Various theories have been proposed as to the location of the ancient port because of the absence of discoveries of monumental structures. Some scholars supposed the presence of two ports – one on the western side, the other on the eastern side of the peninsula – so that fishermen and ships could find shelter from any condition arising from the wind and sea. However, this theory does not take into account the dangers of the Maestrale, a powerful northwesterly wind, which would have discouraged the building of a port facing the open sea.
The majority of scholars believe instead that the one and only port was located on the Gulf of Oristano in front of the city at the eastern base of the hill of San Giovanni during Punic and Roman times. Another possible location of the port, as suggested by the discovery in the 1990s of short stretches of jetties and diverse topographical considerations, could have been the area at the base of Murru Mannu Hill at the location known as the “Dead Sea” where fishing boats still find refuge today.
More recently new searches are underway at the Mistras Lagoon located to the north of the Punic-Roman town. In ancient times the lagoon had to have a different morphology. Based on the assumption that the shoreline was probably much less advanced and the cove was much more pronounced, the lagoon would have provided a natural shelter for ships.
Geomorphological studies are currently ongoing with the aim of evaluating the changes to the shoreline throughout the centuries in an effort to shed light upon the original location of the ancient port supported by well-founded data