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Portus - 2 North mole

The north mole runs along the north side of the basin of Claudius, from east to west / south-west. Large stretches were excavated on various occassions, most recently in the 1950's. In the past is has also been called "left mole" ("molo sinistro"), but it is not the left mole of the harbour at all, as seen from the harbour towards the sea. The Porticus Placidiana is on top of the real left (south) mole.

Remains were found over a distance of approximately one kilometre, to the north-west of the Museum of the ships. The normal width is 3.30 metres. To the south of the Monte Arena (nr. 3) is a much wider section. It is pierced by square holes in which wood was found. This part of the mole seems to have been built as prescribed by Vitruvius (De architectura 5,12). Testaguzza erroneously identified this part as the foundation of the Claudian lighthouse. The eastern part was made of basalt blocks, covered by travertine blocks.

Remains of the north mole near Monte Arena. Note the holes in the side.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Remains of the north mole near Monte Arena in 1959.
Testaguzza 1970, p. 84.

Large basalt blocks, belonging to the base of the mole.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Travertine blocks covering a stretch of the north mole.
Testaguzza 1970, p. 87.

[jthb - 21-May-2009]