This Man-Made Mound in Rome Consists of Millions of Ancient Amphorae

Monte Testaccio, an artificial mound in Rome composed almost entirely of broken pottery, might be the largest trash heap in the ancient world.

At first glance, Monte Testaccio looks like an ordinary greenery-covered mound, the likes of which can be found all over the world. But underneath all that shrubbery and the thin layer of dirt that supports it lies the largest pile of discarded pottery in the history of the ancient world. Covering an area of 2 hectares and with a volume of approximately 580,000 cubic meters, Monte Testaccio consists almost exclusively of millions of broken ancient pottery containers known as amphorae. It is estimated that this man-made mound consists of  53 million amphorae, which would make it the largest trash heap in the ancient world.

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Over One Million Starlings Leave Rome Covered in Bird Droppings

With nothing to scare them away, starlings are definitely leaving their mark on Rome, this year. The chirping black birds flock from northern Europe to Italy’s capital, which they prefer because of its warm Mediterranean climate. They’ve been spending their winters here for a long time, but until now, authorities have been able to keep them from covering the ancient capital in a disgusting layer of droppings. This year, financial cuts have left locals at the mercy of these tiny but numerous guano bombers.

The first documented time when starlings overwintered in Rome was in 1926. If at first they settled on the outskirts of the city, little by little they moved further into it, drawn by the heat radiating from the buildings.¬†More than 1,5 million starlings are now nesting in Italy’s capital city and doing their business pretty much everywhere. The birds, which arrive in Rome in two waves, one in October and the other in January, have the habit of leaving the city at daybreak to fly over to the olive groves in the city suburbs. After spending the entire day eating olives, they fly back to the city, where they leave their greasy, stinky business on cars, buildings, statues and streets. Because of the heavy bird droppings, the Lungotevere, one of Rome’s greenest boulevards, had to be closed because of the high risk of accidents not only for pedestrians, but also for vehicles.

Starlings-in-Rome

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