Skip to comments.Romans In Brazil During The Second Third Century?
Posted on 12/10/2003 5:37:14 PM PST by blam
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"The First Europeans to Reach the New World"
By Gary Fretz
Q. With all of the new technology available today, we should be able to know precisely when the first European ships reached the New World. What is the latest news? It was a group of Vikings who made landfall around 900 A.D., right?
A. Wrong! It is now confirmed that a Roman ship reached Brazil around the year 19 B.C.! Here is the whole story
Two thousand years ago, the most valuable commodity known to man was salt. This is because most fresh meats and fish were preserved by packing in salt. In fact, salt was so valuable, it was used in place of coinage. This is where the word salary emerged (as well as the expression hes not worth his salt). The Romans had a large salt production facility on Ilha do Sal (Salt Island) in the Cape Verde Islands, which are 350 miles off the coast of West Africa. This location is directly in the path of the hot, dry winds of the Sahara Desert, which can easily blow 60 knots from the east.
It is believed that this Roman merchant vessel was heading for Salt Island to pick up a load of salt and to provision the local army garrison when a fierce Sahara storm started. Roman ships were clumsy by modem standards and would have no choice but to lower their sails and to run with the winds to avoid capsizing. The Sahara winds can blow for many days and the Salt Ship was carried to Guanabara Bay (near Rio de Janeiro) in Brazil.
In the middle of the - Bay is a large submerged rock lying 3 below the surface called Xareu Rock (named after a local fish that congregates here). The ship appears to have been travelling at a high rate of speed when she struck the rock. She broke into two pieces and settled in 75 of water near the base of the rock.
In the late 1970s, a local fisherman using nets around Xareu Rock kept catching some large (3 tall), heavy earthen jars which tore his nets. He mistakenly thought these were macumbajars, which are used in local voodoo ceremonies and then thrown into the sea. So, as the jars were hauled up, he smashed them with a hammer and threw the small pieces back into the water in an attempt to prevent tearing his nets in the future.
If he had only known what treasures he was destroying! In recent years, a scuba diver was spear fishing around Xareu Rock and found eight similar jars that he took home.
He sold six jars to tourists before the Brazilian police arrested him with the two remaining jars for illegally selling ancient artifacts. Archaeologists immediately identified these as Roman amphorae of the 1st century B.C These containers were originally used to carry water, grain, salted fish, meat, olives, olive oil and other foods necessary to feed the ships crew and to provision Roman outposts. One of the worlds foremost authorities on Roman shipwrecks, Robert Marx, found more artifacts and confirmed this as an authentic Roman shipwreck.
The worlds foremost authority on Roman amphorae analyzed the clay in the jars and confirmed that these were manufactured at Kouass which was a Roman seaport, 2000 years ago, on the coast of modem-day Morocco. The Institute of Archaeology of the University of London performed thermo luminescence testing (which is a more accurate dating process than Carbon 14 dating) and the date of the manufacture was determined to be around 19 B.C. Many more amphorae and some marble objects were recovered, as well as a Roman bronze fibula (a clasp device used to fasten a coat or shirt).
So, why haven't we heard more about this fantastic find? One would think this news would make headlines around the world The short answer is politics. At the time the amphorae were confirmed to be "Roman", the large Italian faction in Brazil were extremely excited about this news.
The Italian ambassador to Brazil notified the Brazilian government that, since the Romans were the first to "discover" Brazil, then all Italian immigrants should be granted immediate citizenship. There are a large number of Italian immigrants in Brazil and the government has created a tedious and costly citizenship application procedure for Italians that does not apply to Portuguese immigrants. The Brazilian government would not give in and the Italians in Brazil staged demonstrations. In response, the Brazilian government ordered all civilians off the recovery project and censored further news about the wreck hoping to diffuse the civil unrest. The Brazilian Navy continues to excavate the wreck in secret.
We only know about it because of what Robert Marx learned before he was dismissed and what the University of London has leaked. This shipwreck may help explain some other intriguing Brazilian finds: - Several hundred ancient Roman silver and bronze coins were unearthed near Recife, Brazil. Did these once belong to the castaways of the Salt Ship?
- A tribe of white, mostly blonde haired, blue-eyed "Indians" has been found in a remote region of the Amazon jungle. Could these be the descendants of the shipwrecked sailors of the Xareu wreck? DNA analysis of these Indians will surely bring some interesting facts to light!
You're thinking of the Chachapoyas...There's an article in the FR archives on this subject but, I couldn't find it. I may be misspelling Chachapoyas.(?)
It was Roman chariots that determined the width of that very expressway.
'Did Roman explorers discover America 1,300 years ahead of Christopher Columbus' was the headline on page 25 of the DAILY MAIL for Thursday, 10 February 2000. On the same day THE EXPRESS ran a story on page 28 under the banner `Oldest Latin in America: Bust may prove Romans got there first'.
Both stories sought to highlight claims being made in the new issue of the magazine NEW SCIENTIST concerning the recent realisation that a small ceramic head found in 1933 at a site in the Toluca Valley, 72 kilometres west of Mexico City, is in fact Roman in origin.(1) A dating process known as thermoluminescence, which determines the age of ceramics, has found that the tiny bust is approximately 1800 years old. How it might have reached Mexico is the big mystery. The implication, however, is that the head, which shows a full-bearded individual in typical Latin style, was introduced to the New World prior to the age of Columbus.
This all reminds me of the Italian media crowing (after Buzz Aldrin said "Mama Mia!" up there)"Italian Spoken On Moon!"
Go to the below linked thread and go to post #39,40,41,42 for links and comments about the Chachapoyas.
That too...and also something about the size of the space shuttle.
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