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News: Underwater Archaeology
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The traces found on the seabed are from the ancient port of Naples, archaeologists think. Photo Credit: La Repubblica/TANN.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Settlement found underwater could be first port of Naples

Archaeologists think it is the ancient city of Palepolis

An underwater harbour found off the shore of Naples in Italy could be the ancient Greek port of Palepolis archaeologists say. The site was found on the seabed off the Castel dell’Ovo by underwater archaeologists and the announcement was made on Thursday.

The harbour dates 25 centuries back and was called Palepolis by the Greeks. Researchers found 4 submerged tunnels, a street which is three metres wide and furrows from carts still visible. Also, a long trench probably for soldiers was found. The discovery was made six metres down to the right of the castle.

Initially the area hosted a settlement named Parthenope after a mythical siren who was thought to have been washed ashore there; the settlement included the isle of Megaride, where the Castel dell’Ovo is today and the Promontory of Monte Echia, where today is the Monte di Dio and Pizzofalcone. The small harbour flourished thanks to the strategic position it had on trade routes but the Etruscans who inhabited it where ousted by the Greeks, who repopulated and rebuilt the town giving it a new name, Palepolis, in approximately 474. Later on, after more settlements were constructed on the coasts of Campania, a new city was built, Neapolis, which means “new city” in Greek, turning Palepolis along with the entire eastern part into a quite place, where the Romans built patrician villas later on.

Archaeologist Mario Negri, from the International University of Languages and Media in Milan, which founded the exploration, thinks that it is very likely the newly found settlement is what has remained from the first port of Naples. Hopefully more will come to light when exploration of the site resumes in May 2018.