History

Ancient Water Basin Found in Rome: Photos

Archaeologists find an ancient water basin in Rome that could once hold 1 million gallons of water.

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Italian archaeologists have unearthed the largest Roman water basin ever found, right in the heart of modern Rome. Lined with hydraulic plaster, the massive basin was found some 65 feet down near St. John in Lateran Basilica during the excavation of the new metro C line.

As shown in this reconstruction, the water basin was impressive. It measured 115 by 230 feet and could hold more than 1 million gallons of water.

The archaeologists unearthed a road that led to a 3rd-century B.C farm.

In the first century A.D., the basin was added to existing structures, such as water wheels, used to lift and distribute the water, as shown in this reconstruction. The basin most likely served as a water reservoir for crops as well as an area that made it possible to cope with overflows from the nearby river.

The all-woman team of archaeologists led by Rossella Rea found the exact spot where the water wheel was allocated.

The excavation also brought to light various agricultural items, such as a three-pronged iron pitchfork, and remains of storage baskets made from braided willow branches.

Lined up jars with their ends cut open were recycled as water conduits.

Used tiles were recycled to make water canals.

The tiles were inscribed with the encircled initials "TL" -- evidence that the farm belonged to a single owner.

The farm was obliterated at the end of the first century A.D., its structures, including the water basin, demolished and buried.