the empire some 2,000 years ago.
"Few Roman Imperial shipyards have been discovered and, if our identification is correct, this would be the largest of its kind in Italy or the Mediterranean," said Portus project director Simon Keay of the University of Southampton.
Excavations also revealed that Portus was not only a trade center linking Rome to the Mediterranean, but also a grain storage, MSNBC reported.
The newly found shipyard structure is 475 feet long and about 200 feet wide, and estimated to be three times the height of a double-decker bus.
Researchers believe this is an exciting and important discovery and the building is a fantastic thing to find as until now, no major shipyard building for Rome had been identified.
"This was a massive building, which could easily have housed wood, canvas and other supplies and certainly would have been large enough to build or shelter ships in,” Keay said. “The scale, position and unique nature of the building lead us to think about its vital role in shipbuilding activities."
As the team had formerly discovered the remains of an 'Imperial palace' and an amphitheater around the site, experts believe that the area might be an official complex for the movement of ships and cargo at the port.