chapter  3
Potentia: A Lost New Town
ByFrank M.R. Vermeulen
Pages 20

Today, not much reminds the occasional traveller along the rather touristy central Adriatic Italian coast of the existence of the once vibrant Roman colonial town of Potentia, located near the modern town of Porto Recanati (Le Marche region). e coastal site, where in 184 BC ocials and agrimensores delineated the new living spaces and units for those Roman citizens who were involved in the incorporation of this part of the peninsula into the Roman Republic, now lies mostly under grass and arable land, and is crossed by a busy coastal road and railway. Its position, barely a metre higher than the rest of the plain, and set on an almost N-S oriented beach ridge of sand, clay and local gravel beds, hardly changes our perception of a generally at and unimpressive terrain. Looking at this landscape one is also not immediately informed about the original position of the city lying just north of the main Roman river bed of the Potenza (the ancient Flosis), as the present-day stream now ows more than 1 km to the north – a result of late and post-medieval human interference with its course (see Aleri 1947; 1949). Only recent geo-archaeological mapping of the ancient coastal plain around Potentia by means of augering and geo-electrical measurements (see especially Goethals et al. 2005; 2006; 2009; Corsi et al. 2009) allows us to imagine the original situation.