Jan 17, 2005
RAY: This week's puzzler comes from the wonderful world of ancient history and transportation.
Some time ago, a team of British archaeologists came upon some ancient Roman ruins. Among the ruins was a stone quarry, a nearby fortress of some kind, and what appeared to be a small town, with some houses, some livestock pens, and so on.
All of these things were connected by roads -- those famous stone roads built by the Romans. In fact, they probably obtained the stones for the roads from the very quarry they discovered. After some careful observation, these archaeologists determined that the Romans drove their carts and wagons, and probably chariots too, on the left side of the road, just like the Brits do.
How did they know this?
TOM: I think the hint was, when you said they came upon some ancient Roman ruins, among them a stone quarry.
RAY: That was a big hint. The signs were in the road, so to speak. What they found, was that the ruts in the road leading from the quarry were deeper than the ruts going back. They were deeper because there were no stones going to the quarry, but plenty of stones leaving.
So who's our winner?
TOM: The winner this week is Karen Taylor from Mountain City, Tennessee. And for having her answer selected at random from among all those correct answers that we got, Karen is going to get from us a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at car talk.com, with which she can almost get one of those stainless steel Car Talk thermoses.