"On Monday, scientists announced the discovery of an entirely new resource that has the potential to remake some of those centuries-old arguments over Roman politics and history. A team of archeologists, historians, and climate scientists have constructed a history of Rome’s lead pollution, which allows them to approximate Mediterranean economic activity from 1,100 b.c. to 800 a.d. They found it hiding thousands of miles from the Roman Forum: deep in the Greenland Ice Sheet, the enormous, miles-thick plate of ice that entombs the North Atlantic island.
In short, they have reconstructed year-by-year economic data documenting the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and Empire. The first news of the record was published Monday afternoon in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."