Ostia, Archaeology of

  • Mary Jane Cuyler
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_3110-1


As the harbor city of ancient Rome, Ostia served to connect the city to the larger Mediterranean world. The colony was a major hub for traders and a port of entry for many international visitors, and therefore its structures range from the mundane but necessary granaries to lavish bath complexes. Certain architectural features of Ostia, such as the apartment building (insula) as a primary form of habitation, allow modern scholars to understand features of Roman life that have been otherwise buried beneath later construction.


Founded at the mouth of the Tiber River on the Tyrrhenian Sea approximately 30 km. west of Rome, Ostia was an early Roman colony. Occupied from the late fourth/early third century BCE through the late seventh century CE, today it is an archaeological park.

Key Issues/Current Debates/Future Directions/Examples

Key Issues: The Shape and Composition of the Ancient City

The cityscape is not strictly defined by the ordered grid of the “ideal”...
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Further Reading

  1. Calza, G., G. Becatti, I. Gismondi, G. de Angelis d’Ossat, and H. Bloch. 1953. Scavi di Ostia I: Topografia Generale. Roma: La Libreria dello Stato.Google Scholar
  2. Meiggs, R. 1973. Roman Ostia. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  3. Pavolini, C. 2006. Ostia. Guide archeologiche Laterza. Roma-Bari: Gius. Laterza & Figli.Google Scholar
  4. Zevi, A.G., and A. Claridge, eds. 1996. ‘Roman Ostia’ revisited. Archaeological and historical papers in memory of Russell Meiggs. London: British School at Rome.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Jane Cuyler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jeffrey A. Becker
    • 1
  • Alison Barclay
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Classical and Near Eastern StudiesBinghamton University - SUNYBinghamtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Modern Languages and ClassicsSaint Mary's UniversityHalifaxCanada