Stratigraphical Problems of the Roman Kind

I’ve reposted this since Blogo disappeared the previous one. It’s a bit shorter as the two references describe it adequately. My interest is geochronological.

An archeological investigation of the heavy mineral content of the Holocene sediments of the Rhine Valley west of Cologne at the working open pit brown coal mine at Elsbachtal published by Boenigk and Hagedorn during 1997 noted the existence of a roman aqueduct under 7 metres of sand and gravel in profile FR 126, (H/T Malaga Bay and Q-Mag).

Tim Cullen has commented on this before and all I want to add is that if this aqueduct is buried under Holocene sediments, then that places the demise of the Roman Empire at 11,700 years BP.


The standard explanation is that the romans buried this particular aqueduct underground to minimise freezing and frost.


As the only reference to this ‘find’ is in an obsure german language archaeological book, one has to agree with Tim Cullen that this archaeological fact is very inconvenient.

In a stratigraphical sense we have Holocene sediments overlying roman water works.

This suggests the demise of the roman period occurred after the cataclysm of the Pleistocene event, though one would need to find further stratigraphical control of this archaelogical find.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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