(Natural News) The ancient Roman plumbing system was a remarkable feat in civil engineering, which paved the way for the provision of fresh water to the urbanites who lived hundreds of kilometers away. Rich members of the society had hot and cold running water, as well as a functioning sewage system to ensure the proper removal of waste.
Then, around 2,200 years ago, lead pipes(called fistulae in Latin) were discovered, creating the possibility for the waterworks system to be expanded. A new study showed that the discovery of lead pipes may have brought along some complications for the Roman Empire as it maneuvered its way to the top and as it anticlimactically fell from grace.
In the paper, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers showed how water that flowed through Rome’s pipes could have been contaminated with lead particles. (Related: High levels of lead found in Florida schools’ drinking water.)
According to Huge Delile, an archaeologist with France’s National Center for Scientific Research, their team analyzed lead content from Rome’s two harbors: the ancient Ostia (now three km inland) and the artificially-created Portus.
Delile said lead particle runoff from Rome’s plumbing system reached the Tiber River, whose waters passed through both harbors. However, lead particles were quickly submerged under less turbulent harbor waters, leading Delile and his team to conclude that depositional layers of lead in the soil cores would indicate that the fault lay with Rome’s extensive network of lead pipes.
The lead…Read More