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科学美国人60秒: 罗马人四处寻找木头

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:01-23
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Romans Would Roam for Wood

罗马人四处寻找木头

Rome wasn't built in a day. And neither was the Roman subway system. Underground work is slow going, because construction crews often unearth mosaics, frescos, marble...And a few years ago, they found the wooden foundations of a luxurious porch from a Roman villa.

冰冻三尺,非一日之寒。罗马的地铁系统也是如此。地下工程进展缓慢,因为建筑工人经常挖出马赛克、壁画、大理石……几年前,他们从一座罗马别墅找到了一座豪华门廊的木制地基。

So local archaeologists called in Mauro Bernabei of the National Research Council of Italy. He’s a dendrochronologist: someone who analyzes tree rings, which give age and environmental info.

"We have to study wood because it's full, really full, of information!"

于是,当地考古学家请来了意大利国家研究委员会的莫罗·伯纳贝。他是一个树木年代学家:分析树木年轮的人,年轮能提供年龄和环境信息。“我们必须研究木材,因为它包含了非常丰富的信息!”

Bernabei and his team found that the wooden planks were oak. But the wood's origin was harder to determine. So they compared the tree rings in the oak planks to those available in libraries of tree rings that contain timber from all over Europe. And they found a match for the Roman lumber—from the Jura region of eastern France, more than 600 miles away.

伯纳贝和他的团队发现木板是橡木做的。但是这种木材的来源很难确定。因此,他们将橡树板上的树木年轮与包含欧洲各地木材的树木年轮库中的树木年轮进行了比较。他们找到了与罗马木材相匹配的材料——来自600多英里外法国东部的汝拉地区。

The researchers also determined that the French timber was harvested in about 40 to 60 C.E. And some of it came from trees already up to 300 years old when they were felled. The details are in the journal PLOS ONE.

研究人员还确定,法国的木材是在大约公元40年至60年之间收获的,其中一些来自于砍伐时已经有300年历史的树木。详情发表在《公共科学图书馆·综合》杂志上

The discovery is the first definitive evidence of oak from north of the Alps being used to build ancient Rome. And it's a reminder that the Romans had a sophisticated trading network. These logs, for example, likely floated down two rivers, across the Mediterranean, and up another river to Rome.

这一发现是来自阿尔卑斯山北部的橡树被用来建造古罗马的第一个确凿证据。它提醒我们罗马人有一个复杂的贸易网络。例如,这些圆木很可能沿着两条河漂流,穿过地中海,再顺着另一条河漂流到罗马。

Bernabei says Roman archaeologists usually destroy ancient wood—it’s not as prized as jewelry and vases and mosaics. But he's hoping this study might change their minds.

"Save the wood, yes! And call me, if you don't want to save, please call me!"

伯纳贝说,罗马考古学家通常会销毁古代木材,因为它们不如珠宝、花瓶和马赛克那样珍贵。但他希望这项研究能改变他们的想法。“救救木头,是的!”打电话给我,如果你不想存钱,请打电话给我!”

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