Ice Merchants

Digs & Discoveries March/April 2019


A large, egg-shaped ice house has been unearthed near Regent’s Park in London. The brick-lined underground structure, which measures 31 feet high and 23 feet wide, was built in the 1780s. “This was one of the earliest and largest commercial ice wells,” says David Sorapure, head of built heritage at Museum of London Archaeology. “Previously, ice had been something of a luxury, available only at aristocratic estates.” Among those who took advantage of the novel amenity were restaurants, private residents, and local doctors, who likely used it to help dull patients’ pain.


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Etruscan Hanging Oil Lamp
(Courtesy Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona; © DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY)

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(Phillip Parton/ANU)

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