By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline
Published: 19:00 GMT, 4 December 2019 | Updated: 19:00 GMT, 4 December 2019
Timber from what became modern France was used to build villas, porticoes and ships in ancient Rome, according to a new study.
Ancient Rome was built using wood cut from trees more than 1,000 miles away in the Jura mountains in eastern France, say researchers.
They found that the ancient Romans relied on long-distance timber trading to construct their empire and likely transported the timber to Rome via river and sea.
Some of the oak planks in situ in the foundation of the portico. The ancient Romans relied on long-distance timber trading to construct their empire, according to a new study
By sampling 24 oak timber planks excavated during the construction of the Metro in Rome between 2014 and 2016 the team were able to gain a deeper understanding of where the wood originated and how it was prepared.
They found that timber was made using different types of trees from various locations in the Empire for construction, shipbuilding and even firewood.
Until this study the timber trade of ancient Rome was poorly understood, as little wood had been found in a state adequate for analysis.
The timber sampled formed part of a Roman portico in the gardens of Sannio, belonging to what was once a lavishly decorated and wealthy property.
The researchers measured the tree-ring widths for each plank and ran statistical tests to determine average chronology, successfully dating 13 of the planks.
Planks were discovered as part of the excavation of the Roman Metro line. Researchers found that oak used for portico planks in ancient Rome was taken from the Jura mountains in eastern France, more than 1,000 miles away
The excavation of the Metro has uncovered a number of secrets of the Roman past. The planks were probably transported to Rome via river and sea
By comparing their dated planks to Mediterranean and central European oak, the team were able to pinpoint exactly where they came from.
'This study shows that in Roman times, wood from the near-natural woodlands of north-eastern France was used for construction purposes in the centre of Rome' said study lead author Dr Mauro Bernabei, of Italy's National Research Council.
'Considering the distance, the timber sizes, and the means of transportation with all the possible obstacles along the way, our