Skip to comments.Smuggled Cargo Found on Ancient Roman Ship
Posted on 04/28/2012 7:12:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Following an analysis of the jars and their contents, Tusa and colleagues concluded that the 52- by 16-foot ship was sailing from North Africa when she sank some 1,700 years ago, probably while trying to enter the local river Birgi.
In North Africa the vaulting tubes cost a quarter of what builders paid for them in Rome.
"It was a somewhat tolerated smuggling activity, used by sailors to round their poor salaries. They bought these small tubes cheaper in Africa, hid them everywhere within the ship, and then re-sold them in Rome," Tusa said.
According to Frank Sear, professor of classical studies at the University of Melbourne, vaults featuring rows of fictile tubes were most common in North Africa from about the 2nd century AD.
"The tiles were also frequently imported to Sicily and turn up in many places such as Syracuse, Catania, Marsala and Motya. There are good examples of them in the baths of the late Roman villa at Piazza Armerina," Sear, a leading authority on Roman architecture, told Discovery News.
The smuggled cargo, as well as the jars and ceramic food bowls used by the sailors, were recovered in perfectly preserved condition.
The old cargo vessel was completely covered by a thick layer of clay and sea grass meadows -- a sort of natural coating which has also preserved most of the ship's wooden structure.
"We have recovered more than 700 wooden pieces. Both the left and the right side of the hull has remained almost intact. Once reassembled, this will be the most complete Roman ship ever found," Tusa said
Now under restoration at a specialized lab in Salerno, the vessel is expected to be displayed in a local museum within two years.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.discovery.com ...
Or, to sharpen the post...... what is a vaulting tube?
I got your vaulting tube right here.
Thanks for your 10.75 megabyte link that came complete with pics demonstrating the process. I gather the following:
Builders use wooden forms to form a temporary vaulted ceiling. Then, after they lay a layer of cement on the forms, they laid on the ‘vaulting tubes” which were flexible and provided some strength. Another layer of cement goes on top of the tubes. Remove the wooden forms on which the various layers rested and and you have a smooth vaulted surface of cement on top and bottom of the tubes.
God, I love the internet.
Link to picture of how they were used for vaulting. Scroll down to drawing.
I agree fascinating world we live in.
The vaulting tube technique is particularly common in Roman North Africa. Here the tubes were used instead of timber, as there was a shortage of wood for temporary supports to place a roof on a building.
Interesting. They are actually a type of concrete form that becomes incorporated into the structure. It sounds like their only structural value is during the construction process.
Hey, nice! That looks like a good standalone topic.
The earliest domes in the Med though are the corbelled domes (such as the so-called “Treasury of Atreus”) built by the Mycenaean Greeks.
Nice corbelled arch at Uxmal. But no dome.