22 May 2016

Hispalis (Spain)

Kaart Hispalis klein

Hispalis, modern Sevilla, is located in the south-west of Spain. It is an inland harbour that could be reached from the Atlantic (85 kms away) via the river Baetis. Unfortunately, little is known about the harbour. It was situated on a large inner lake suited for seagoing vessels. In the fourth century the lake is called "lacus Ligustinus".

The vast majority of the amphorae making up Monte Testaccio in Rome departed from this harbour (Dressel type 20, containing 70 litres of olive oil). Monte Testaccio was built using only olive oil vessels. There is no equivalent mound of wine amphorae. Possibly the Dressel 20 amphorae were difficult to recycle as part of concrete, either because of the structure of the terracotta, or because the fragments were too fatty due to residual oil, so that the resulting concrete would have had unsatisfactory quality. Wine amphorae on the other hand were "clean" enough to be recycled into concrete.

See also:
- A movie about Monte Testaccio by the BBC, with Mary Beard.

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