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Fluff, Gonzo, Technology

Those Ancient Romans Knew How To Package Their Product

Rome has seven famous hills, and an eighth that should be equally famous as a monument to product packaging, Mt. Testaccio. I learned about this when reading Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. I also learned to be grateful that I never had to raise twins, but that’s another story.

Mt. Testaccio is composed almost entirely of  broken amphorae dating from the time of the Roman Empire. Amphorae are containers with thin necks, pointed bottoms, two handles and weigh in at about 66 pounds.

Amphorae first appeared on the Syrian coast around the 15th century BC and spread around the ancient world, being used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as the principal means for transporting and storing grapes, olive oil, wine, oil, olives, grain, fish, and other commodities. They were produced on an industrial scale from Greek times and used around the Mediterranean until about the 7th century … Amphorae were too cheap and plentiful to return to their origin-point and so, when empty, they were broken up at their destination. The vast majority of those vessels had a capacity of some 70 litres (15 imp gal; 18 U.S. gal) …

All this history reminded me of a modern equivalent.

Ancient Romans may have been the first, but they were not the last to Supersize Product delivery. We’ve taken a good idea and run with it; brighter colors and pour spouts.

The Amphorae Would Be The Ones On The Right

On the other hand, we have to give the Romans credit.

They had a lot more class.

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One thought on “Those Ancient Romans Knew How To Package Their Product

  1. Are you saying we haven’t learned anything in 3,500 years? Or as a wise old Jew once said:
    (Ecclesiastes 1:9-14 NIV) What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. {10} Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. {11} There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow. {12} I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. {13} I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! {14} I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

    But at least we have front load washing machines to lessen the load and some really good detergent with a nifty pouring spout!

    Posted by Sal | March 15, 2010, 4:22 pm

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