Economic health of the Roman Empire revealed in analysis of lead in ice core from Greenland

15-05-2018 by Robyn Mason

In a new study published in PNAS, a team of scientists, including Professor Andrew Wilson, Professor Mark Pollard, and Elisabeth Thompson of the School of Archaeology used ice samples from the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) to measure, date and analyze European lead emissions that were captured in Greenland ice between 1100 BC and AD 800. Their results provide new insights for historians about how European civilizations and their economies fared over time.

Their results reveal that lead pollution in Greenland very closely tracked known plagues, wars, social unrest and imperial expansions during European antiquity and lead pollution emissions began to rise as early as 900 BC.

For more information -

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/08/1721818115

The Independent

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/lead-pollution-arctic-ancient-civilisations-roman-greek-middle-ages-greenland-a8351056.html

New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/science/ice-core-lead-roman-empire.html

Science Magazine

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/rise-and-fall-roman-empire-exposed-greenland-ice-samples

Newsweek

http://www.newsweek.com/lead-pollution-trapped-greenland-ice-shows-rise-and-fall-ancient-societies-925221

ArsTechnica

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/05/greenland-ice-cores-track-roman-lead-pollution-in-year-by-year-detail/

The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/scientists-reclaim-the-long-lost-economic-history-of-rome/560339/ 

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