A team of Inrap archaeologists is currently excavating part of the Antique port of Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes).
This research, curated by the State (Drac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), is being conducted in advance of the construction of an underground parking lot by QPark. The archaeologists will work for seven months at the site of "Pré aux Pêcheurs”.
Antibes is the Antique Antipolis, a Greek trading post founded by the Phocaeans of Massalia. The date of its establishment is still uncertain, but it followed an indigenous habitat located in the high areas of the current city.
Along the Provençal shoreline, Antipolis occupied an advantageous location on the maritime routes linking Marseille to the Italian coast. Like the Saint-Roch cove, it had a natural port that was protected from the dominant winds.
The prosperity of the Greek and then Roman city was largely based on the dynamic activity of its maritime commerce, as well as on the transformation of sea products, fish salting and the fabrication of garum (a fish based sauce).
The archaeologists are currently exploring, over 5000 m2, the bottom of an Antique port basin, which was progressively covered with sand.
This obvious waste dump has yielded many objects – waste thrown from mooring boats or bits of cargo lost during transshipments – and provides information on the daily activities of the sailors and the maritime commerce.
The layers of archaeological objects have been accumulating since the 3rd century BC until the 6th century AD.
Several tens of thousands of objects of all kinds that were sunken underwater in the Saint-Roch cove have already been recovered, including merchandise originating from periphery of the Mediterranean basin.
They alone illustrate the dynamic nature of the Antique port and commerce in this part of the Mediterranean.