In excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries a large number of marble blocks were found in the channel running alongside the major harbour at Portus, just north of Ostia. This channel, the so-called Fossa Traiana, seems to have been a loading point for these materials which were imported in substantial quantities into Portus in the 2nd and first half of the 3rd century AD destined ultimately for Rome. More
In general these blocks are roughly squared or sometimes shaped into column shafts and other architectural elements. Many of them are inscribed indicating that there were being channelled through the imperial system for the supply of decorative stones. These blocks might constitute the remnants of a large stockpile of imported marbles but since many are damaged they could also just be rejects or leftovers which were waiting to be used up. These blocks are now on display at Ostia, where they have been grouped by material.
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Baccini Leotardi, P. (1989). Nuove testimonianze sul commercio dei marmi in età imperiale. (Studi pubblicati dall'Istituto italiano per la storia antica 44). Rome.
Pensabene, P. (1994). Le vie del marmo: i blocchi di cava di Roma e di Ostia, il fenomeno del marmo nella Roma antica (Itinerari ostiensi 7). Rome
Pensabene, P., Lazzarini, L., Soligo, M. et al. (2000). ‘The Parian marble blocks of the Fossa Traiana’, in D. Schilardi, S. Katsarou, D. Katsōnopoulou, and C. M. Brenner (eds). Παρία λίθoς. Λατoμεία, μάρμαρo και εργαστήρια γλυπτικής της Πάρoυ. Πρακτικά A' Διεθνoύς Συνεδρίoυ Aρχαιoλoγίας Πάρoυ και Kυκλάδων, Παρoικία, Πάρoς 2-5 Oκτωβρίoυ 1997=Paria lithos: latomeia, marmaro kai ergastēria glyptikēs tēs Paros; praktika A' diethnous synedriou archaiologias Parou kai Kykladōn, Paroikia, Paros 2-5 oktovriou 1997=Paria lithos: Parian quarries, marble and workshops of sculpture. Proceedings of the first international conference of the archaeology of Paros and the Cyclades, Paros, 2-5 October 1997 (Αρχαιολογικης και ιστορικης μελετες 1=Archaiologikēs kai historikēs meletes 1=Archaeological and historical studies 1). Athens: 527–36.