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Scientists trying to recreate Roman refrigerator

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Discovery of the Roman cellar
Discovery of the Roman cellar | Photo: Peter-Andrew Schwarz

In 2018, in the Swiss city of Kaiseraugst (the northern part of the country), which in Roman times was called Augusta Raurica, scientists found an interesting example of a Roman house. Namely, it had a storage box that, according to researchers, could serve as an antique refrigerator. Due to the assumptions, reconstruction works have been started.

Ancient Romans are known for digging this type of holes/hiding places in the ground in order to be able to keep oysters, cheese or vegetables there to make them better preserved. Additionally, in winter, such “refrigerators” could be filled with snow and ice, and then covered with a layer of straw.

Archaeologists plan to check to what extent the refrigerator worked well in ancient times. To this end, they undertook an experiment. They plan to cover the hiding place with successive portions of snow (20-30 cm of a layer), separating them with a layer of straw. In this way, they want to definitely confirm that the storage compartments could effectively act as refrigerators.


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