It is common knowledge that Rome was built on seven hills. But while the Capitoline, the Quirinal, or the Palatine Hills are natural land formations, the Italian capital has an ‘outstanding’ feature that is not the result of a natural process. The waste mound Monte Testaccio, located near the east bank of the River Tiber and standing 45 meters high (35 according to some sources), with the circumference of one kilometer – making it easy to get around in about 20 minutes – is composed of Roman amphora fragments. The peculiar formation has been a part of the Roman cityscape for over 2 thousand years, but, for a long time, scientists mostly ignored the heap of broken ceramic containers which were once used to store and transport olive oil. However, today they constitute an invaluable resource for the study of Roman trade and economy.
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