• Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

Giant ancient Roman underground structure discovered near Naples, Italy


Feb 9, 2023

The “Aqua Augusta,” constructed within the early first century BC in the course of the Augustan period in Naples, Italy, is without doubt one of the largest and most complicated aqueducts within the Roman Empire. Archaeologists and historians are equally excited by the invention of a beforehand unknown piece of the ‘Aqua Augusta’ aqueduct.

Speleologists discover the Aqua Augusta, a Roman aqueduct that was beforehand the least-documented aqueduct within the Roman world. © Associazione Cocceius

The Serino springs within the Campanian Apennines, which represent the first spring area of the karst aquifer within the Terminio massif, have been the supply of potable consuming water for the Aqua Augusta (Southern Italy). Regardless of its historic significance, the Aqua Augusta stays one of many Roman period’s least investigated and understood aqueducts. In consequence, the lacking tunnel has made immediately’s information.

The longest stretch of the Aqua Augusta

Constructed by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a detailed buddy, and son-in-law of the Roman emperor Augustus, the Aqua Augusta measures round 90 miles (145 km) and it was the longest aqueduct within the Roman world for over 400 years.

Operating from the Posillipo hill, an prosperous residential quarter of Naples, to the crescent-shaped island of Nisida, the rediscovered part of the Aqua August is roughly 640 meters (2,100 ft) in size, representing the longest identified stretch found up to now.

Regardless of its historic significance, till now the Aqua Augusta had obtained restricted consideration from researchers. The newfound section of the Aqua Augusta, nevertheless, was recognized by the Cocceius Affiliation, a non-profit group specializing in speleo-archaeological work, the Extraordinary Commissioner for the Reclamation of Bagnoli, and Invitalia.

Truths buried in myths

The invention of this stretch of the Aqua Augusta got here from a sequence of tales from native residents who claimed that they had explored the tunnels as kids. These experiences had at all times been written off as legendary, however now, in keeping with a report in Arkeonews, the invention “highlights the importance of preserving native data and folklore,” in addition to the function of neighborhood engagement within the discovery and preservation of historic websites.

The Aqua Augusta comprised ten branches of water that equipped city facilities and rich villas with water. The newly found part of the Aqua Augusta is described as being in “wonderful” situation in contrast with the numerous crumbling underground water tunnels in Italy. And because of this, the newly found part affords archaeologists the chance to check what’s one in every of “the best-preserved” sections of a Roman aqueduct wherever in Italy.

A library of historic engineering

The principle tunnel is 52 cm (20.47 in) broad, 70 cm (27.55 in) lengthy, and 64 cm (25.19 in) excessive. On the foot of the piers, it has a hydraulic plaster overlaying that’s coated by a thick layer of limestone. Attributable to surveying errors, Agrippa’s builders didn’t select essentially the most direct route, and the primary tunnel encountered numerous impediments alongside the best way. The total size of the aqueduct, nevertheless, is accessible, and every half demonstrates a wide range of previous engineering abilities.

Giant ancient Roman underground structure discovered near Naples, Italy 3
View contained in the newly rediscovered part of the Aqua Augusta. © Scintilena

The invention of this new part of the Aqua Augusta not solely gives insights into historic Roman engineering and constructing abilities, but it surely additionally gives data on the aqueduct’s cultural and social worth, in addition to its function within the day by day lives of the traditional Roman folks.

This discover serves as a reminder not simply of the relevance of native storytelling, but additionally of the necessity of sustaining and defending our cultural legacy, in addition to the function of neighborhood participation within the discovery and conservation of historic monuments.

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