Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Wreck suggests Romans shipped live fish

Italian archaeologists say evidence from a sunken Roman ship suggests fish could have been kept alive in on-board tanks as they traded around the Mediterranean.

Due to a lack of refrigeration, historians have long assumed Roman ships catching fish could only deliver them locally or short distances away before the fish rotted. However, a new report published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology concludes Roman fishing ships may have used a pumping system to supply oxygenated water to an on-board fish tank, PhysOrg.com reported Monday.

The report details a wrecked fishing ship discovered in 1986 off the shore of Italy and raised in 1999. The find that has intrigued archaeologists was a 4-foot lead pipe at the stern of the ship that went into a hole in the hull, which they believe could have been connected to a hand-operated piston to pump seawater aboard.

Archaeologists say they have seen such Roman technology before but never on a ship.

More at UPI.com