Rendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 605–608 | Cite as

Spring waters and the birth of a civilization, sacred waters of Roman Forum, physical chemical analysis of the sources in the III millennium, preliminary measurements

  • Maria Pia SammartinoEmail author
  • Elvira Cipriano
  • Alessandra Dagostino
  • Patrizia Fortini
  • Giovanni Visco
Changes and Crises in the Mediterranean Sea


Lot of ancient cities born “around” a water spring; Be’er Sheva, the city of seven wells, מעיין הגיחון the Gihon in Jerusalem, Sulukulekap the Water-Tower Gate of Constantinople, the Kallirroe in Athens (born of Nymphs divinity), the Peirene in Corinth are some examples but surely Rome must be considered one of the city richest of springs. Thank to the presence of Tiber, from 1000 B.C. Romans had a great availability of water sources, 23 historically identified up today. The demographic increase (someone talks about more then 1 million citizens in the golden age) has led to a greater demand for water; so, in 312 B.C., the first Romans aqueduct was constructed and the water sources inside the Forum (cultural and government centre of Rome), as Juturnae, Tullianum, Lacus Curtius, became sacred. This paper treats a research inserted in a wider project aiming to compare different spring waters emerging in the area of the Roman Forum (Rome, Italy). In particular, data from in situ (Temperature, pH, Conductivity) and in-lab (anions and cations content) measures obtained in two campaigns in 2017, that compare nine sources and two nearby standpipes, are reported and discussed. From the preliminary results, the sacred springs seem quite different from Roman’s supply water; unfortunately, today, they are only resurgence, and in some cases, the flow is so low to be difficult to measure. The microbiological quality and a continuous monitoring of at least one of the sources will be the next step of the research project.


Ancient roman spring waters In situ analyses Anions content Cations content 


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Copyright information

© Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry Department“La Sapienza” UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.SSBAR, Special Superintendency for the Colosseum, the National Roman Museum and the Archaeological Area of RomeRomeItaly

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