Congresos de la Universitat Politècnica de València, FORTMED2015 - International Conference on Modern Age Fortifications of the Western Mediterranean coast

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Les phares antiques, entre défense et aide à la navigation. Exemples en Méditerranée Occidentale
Jonatan Christiansen

Última modificación: 22-07-2015


Beyond the great Hellenistic tower of Alexandria, archaeological studies have revealed an important number of ancient lighthouses through all the Mediterranean Sea since more than fifty years. The consideration of several coastal towers and new discoveries provide data to undertake new issues on this diachronic topic.

The study of their architecture can now be completed by the analysis of their implantation in ports, along coasts or on islands. The strategy of their location has to provide secure information for the mariners in day and night time conditions and should be different from other coastal constructions. The study of their specific maritime roles is still an untapped area of research, especially from the sea, from the mariners’ point of view.

However, ancient lighthouses are not always exclusive signalling devices for maritime trade. As for later period, coastal towers could ensure several tasks, including surveillance, control and communication. The division between a civilian and military device is not always clearly defined.

The study of ancient lighthouses is also a way to deal with structures, which has been used or reused during later period. Indeed, there are clear correlations with later signalling devices as contemporaneous lighthouses built on the same spot of ancient ones. Furthermore, some of them were transformed into mills, granaries or habitations when others have been fortified to address defensive concerns during the modern period.

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