Olive Crazy: All About Olives and Olive Oil
May 222011

Caesar Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome, in the 1st century B.C. built a luxurious imperial villa on Ventotene which he used as a retreat where he could relax from running an empire. Roman sailors found sanctuary on Ventotene with its safe harbor which offered protection from dangerous Mediterranean storms. But mostly, Ventotene was a simple stop-over for merchants before continuing on to the next leg of their journey.

The research archaeologists exploring these lost ships of Rome found more than amfori among the wreckage. They found an entire ship full of clay pots called mortaria. Mortoria are what we would refer to today as kitchenware or a mortar and pestle. These ancient artifacts provide clues as to how Roman ideas spread through the empire. Romans exported their knowledge for such things a cuisine, the making of olive oil, wine and garum to the new provinces.

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