Underwater Portus Iulius

Underwater Pompeii

The Underwater Pompeii site is located in the Bay of Naples and is managed by Baia Underwater Park. Underwater surveys show that Roman buildings are about 400 meters away from the present coastline, at a depth of approximately 9 meters. Underwater and aerial surveys have shown numerous submerged archaeological remains. Evidence of the submersion of the coast can be found in the ruins of the Temple of Venus, which today is about 3 meters below the quay of the port. Nearby, on the other side of the bay, two monumental complexes were also found: a villa belonging to the Pisoni family and a bath complex with a nymphaeum.

Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down

How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. More information.

Another submerged archaeological site that participants will study is Portus Iulius, a port which sank during Roman times. It was built in 37 B.C.E. by Agrippa and Octavian, and was abandoned in 12 B.C.E., merely 25 years after its extremely expensive construction. Later on, it was submerged due to several ground movements—Bradyseism—and volcanic activities including Vesuvius.
The coast’s unique atmosphere even attracted emperors. For instance, Caligula celebrated his elevation to divinity by building a pontoon crossing the area, which he then rode over wearing the armor of Alexander. Emperor Claudius often visited Baia. Nero was so fond of this place that he ended up conceiving grandiose projects there, one of them being conveying all spa waters into a large basin intended to link Miseno with the Averno.

Fernando Contreras

Fernando ContrerasFernando Contreras has been the director of the excavations at Sanisera and of the Ecomuseum de Cap de Cavalleria since 1997.

Dig Directors

Fernando Contreras

Geographic Location

Baia Underwater Park, Naples, Italy

Periods of Occupation

Roman, Byzantine

Dates of the Dig

April 12 – November 14, 2016 (11 sessions)

Minimum Stay

Nine days

Application Due

March 11, 2016


$1,500/session; all cost included

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Yes; see archaeology.institute/sanisera-archaeology-institute-petition-for-credits.asp and email sanisera@arrakis.es


Accommodation in Hotel Santa Marta (Arco Felice, Naples). Two to four per room. Walking distance to the port and beaches. Breakfast and meals. Accident insurance at the site. Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork.


Dr. Fernando Contreras Rodrigo
Es Mercadal, Menorca,
Balearic Islands 07740

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment