The buried, ancient city revealed after scan.
Damn, I love modern technology (as long as it doesn’t get into the hands of the Republican Warmongers, that is).
In the summer of 2007, following a warm winter, northern Italy and other parts of Europe experienced a severe drought that was especially hard on agriculture. The flow level of the Po River hit record lows and the government imposed irrigation restrictions. Altinum1 These sorry circumstances had an fascinating side-effect, however, which came to fruition in the work that Italian researchers published in the current issue of the journal Science.
Water stress of maize and soy crops in fields near the edge of the Venice Lagoon illuminated details of the urban structure of Altinum, a Roman harbor city that is thought of as the “ancestor of Venice” and dates to 100 BC. Andrea Ninfo and colleagues at Padua University write that Altinum “plays an important role in the early history of Venice because its inhabitants colonized the northern lagoon islands when fleeing from Barbarians” from the 5th to the 7th centuries AD.
The researchers used aerial near-infrared photography which is exquisitely sensitive to vegetation stress to reveal archaeological features such as streets, bridges and buildings underlying the crop fields and a “digital elevation model” to fill in the urban topography.
Behold, Altinum. Enclosed by walls and gates, the city was surrounded by a network of rivers and canals and built on a rise that was partially surrounded by water. “With a size comparable to Pompeii,” the authors write, “Altinum is the only large Roman city in Northern Italy and one of the few in Europe that has not been buried by medieval and modern cities.”
by John D. Cox | July 31, 2009