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PORTUS JULIUS
"THE SUNKEN CITY"

Prior to the eruption of 1538 and subsequent coastal transformations, Lago Lucrino was a vast sea basin open to the Bay of Pozzuoli. Lucrinus, as it was then known, extended from Punta del Epitaffio to Lago Averno and Monte Barbaro. Lucrinus offered calm water, proximity to Lago Averno, and a sheltered basin. Rome began to look toward Lucrinus with military schemes in mind.

Ruins and Artifacts
Remains of Portus Julius cover an area of about 2 kilometers, stretching from the present day village of Arco Felice eastward to the Sofer plant jetty. Distance from the modern shoreline ranges from 50 to 900 meters, in depths varying from 3 to 20 meters.

The outer limit of Portus Julius is marked by a series of enormous mortar crepidos in a string along the sea bottom. There is a 3 to 4 meter drop-off at the edge. To the east of the installation, toward Secca Caruso, there are 5 pilasters measuring 5 by 5 meters length/width spaced about 5 meters apart.

Also in this same area, directly out into the gulf from Lago Lucrino lie seven additional submerged pilasters. A marble inlaid floor is still intact. There are also numerous mortar foundations, wall sections, scattered pottery, and building debris.

A mass of 15,000 oil lamps was found in shallow depths within the Portus Julius ruins. Many were still in perfect condition. The origin of the lamps is uncertain.

Some scholars believe that these were the cargoes of a shipwreck while others think that there was a ceramics factory close by. Portus Julius could also have been selected as the storage site for the thousands of oil lamps that were used to light Caligula's Bridge at night.