Abstract: In this presentation we take a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of the latest (and still ongoing) excavations of the Punic and Roman city of Tharros, on the west coast of Sardinia. Considered one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the Mediterranean, perched as the city is along a narrow peninsular into the sea, Tharros has long attracted visitors to its shores, from Phoenicians and Carthaginians to Romans and Spaniards, all of them taking advantage of its prime location and protected harbor. As a commercial center, Tharros serviced one of the most important trading routes of the Mediterranean, that between Carthage and Marseille. Early results from the excavations by the University of Cincinnati show that this movement of people and material made an important impact on the livelihoods of the town’s local inhabitants; new foods were consumed, new cultural customs were adopted, and new ideas in architecture were developed. But these discoveries are so new that the presentation is less about showcasing results and answers as it is about exploring the various ways in which the team is approaching an archaeological excavation of this type, one that is focused on questions of the social and structural making of a long-lived city. Paired as the project is with Cincinnati’s excavations at Pompeii, the presentation will also examine the extent to which two related projects of two different cities can connect both information and methodologies to help form a richer understanding of Roman urbanization.
Bio: Steven Ellis (PhD Sydney, 2005) is a Roman archaeologist whose research activities and publications spring from his interests in ancient cities and urban life. He has conducted fieldwork principally throughout Italy and Greece, but with other field activities in Spain, Portugal, France, Morocco, and Algeria. Steven directs the University of Cincinnati's excavations at Pompeii (the 'Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia'); and co-directs (with Eric Poehler) the 'Pompeii Quadriporticus Project' and (with Timothy Gregory) the 'East Isthmia Archaeological Project' in Greece.