Complete Data Base

This is a complete data base of nearly 5000 ancient ports, including ancient & modern place names, exact positions, bibliographical references, and remains still visible today.

Please note that this data base is a large Excel xlsx table.

Have a look at the key to columns hereafter before you enter the data base presented further below …

Key to Columns
NB Numbers are in sequence from  Northern Europe (Thulé) to the South (Notou Keras) with a clockwise movement around the Mediterranean Sea
NAME Ancient name: several names may be given but exhaustivity is not sought
NAME_MOD Modern name: city or approximate location
COUNTRY Country & region in 2015
LATITUDE Latitude in decimal degrees. Negative latitudes are South
LONGITUDE Longitude in decimal degrees. Positive longitudes are East
FOUND. Date of founding of the place:  “-” = BC  (most dates are from DARE)
MI Minoan settlement (ca. 2500-1400 BC)
MY Mycenaean settlement (ca. 1600-1100 BC)
PN Phoenician/Punic settlement (ca. 3000-64 BC)
AUTH_ANC Ancient author(s): who explicitly mention a port
AUTH_MOD Modern author(s) listed in Bibliography: giving information about the place
DOC1_Papers Other modern author(s) with papers giving information about the place
DOC2_www Web sites giving information about the place
DOC3 Other information about the place
PLEIADES/PastPlace Web pages on Pleiades or PastPlace
DARE Web pages on Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire
TOPOSText Web pages on Topos Texts providing ancient citations for each place
AM “a” = if ancient author(s) explicitly mention the port,
“m” = if only modern author(s) mention the port
PP “p” = if modern nautical guides (“pilot”) mention an excellent shelter; if the modern author is “AdG”, then this place is a Potential Ancient Harbour
RE “r” = port remains still visible in 2012 (“rs” if submerged or silted up) (far from exhaustive information!)
Type of visible port structures still visible (far from exhaustive!):
BW Breakwater, sometimes also called mole
QU Quay (masonry with docking on one side), pier or jetty (masonry with docking on two sides), and landing stage (wharf on piles)
PL Pila, made of marine concrete containing pumiceous volcanic ash
MO Mooring device (bollard, pierced block)
CN Canal (for navigation or basin flushing and/or desiltation)
SL Slipway to take ships in/out of the water
SH Shipshed (usually including slipway)
PH Lighthouse
CO Cothon, man-made basin cut into the rock
Note on Naming
According to Pleiades ( Places are geographical and historical contexts for Names and Locations. Places may have within their core some features of the physical world – a sea, a bay, a river, a mountain range, a pass, a road, a settlement or an ethnic region – but their primary quality is that, in the words of Yi-fu Tuan, they are constructed by human experience. Places may be no larger than a family dwelling or as big as an empire, be temporally enduring or fleeting. They may expand, contract and evolve over time. A place may be unnamed, unlocated, falsely attested or even mythical.
A place is defined by its name and its location.  – A Location is a current or former, concrete spatial entity. The midline of a river channel is a location. The center of a bridge’s span is a location. The perimeter of a walled settlement is a location. Every location belongs to a place. The highest point of a mountain summit, for example, would be a location while the entirety of the mountain: its faces, ridges, couloirs, and forested slopes – and its significance in human history – would be the place context.
The position of a location is defined on a map by its latitude/longitude coordinates in degrees. In this work, we use the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) with decimal degrees with 6 decimal digits. The 5th decimal digit yields an accuracy in the order of one meter (for latitudes).
Database Statistics
Total number of places: 4436
Nb ports explicitly mentioned by ancient authors: 1578
Nb of excellent shelters not (yet) listed as ancient harbour or anchorage: 242

You can view the full data base as a pdf file.

If you would like to work on the full data base, you should download the latest updated xls table.