Surface

Greenland ice cores track Roman lead pollution in year-by-year detail

One year ago   |   By Ars Technica

Enlarge (credit: Johny SYSEL via Wikimedia Commons )
Buried beneath the snow on Greenland's surface, ancient layers of ice hold deposits of lead that originated at mines and foundries in ancient Rome. Fluctuations in the amount of ancient lead pollution that reached Greenland turn out to be a remarkably accurate way to trace the economic impact of wars, plagues, and imperial expansion in Classical Europe.
Lead might seem unexciting, but the classical world's economy ran on it. “The Romans made extensive use of lead for water pipes and other elements of plumbing, weights, soldering clamps...
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