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H 290 x W 205 mm

242 pages

170 figures, 5 tables (92 plates in colour)

Published Oct 2019

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789690583

Digital: 9781789690590

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Seville; Port of Seville; maritime cultural landscape; port studies; Roman Spain; Hispalis; Late Antiquity; Byzantine Spain; Islamic Spain; al-Andalus; Isbiliyya; Almohad Empire; Islamic shipsheds

From Hispalis to Ishbiliyya: The Ancient Port of Seville, from the Roman Empire to the End of the Islamic Period (45 BC - AD 1248)

Edited by Carlos Cabrera Tejedor

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This monograph focuses on the history and development of the topography, layout, and facilities of the ancient port of Seville, located in the lower Guadalquivir River Basin, between the 1st century BC and the 13th century AD. Until now, despite its commercial importance, little has been known about the port’s exact position, layout and facilities.



List of Figures ; 

List of Tables ; 

Acknowledgments ; 

Foreword by David Blackman and Simon Keay ; 

Foreword by Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo ; 

Chapter 1 Introduction ; 

Chapter 2 Methodology and scope of the research ; 
Approaches for studying antiquity: maritime archaeology ; 
Defining and justifying the geographical area: the Baetica Region ; 
Defining and justifying the chronological scope: 45 BC - AD 1248 ; 
Defining and justifying the study of ports ; 
Mediterranean maritime trade routes and ships’ cargoes ; 
The study of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean ; 
The use of palaeo-sciences for the study of ancient ports ; 
Defining and justifying the organization of chapters ; 

Chapter 3 The Roman period: the port of Hispalis ; 
Geomorphology of the Guadalquivir Basin and River ; 
Ancient navigation in the Lacus Ligustinus and the Baetis River ; 
The geographical and topographical context of ancient Seville ; 
Palaeo-hydromorphology of the Guadalquivir in the area of Seville ; 
Textual evidence for the port of Hispalis ; 
Epigraphic evidence for the port of Hispalis ; 
Exports from Hispalis and the ships that carried them ; 
Direct archaeological evidence for the port of Hispalis ; 
Indirect archaeological evidence for the port of Hispalis ; 
Concluding remarks on the Roman port of Hispalis ; 

Chapter 4 Seville during the Late Antique period ; 
Hispalis at the twilight of antiquity ; 
The archaeological evidence of Hispalis during Late Antiquity ; 
The Baetis River during Late Antiquity ; 
The port of Hispalis during Late Antiquity ; 
Discussion: was Seville controlled by Byzantium? ; 

Chapter 5 Seville after the Umayyad conquest in AD 712 ; 
Ishbiliyya: a new beginning (historical background) ; 
The archaeological findings from the Islamic period at Plaza Nueva ; 
The al-wādi al-kabīr during the Islamic period ; 
The two ports of Ishbiliyya: new challenges and relocation ; 

Chapter 6 Conclusions ; 


About the Author

Carlos Cabrera Tejedor is a maritime archaeologist with a diverse and multi-disciplinary background and an interest in shipbuilding and ports. He started as a conservator, completing two bachelor’s degrees, one in Fine Arts Restoration and the other in Archaeological Conservation. He also completed a Master of Arts degree in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University, worked as a project director and research associate at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), and a received a DPhil in Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Regarding the study of ancient ships, Dr Cabrera conducted the study of the Mazarrón 1 shipwreck, a 7th century BC Phoenician boat excavated in Spain that constitutes the only known example of hull-remains from that century. He also completed a post-doctoral research study, at the University of Oxford, on the hull of Ship 11, a 5th – 4th century BC ritual vessel excavated in the Grand Canal of Thonis-Heracleion (Egypt) associated with the Mysteries of Osiris and his Temple. Included among Dr Cabrera’s on-going international collaborations is a project with the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arte e Paesaggio per le Province di Pisa, where he is responsible for studying and publishing the naval architecture of a number of Roman vessels excavated at the Pisa-San Rossore train station, Pisa (Italy).


‘This work is relevant for understanding not only the evolution of the city of Seville and its maritime role and infrastructures, but also is a magnificent example of an approach to the study of ports from a multidisciplinary collaboration. This book clearly shows the complexity of port-site studies, and so highlights the need to expand these types of work to other port sites of equal relevance along the western Mediterranean with such a maritime cultural landscape approach.’ – Enrique Aragon (2021): International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, DOI: 10.1080/10572414.2021.1942728

‘However, given the range of sources, approaches, and types of evidence mustered to build this study, From Hispalis to Ishbiliyya seems certain to become a standard point of reference for future studies of ancient and Medieval Seville—both the port and the city as a whole.’ – Daniel Osland (2020): Bryn Mawr Classical Review