If you’ve been to the hill of Posillipo in Naples, Italy, you might have noticed a small club called Arco del Medusa. It was built at the end of the 19th century, and it’s one of the coolest places in town. But you might not have known that there are some tunnels under the hill that were once used by the Romans. Well, now they’ve been explored, and it was found that they used to be an ancient Roman aqueduct that served elite Roman villas.
The Famous Aqueducts
The caves are the famous aqueduct of Rome, which was built between 300 B.C. and 200 A.D. It was used to circulate water for different uses around the city, be it for bathing, drinking, or public fountains. These aqueducts were only a small part of the huge Roman water system; the rest is still underground and unexplored. Even though archaeologists have researched a lot of these aqueducts, there are a few, like the Aqua Augusta, that have yet to be thoroughly studied.
Built between 30 B.C. and 20 B.C., Aqua Augusta covered approximately 140 kilometers and connected the water supply of luxury villas and suburban outposts in the Bay of Naples. According to the research of a non-profit group, the Cocceius Association, there is a branch of the aqueduct that carried water to the island of Nisida and to the hill of Posillipo. According to the president of the Cocceius Association, Graziano Ferrari, exploring the aqueducts is not an easy job; you require caving experience as there are a lot of thrones at one entrance, and you have to crawl your way as well. Fortunately, wearing throne-proof suits helps a lot. But once you reach the tunnel, it is quite nice. Here, there was a cold and fresh breeze through the tunnels due to the Augusta channel’s close proximity to the surface.
Future Research Prospect
Rabun Taylor, who is a professor of classics at the University of Texas at Austin, shared his opinion on how the part of Augusta supplied water to elite Roman villas and met several water demands. He said that the new discovery can help them understand the climate there over the years based on the deposit of a calcium-rich mineral, lime. Graziano Ferrari and Raffaella Lamagna (the Coccineus Association’s vice president) stated in their new report that they will be able to accurately predict ancient water flow and understand the eruptive episodes that created Posillipo Hill.
Sometimes, you can find something surprising at the place you least expected! That’s exactly what happened to a History Channel TV documentary crew when they plunged into deep waters searching for a sunken old aircraft. Instead, they stumbled across a big flat metal object on the seafloor and soon realized that they had discovered something historic!
The divers of the TV documentary crew were searching for a sunken WWII-era aircraft off the coast of Florida. They found a large flat metal piece with square tiles, lying on the seafloor, partially covered by sand. It didn’t take the team long to realize that they had unearthed one of the largest recovered pieces of NASA’s Challenger Space Shuttle. The segment of the destroyed spacecraft measured at least 15/15 feet. Soon the crew contacted NASA, and after examining the remnant, the organization confirmed the discovery.
Challenger launched for the last time on January 28, 1986, as a part of the Space Shuttle program by NASA. The highlight of the mission was Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire-based schoolteacher. She was supposed to be the first American civilian to be sent into space. On that fateful day, classrooms across the country tuned in on live TV to watch the momentous take-off. But the shuttle exploded just 73 seconds after the launch — all seven crew members perished. It was the first fatal accident involving an American spacecraft in flight.
Investigations revealed that a sudden cold front the night before the launch brought record-low frigid temperatures, which affected the integrity of the O-ring seals of Challenger. But the project managers had cleared the orbiter shuttle for liftoff anyway. After the explosion, the spacecraft disintegrated above the Atlantic Ocean and finally crashed off the coast of Cape Canaveral in Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy conducted the largest-ever search and salvage mission, recovering 167 pieces, or 47% of the shuttle. Now a new piece has been found 37 years later.