Tidal mud and windblown sand covered the ancient port town, which lay buried until the beginning of the 20th century, when it was extensively excavated. A cosmopolitan population of rich businessmen, wily merchants, sailors, slaves, and their respective families once populated the city. The great warehouses were built in the 2nd century AD to handle huge shipments of grain from Africa; the insulae (forerunners of the modern apartment building) provided housing for
the city's growing population. Due to the combined assaults of the barbarians and the malaria-carrying mosquito, as well as the Tiber changing course, the port was eventually abandoned. The Ostiense Museum inside the ruined city displays sculptures, mosaics, and objects of daily use found on the site. A cafeteria is at the entrance.