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Friday, June 3, 2011

Archaeology News: Ancient Romans Had Aquarium On Board 2000 Year Old Ship

Archaeologists believe a 2,000-year-old ancient Roman shipwreck exhibits evidence of an aquarium capable of carrying live fish on board. The ship dates back to the 2nd century and had a cargo of 600 amphoras which contained salted mackerel, sardines and other fish remains.

Like many household aquariums set up every day, a tube is used to supply the tank with oxygenated water. This particular ancient Roman ship utilized the same principle.

A hole was pierced in the bottom of the ship, and a lead pipe was found near its keel, suggesting that the pipe was connected to a hand-operated pump that sucked up water to keep a constant supply of oxygenated water flowing into a fish tank.

Carlo Beltrame, researcher and archaeologist at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, told LiveScience, “Historians think that before the invention of the freezer, the only possibility to trade fish was to salt or dry it, but now we know that it was possible to move it alive also for quite a long distance…This simple apparatus implies that, as attested by some ancient authors, the trade of live fish in antiquity was possible.”

Picture © Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Friuli Venezia Giulia.


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