During a presentation conducted last week, archaeologists announced that they may have discovered what is the original port of Naples, with its structure dating back to 25 centuries ago. During an investigation of the waters close to the Castel dell’Ovo, a group of divers noticed that there were four tunnels just 32 feet beneath the water, and have speculated that these may have once been used to moor boats at a time when the surrounding waters would have been much more shallow than they are today.
Besides the tunnels, they also noticed the ruins of a road that still contains tracks that would have been made by heavy wagon wheels, similar to what are found on the streets of Pompeii. Near this road was a trench, which may have been constructed as a defensive area used by ancient soldiers, as The Local report.
Mario Negri of the International University of Languages and Media in Milan has tentatively stated that this “could – I stress, could – be the archeological traces of Naples’ first port, which means we are right at the founding moment of this extraordinary city.”
Three-thousand years ago, when the first port of Naples was founded, it was given the name of Parthenope after the famous Greek story of the maiden-voiced siren who grew distraught and threw herself deep into the sea after her beautiful melodies failed to attract the notice of Odysseus. Parthenope’s body was later found floating in the waters of Naples by the Castel dell’Ovo.
Remains of ancient port discovered under Naples seafront https://t.co/j9hNSiGEDv
— The Local Italy (@TheLocalItaly) March 17, 2018
Luciano Garella, who is in charge of local archaeology, has said that it is his firm belief that if this does indeed turn out to be the original port of Naples, it would bode well for tourism, with people flocking from around the world to see this ancient site. However, a new form of tourism would need to be embraced for curious visitors to fully enjoy the experience of this remarkable discovery.
“We’ll have to explore a different type of tourism – underwater tourism.”
Mario Negri is in full agreement with Garella, and has envisioned his own new ideas for this part of Naples, as ANSA reported.
“It’s a discovery that opens up a new scenario for reconstructing the ancient structure of Palepolis.”
The first settlers in this area were Achaean and Anatolian merchants, who were heading with their goods to the high Tyrrhenian, and formed a small community which grew rapidly due to trading. In its early days, this area would have seen many battles between the Etruscans and Greeks, and the town of Parthenope was eventually changed substantially and given the name of Palepolis in 474 BCE, when Greeks finally emerged victorious after years of battles.
Archaeological work is currently on hold right now, but further investigatory work will continue in May, which should hopefully determine whether the original port of Naples has indeed been found.