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Neat findings!

Poster: Franca Gorraz <francagorraz@home.com>

Noble Gentles, 

I hope you will forgive my intrusion, and find this of interest. 
In service,

Eleonora Salutati, stunned, I must have -walked- over them every day for
four years...
> BRITISH and Italian classical scholars yesterday hailed the discovery of
> eight almost perfectly preserved Ancient Roman ships buried in the mud of
> what was once the harbour at Pisa as "an astonishing step back into the
> past" and a "rare insight into Rome as a maritime and trading power".
> One wooden ship, with an elongated prow, is thought to have had a military
> purpose. "If confirmed, this will make it the first Roman warship ever
> found," said Stefano Bruni, the Tuscan archaeologist in charge of the dig.
> Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the British School in Rome, said that
> the ships were "extremely impressive, outstandingly well-preserved, and in
> pristine condition . . . I could hardly believe the wood before my eyes was
> not modern-day wood in a modern boat. It is as fresh as the day the ships
> sank. This is a very exciting find."
> He said he believed that "perhaps a fifth of the boats have been uncovered .
> . . there is even more to come".
> Giovanna Melandri, the Minister of Culture, said the find was "of
> exceptional importance. The archaeologists have uncovered a marvel, because
> of both the state of preservation of the ships and the numbers involved . .
> . the ancient port of Pisa has come to life before our eyes."
> "The Roman fleet emerges from the mud of Pisa after two thousand years,"
> said the headline in yesterday's La Stampa, noting that it was "extremely
> rare" to find Roman ships in such numbers. They range in length from 24ft to
> 90ft.
> The ships, which are believed to date from the 3rd century BC to the 5th
> century AD, had all been anchored in a port at the confluence of the River
> Arno and the River Auser near the coast. The area has since silted up, and
> is several miles from the present coast.
> The ships were discovered within an area 150 yards square by workmen
> constructing a control centre at Pisa for the renovated high-speed railway
> line between Genoa and Rome. They were shown to the press yesterday at
> Pisa's San Rossore station, half a mile from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
> Reconstruction of the railway station is being held up, but railway
> officials said that they were under pressure to resume work despite the
> prospect of more historic finds. San Rossore will not only control
> high-speed traffic, but also serve tourists visiting Pisa during the
> millennium.
> "The Romans controlled the Mediterranean as if it was a lake," Professor
> Wallace-Hadrill said. "They called it Mare Nostrum - Our Sea - and these
> ships show the range of goods that was being traded in a culturally diverse
> area." He said that there were no giant grain ships of the kind that plied
> between Egypt and Rome among those uncovered. "I think what we are looking
> at here is a lagoon harbour which was probably linked to the coast by a
> canal. Big ships moored off the coast, and these smaller vessels unloaded
> goods and came up to Pisa.
> "They probably also plied up and down the coast. One of them has a
> distinctive type of sand in it which I am told comes from the Bay of Naples,
> suggesting that it put in at Naples to take on ballast before chugging on up
> here."
> Some of the boats used oars while others were under sail. A mast has been
> found in one of them. "These are not just odd remains but whole vessels,
> with hulls, planks, wooden pins, nails, even baskets and jars."
> Professor Bruni said that the excavations were continuing. "The fleet was
> obviously much bigger than the eight ships found so far," he said. "We knew
> the site might have artefacts of archaeological value, but nothing like
> this."
> Wood found 18ft down in the dark-grey silt turned out to be the hull of a
> ship. The archaeologists even found the remains of rope used to tie the
> boats up in the harbour.
> Professor Wallace-Hadrill said the ships were in an exceptional state of
> preservation because they had been encased in damp mud.
> To ensure they are not damaged by exposure to the air, specialists have
> covered the wooden remains in a layer of varnish and protected them with
> fibreglass. The boats will later be soaked in distilled water.
> Professor Bruni said the archaeologists had also found hundreds of amphorae
> that once contained fruit, such as cherries and plums, and chestnuts and
> walnuts, as well as olives, wine and oil. The jawbone of a wild boar
> suggested the boats carried live animals.
> "For me this is one of the most important aspects of the discovery,"
> Professor Wallace-Hadrill said. "We have tens of thousand of amphorae from
> Pompeii and other sites, but know little about what they really contained.
> This gives you the feel of the range of goods ferried around the
> Mediterranean."
> The dates of the amphorae provide clues to the dates of the ships, which
> will be confirmed by carbon dating of the wood.
> The Superintendent of Archaeology at Pisa, Guglielmo Malchiodi, said it
> appeared that the ships had all fallen victim to a "Pompeii-type
> catastrophe, perhaps a flash flood, which overwhelmed them". But Elena
> Rossi, one of the leading archaeologists working on the ships, believes that
> they had all suffered different fates at different times. "Some may have
> foundered, others sunk in storms, and others went to the bottom in a flood,"
> she said.
> Professor Wallace-Hadrill said Roman ships had been found before around the
> Mediterranean, "but almost always in ones or twos, such as finds at
> Fiumicino, during the construction of Rome's airport on the coast, and at
> Marseilles. This is something quite extraordinary."
> A Roman rubbish dump packed with treasures, including a dinner-set and a
> leather sandal, has been unearthed in a private garden on the edge of a
> Falkirk housing estate.The garden adjoins Mumrills Farm at Laurieston, the
> protected site of one of the largest of 17 forts found on the Antonine Wall,
> which once stretched from the River Clyde in the west to the Forth in the
> east.
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