Archaeologists discover a submerged Roman road in the Venetian lagoon | Archeology

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Archaeologists have documented the presence of an approximately 1,200m long segment of an ancient Roman road on a beach ridge now submerged in the Venetian Lagoon, the largest lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea, surrounding the historic town from Venice to Italy; its presence confirms the hypothesis of a stable system of Roman settlements in this area.

The position of the paleobeach ridge in the Treporti canal in Roman times (in yellow transparency on current satellite data) and the alignment of the Roman stone remains and the dike road (red dots and lines), buildings (green squares) and brick walls (white pentagons); the solid pink line indicates the position of the structures reconstructed by Madricardo et al. Image credit: Madricardo et al., Doi: 10.1038 / s41598-021-92939-w.

“The Romans built a very efficient road system spanning tens of thousands of kilometers to connect all of their territories,” Dr. Fantina Madricardo of CNR-National Research Council told ISMAR-Marine Science Institute and colleagues told .

“Several portions of this ancient road network are still well preserved after more than two millennia in numerous archaeological sites in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.”

“The transportation system, however, was not limited to land routes, as imperial control of the territory extended to transitional environments such as deltas, marshes and lagoons and a capillary network of waterways was used. for the exchange of goods and the movement of people. “

“We know that in Roman times the relative mean sea level was lower than it is today and large parts of the lagoon, which are now submerged, were accessible by land.”

“The fate of the Venetian Lagoon, its origin and its geological evolution have always been closely linked to the relative rise in mean sea level, which now threatens the very existence of the historic city and the lagoon island. “

Reconstruction of the paleo-beach ridge of the Treporti canal and the Treporti canal route (TC route) in Roman times: (a) aerial view, with the Venetian lagoon on the left and the Adriatic Sea on the right;  the position of the TC road corresponds exactly to the position of the mapped archaeological structures, while the extension of the TC paleobeach ridge is only hypothetical since the area has been radically modified over the centuries;  (b) a zoom view and (c) a section of the TC route based on the stratigraphy of cores extracted under the basoli.  Image credit: Madricardo et al., Doi: 10.1038 / s41598-021-92939-w.

Reconstruction of the paleo-beach ridge of the Treporti canal and the Treporti canal route (TC route) in Roman times: (a) aerial view, with the Venetian lagoon on the left and the Adriatic Sea on the right; the position of the TC road corresponds exactly to the position of the mapped archaeological structures, while the extension of the TC paleobeach ridge is only hypothetical since the area has been radically modified over the centuries; (b) a zoom view and (c) a section of the TC route based on the stratigraphy of cores extracted under the basoli. Image credit: Madricardo et al., doi: 10.1038 / s41598-021-92939-w.

By mapping the bottom of the Venetian Lagoon using sonar, Dr Madricardo and his colleagues discovered 12 archaeological structures aligned in a northeast direction over 1140 m, in an area known as the canal. by Treporti. The structures were up to 2.7m high and 52.7m long.

Previous studies of the Treporti Canal have uncovered stones similar to the cobblestones used by the Romans when building roads, indicating that the structures can be aligned along a Roman road.

Archaeologists also discovered four other structures in the Treporti Canal that were up to 4m high and 134.8m long.

Based on its dimensions and its similarity to structures discovered in other areas, the largest of these structures is considered a potential port structure, such as a wharf.

Previously collected geological and modeling data indicates that the road is located on a sandy ridge that was above sea level in Roman times, but is now submerged in the lagoon.

The results suggest that a permanent settlement may have been present in the Treporti Canal in Roman times.

“The route may have been linked to a wider network of Roman roads in the Italian region of Veneto and may have been used by travelers and sailors to travel between what is now the town of Chioggia and the lagoon. of Venice of the North, ”the researchers said.

An article on the results has been published in the journal Scientific reports.

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F. Madricardo et al. 2021. New evidence of a Roman road in the lagoon of Venice (Italy) based on the reconstruction of the seabed at high resolution. Scientific representative 11, 13985; doi: 10.1038 / s41598-021-92939-w


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