History & Culture

Archaeologists find Roman fridge for cooling wine

Credit: press materials
Credit: press materials

Polish archaeologists have discovered an ancient fridge used by Roman soldiers to cool wine.

 A team led by Professor Piotr Dyczek, director of the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Centre of the University of Warsaw (more: HERE, HERE and HERE) made the discoveries during research at the former fortress Novae in Bulgaria. 

The complex of wooden and earth military barracks was associated with Legio VIII Augusta, which was the legion first to be permanently stationed at the Danube border of the Roman Empire. 

Measuring 38 meters wide and 60 meters long, the scientists came across the earliest known well in Novae, which supplied the legionaries with water and unearthed a system of aqueducts.

Professor Dyczek said: ‘At the lead water pipe, a container made of ceramic plates was placed in the ground, so that the pipe ran along its longer side. 

‘This was an antique refrigerator, another one that we discovered had additional cooling. Inside, we found fragments of wine drinking vessels, bowls and animal bones. This will allow us to recreate the last meal.’

Exploration of a 4th century ceramic furnace brought another discovery in the form of a set of unique vessels, including a wine drinking set. 

The rare vessels with a black surface are decorated with a smooth and comb motif, which according to Professor Dyczek can be precisely dated.

The discoveries also include a small silver pendant depicting an intricately made mouse, refined down to the smallest detail, and over 200 other objects from the past. (PAP)

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